That age-old question, is it love? Sometimes the answer is no and your heart gets broken, but in Fires at Midnight that truth will set you on fire. An interactive narrative game by Malaysian indie studio Persona Games brings you through the emotional trauma that is life and love.
Set in dystopian Malaysia, with the world on the cusp of Y2K and a deadly ‘love-bug’ going around we’re introduced to the relationship between Yun and Chitra. In this world, if you have sex without being in love with someone then your bodies will combust from within. And you’ll die a pretty terrible death, what with being set on fire and all. The game has three alternate endings but I’ll still try not to spoil too much of the story all the same. Are you ready to burn?
Everything about the characters and their relationship is flawed. Neither one is a saviour to the other and neither of them treat each other well. I love it. The characters are raw and real, and it showcases a part of everyday life that isn’t sensationalised, it just exists. No matter your good intentions, life just happens and sometimes the flame of love (pardon the pun) can be left to die. You get busy trying to make ends meet and you take your partner for granted, you can let old baggage tear you down. And sometimes you’re even just plain fed up with them. Fires at Midnight showcases a little bit of all of these things.
Imagine if you lived in this world, do you trust that the person you’re really and truly loves you? The test is simple, have sex and if one of you doesn’t love the other you both burn up into nothing. At that point how many people would be so willing to take that leap of faith? That’s the question that Yun is left asking himself. Does he love her?
Fires at Midnight is told through snippets of memories. First from Yun’s eyes and secondly from Chitra. The game isn’t technically difficult, all you need are some point and click skills to get you going. So just sit back and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the world.
The visuals of this game are amazing, so wonderfully detailed and stark in their messaging. Yun who makes drugs and has a bit of a horndog vibe going sees the world in psychedelic, neon scribbles. While Chitra whose deep in the throes of depression and mental instability… well she sees other things. Coupled with the music, I really need to thank the game devs for introducing me to these guys because they’re wonderful. Golden Mammoth and mutesite are local indie bands and they deserve a listen.
We brought up Fires at Midnight previously in our games that celebrate SEA culture. And if you’re from this region you’re going to have fun finding all the small references and icons left in the game. From the iconic KLCC Twin Towers to the local Malay words being said, as well as of course nasi lemak. The game has a lot of little details that make it a delight to explore and will have you replaying it again. Make sure to read through all the little books, newspapers and random snippets. Also, I spotted a couple of bushbaby (?) stickers around but not sure what happens when you get all of those.
Fires At Midnight
I had a good albeit short time playing through Fires at Midnight. It’s a game you can easily complete in a couple of hours. But what a couple of hours. I liked the honest nature of the story, they didn’t sugar coat anything and I have to say I appreciated that. The story writing and visuals were extremely impressive especially considering that this is the company’s first game. Fires at Midnight is out now for PC on Steam or itch.io so check it out! Pretty sure that M rating for this game is self-explanatory right?
If you’ve read through my writing you know I think full narrative games are quite underrated. So if this intrigues you, you can check out my list of game-changing visual novels and other amazing narrative games.