Brighten up dark Arabian Nights in this soothing 2.5D side-scrolling adventure

All about Nightscape from ID@Xbox
Mezan Studios

Stars falling from the sky and a magic, floating goat showing up? Nightscape’s protagonist, Layla, certainly has her hands full. Equipped with her astronomer’s tools, courage, and her new goat buddy, she’s journeying through the beautiful landscapes of the Middle East to unravel the mystery that lies behind the Starfall, which left the stunning night sky dark.

Presented in 2.5D, this side-scrolling adventure game from Qatar-based Mezan Studios draws primarily on Arabian culture to weave a story everyone can connect with – not every culture may call the constellations the same or tell the same stories about them, but observing the stars is something everyone in the world can do. And so we follow Layla as she ventures forth to put the fallen stars back in their places one at a time.

She must jump over obstacles or solve little puzzles to open a path for herself – and her new goat friend comes in quite handy at times like this, using its magical powers to help her out.

That doesn’t mean Layla is depending on her companion, though. She’s a very proficient archer, able to take out enemies like giant scorpions from afar. Just like the goat, however, she’s also a bit of a miracle worker – for the power of the stars is with her. Putting constellations back in the night sky unlocks their specific abilities for Layla. These are derived from the stories connected to each of them in Arabian culture, which is a beautiful touch giving the game a unique flair and relation to its home region.

Nightscape screenshot showing a boat at sea during the night.
As the game progresses, you'll slowly fill the night sky once more. / Mezan Studios

A gameplay sequence shown to press during a recent ID@Xbox event illustrated these powers with more detail. Faced with a valley she needed to traverse, Layla called down rain with one of her constellation abilities to fill up the area with water – and promptly drowned in the torrent. Of course, a solution presented itself: A movable box could be placed in the middle of the valley. This time, Layla made it rain while standing on the box, which floated to the surface and let her get to the other side of the valley safely.

These puzzles are bound to get more challenging the deeper you get into the game, as Layla will have more abilities at her disposal to solve them, but Nightscape is not the type of title to ever be overwhelming – everything from its slow-paced gameplay to its enchanting music and looks is designed to be soothing and relaxing. Even the boss fights are relatively zen in comparison to most other games. In the preview footage, we saw Layla battle a giant scorpion protecting the fallen star, kiting the monster in a circle by using the 2.5D environment.

Nightscape certainly won’t get your adrenaline pumping – on the contrary: Nightscape, as its creative director put it, wants to provide players with an escape from reality and the ability to dream a little bit.

Nightscape doesn’t have a release date yet and is planned to launch on PC as well as consoles.


Published
Marco Wutz

MARCO WUTZ

Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining tl.net, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of tl.net as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: marco.wutz@glhf.gg