Beyond the Long Night review

by on April 17, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

April 17, 2023


Being small isn’t always a bad thing. Some of the most powerful allies in video games are small in stature, like Olimar’s colourful friends the Pikmin or their 3D platforming equivalent the Tinykin. Now granted I’m not sure these little fellas would stand much of a chance against the villains of video games alone, but together they unite to overcome the toughest odds. The reason I’m talking about the power of little dudes is simple, because in Beyond the Long Night I got to experience the pain of dying over and over again to a bunch of tiny adversaries.

In Beyond the Long Night, our little stick figure protagonist wakes up in the Underworld with no idea how they got there. After floating around for a bit using a bunch of balloons, they meet another stick person who explains that every night without fail a darkness floods this place from below killing everyone it touches only for them to be reborn the next day. Not particularly happy with this arrangement, our hero heads on an epic quest to the Overworld to try and escape this. It won’t be easy though, because life in the Underworld is no picnic.

A screenshot of Beyond the Long Night

Beyond the Long Night is a fairly straightforward twin stick shooter Roguelike, in which you’ll go from room to room and blast baddies until they’re all dead. This works entirely as you’d expect with a stick to move and a stick to aim, alongside a dodge roll button for keeping yourself alive. Because this is a Roguelike there are also all sorts of power ups and projectiles to collect too, but before you know it they’ll likely all be gone and you’ll be starting again.

There are some really interesting upgrades to gather as you try to escape the darkness. From basic buffs like damage upgrades and health upgrades to buddies that shield you from damage and a dodge upgrade that can be used to slam into enemies, each run has something fun to experiment with. At the start of each run you’re also given a superpower with a huge effect, that can be used after you blast enough enemies with your standard projectile. These are always satisfying to use, whether they’re a piercing laser beam or a decoy stick figure that explodes when enemies approach it.

As well as your special attack, you’ll also find different projectiles to add to your collection on your adventure. There are bombs that do massive damage, a bird that sings a beautiful song, and most importantly flaming torches. The burning damage over time of torches is fantastic when it comes to boss fights, but they can also be used to burn away thorny patches and help you get to treasure.

A screenshot of Beyond the Long Night

It’s worth mentioning that compared to a lot of roguelikes, Beyond the Long Night has quite a few puzzles to indulge in with monetary rewards for those who solve them. Finding ways to place blocks on switches or change symbols on the walls is a nice change of pace from all the shooting, and is worth it for those precious gems.

There are plenty of worthwhile ways to spend your hard earned cash on your adventure, with a variety of altars to offer gems to or people to trade with for those oh so important upgrades. The best thing about spending at shops though is that it advances the story you have with the shopkeepers, be they a boy saving gems to fill a well with to rescue his toy boat or a cow farmer with a side hustle. These Unfolding Stories are all tracked in your journal, and can be found on new runs by looking for question marks on the map and making your way to them before it gets all spooky.

No matter what you’re doing in Beyond the Long Night, the threat of the darkness is always lurking. After a set amount of time you’ll be informed that the darkness is approaching and your map will slowly change red to represent which areas are no longer safe. When in the darkness you’ll slowly take damage, which isn’t too big a deal if you’re rushing through a single room, but will soon get out of hand. Not everyone will appreciate the constant time pressure this brings, but unfortunately that’s just part of the game.

A screenshot of Beyond the Long Night

My main issue with the game though, comes from those tiny enemies you have to deal with. They are just so small compared to the environments you find them in that hitting them isn’t easy, and for the first few hours of the game I struggled to spot them until I found a handy accessibility feature that made them glow. Because you’re so focused on trying to get a shot or two to land on these tiny targets, it’s also really easy to forget to dodge a projectile coming your way. Almost every enemy has an attack that fires way too quickly too, and reacting to super fast bullets at close range doesn’t always go well.

Beyond the Long Night is a fun twin stick roguelike that has a few too many issues to recommend to absolutely everybody. With time pressure and tiny enemies constantly knocking at your door, it can be tricky to appreciate the joy of the upgrades and slow burn storytelling of the roguelike runs that make this game special.


Lots of meaningful upgrades
The unfolding stories make each run interesting
Puzzling elements are a nice change of pace


The enemies are just too damn small to hit easily
All the fast projectiles are a pain to dodge
The time pressure won't appeal to everyone

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Beyond the Long Night is an entertaining twin stick roguelike, but the constant time pressure it provides won't appeal to everyone.