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  • Writer's pictureBhuvanesh Tekavade

Not Tonight - The Bouncer Simulator in a Brexit World!!


(Not Tonight, Panic Barn, No More Robots, 2018)


Games on topics as divisive as Brexit can initially be a big warning flag for many. Not tonight, the Take Back Control Edition establishes its position with clear agendas and stories, but the satirical tone prevents it from becoming an arrogant political story. So wear your thick skin and sometimes stand up around Maudlin, and you will accept a seemingly deep and addictive game.




At Not Tonight, you'll step into pubs and clubs in South West England as a security guard. Your job is to decide who to accept and who to send home according to the employer's strict standards for the day. It starts with a basic legal check, such as verifying the customer's age and credibility of the ID, but focuses on personal information such as nationality and income to explain and justify the employer's entry. It doesn't take long to start guessing.


There are strong similarities with Papers, Please, but that's certainly not a bad thing. At first, it's Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition. It doesn't feel like it's taking the 2013 classic as seriously. Please's Success, which is part of the dissertation, recognized the importance of your decision about the people reviewing. Denying someone access to a local slice of nightlife doesn't mean exactly the same thing. Not Tonight will undoubtedly try to make more serious decisions, as it occasionally moves on to more important tasks such as provisional border control. And I feel a little when I keep away Europeans who are simply being treated harshly in post-Brexit world. But still, it never seems to rise completely to the dissertation of the kind of moral dilemma.



(Screenshot taken from In-Game, Steam Version)


But if you put your emotions and political parties aside, Not Tonight actually has some very exciting challenges. Locking out fighters with illegal identities can be as rewarding as successfully finding mistakes while the night procession continues to move. It repeats, but the new controls introduced bring more attention to your brain and eyes. The learning curve is clear and fun because you can feel the improvement in perception. In early games, it seems unlikely that you can always see both the age of the user and the authenticity of the ID. Finally, it adds more information to the player like: make sure you are the right citizen, dressed properly, and do not smuggle dangerous goods onto the premises.

(Screenshot taken from In-Game, Steam Version)


Better performance means better wages, which are important for both your survival and your stay in the country. Your bill must be paid, and even correcting hunger and tiredness is immediately considered. However, it's not too much of a hassle, as it does a lot more work in most cases. Therefore, "Moolah" (slang for money) solves most problems (trying to refer to a real world scenario). One or two of free nights only prevent you from collapsing on the spot. Many employers, neighbors, and even local police officers, many characters are woven into the main game you meet. Dialogues can be very interesting and inspiring, especially as the story progresses. Sure, it's not humor full of notable jokes, but it's smart enough to cause a smile. And you will certainly like and dislike different characters that are relevant but have a relatively predictable backstory. It provides an additional layer of realism and a break from the monotonous and newly discovered calls.


During my playthrough, I often encountered some issues with customers and their identities due to RNG. Since all situations are random, it is not possible to know exactly what to expect, and it is not uncommon to have to deny access to the majority of the crowd due to various techniques. This is fine, except that the bonuses paid are based on getting people through the door the right way. RNG can also make this impossible, no matter how skilled you are in finding counterfeit or counterfeit products. Pixelized designs and dark landscapes can make it difficult to identify who is wearing banned clothing. It's pretty hard to fail the level because you didn't see any black pixels etc on the brown background. Fortunately, retrying and rolling the RNG dice usually solves all problems.


(Screenshot taken from In-Game, Steam Version)


Not Tonight is much longer than expected and can last up to 12 hours (as per How long is Not Tonight? | HowLongToBeat) if you don't skip work. Therefore, if you don't warm up to the bouncer gig gameplay right away, it will quickly fade. However, consistent challenges and diversity are almost always done to the end. The added Take Back Control Edition One Love DLC is pretty much the same, but the settings aren't that strong. The core gameplay remains the same, but with this new angle, it's a bit different than before, becoming a palette cleaner when the main credits are rolled out.


I've always been a loyal nerd, so finding mistakes quickly and consistently is the music for my nerd's ears. The part of my brain that solves this simple puzzle then gets such a kick. To be honest, I never stared at the screen as hard as Not Tonight, and whenever I accidentally missed a bully, I kicked or cursed myself. It does a great job of pulling you into gameplay with its fast difficulty curve. The background of Brexit is very prominent and the message the game is trying to send is clear, but if you consider it simply fiction rather than demonstrable facts or political beliefs, satire will not be arrogant or exhaustive. Instead, Not Tonight is addicting and, dare to say, more fun than a nightlife administrator.

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© 2022 by Bhuvanesh Tekavade

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