Night Delivery is a game by Chilla's Art (opens in new tab), two brothers who specialise in short, atmospheric, and generously priced horror games. Last week I wrote about The Convenience Store (opens in new tab), a supremely creepy modern ghost story. And this week I've been playing Night Delivery, the brothers' latest release (opens in new tab). It's the same basic premise: a night shift worker doing a mundane job, who is suddenly thrust into a world of surreal horror. But this one is not only a massive step up visually and artistically for the developers, but a lot scarier too.
I'm a courier with a truck full of parcels, which have to be delivered to the residents of a large apartment complex somewhere in Japan. It's the dead of night, and the place is eerily silent except for the wind in the trees and ominous, brooding ambient music. The presentation is superb, with a grimy, understated aesthetic reminiscent of the Siren series, and a sinister soundtrack with an Akira Yamaoka vibe. I spend the first chunk of the game slowly delivering the packages to some very strange (and very rude) people.
Something I've noticed in games by Chilla's Art is that the brothers are great at building tension. They hold those moments where nothing's happening, to the point where you start to get bored, before they suddenly yank the rug out from under you. That's not an easy thing to get right in a horror game, but Night Delivery nails it. Just as the drudgery of the graveyard shift begins to seep in, shit suddenly gets weird. I won't spoil any of the scares, but they're deeply unsettling in a wonderfully subtle way.
Similar to The Convenience Store's automatic door—which you start getting used to as customers file in and out, but then notice opening spookily when no one's there—Night Delivery uses repetition and familiarity to mess with your head. You'll ride the elevator up and down the apartment block countless times, until you become numb to it, which makes a moment when that routine is broken extra chilling. The careful mix of the mundane and the inexplicable makes for a really unnerving horror experience.
I recently wrote about how exciting the new wave of indie horror games (opens in new tab) being released on PC is, and Night Delivery is another great example of this. It's short, impactful, and imaginative, and tells its story in one perfectly formed hour. You can download it now on Steam (opens in new tab), and it only costs around $2. If you're a horror fan, or enjoy shortform games, it's well worth the meagre asking price. I'm now officially a Chilla's Art fan, and I can't wait to see what fresh weirdness these two developers come up with next.