I’m not going to lie, I’ve struggled a little bit to write this, not because it was bad or anything, its more its difficult to review something that you can’t really talk about without giving away huge spoilers. So with that in mind please note that this review may contain spoilers that some people may want to avoid. Obviously we will try to keep the main plot points quiet.
The Nightlight Circus is the sequel to Burying The Hatchet by Electric Goldfish which played out earlier in the year. Like with Burying The Hatchet, everything takes place on Facebook and Facebook Messenger. I tried to play this one differently to how I played the first one. The first one I went in all guns blazing and assumed everything would twist and turn and be full of surprises. This time I went in with the mindset that I had to follow the information more and not get side tracked by things.
With this in mind, the experience started and I kind of forgot it was beginning as I was away, but I managed to catch up in a couple of hours a couple of days later. This is one thing that really helps this interactive experience. If you miss something, its there for you to catch up with in your own time. I caught up really easily and was still able to dive head first into the mystery a couple of days later feeling like I hadn’t missed out on anything (Except the quiz night which was a side task that I loved in the first experience).
Over the course of the week you meet the characters and the story expands. Unlike with Burying The Hatchet, this one focused on a case of missing children and not a murder so within moments of finding out the case details it felt different too is predecessor. As the case progressed you were really able to see the differences between the first case and this case. Burying The Hatchet relied on trying to get us to think outside the box and tried to encourage the supernatural and mysterious and it felt like we were just following a pre-planned story. I’m not saying that was a negative thing about Burying The Hatchet either. It just felt more static I suppose. This one felt more interactive. It felt more like your decisions and thoughts actually had consequences. This story had more character development and with the help of videos and audio files, it felt like you were more involved in the story.
Everything in Nightlight Circus felt different yet familiar and it worked. I’m also glad they gave this one a different style ending to Burying The Hatchet as that was the only thing I didn’t really like about that one. Its ending felt abrupt. In the Nightlight Circus, this has changed and I have to congratulate them on this ending. We were more involved and it felt more like we were at the end of the case. The ending also feels like its set up a possibility of another case happening but without officially setting it up. They have the ability to carry it on if they wish, but its also ended in such a way that they could end it here too.
Overall I have to congratulate everyone involved in The Pandora Network and say thank you for a really awesome experience. They have managed to use what they set up in the Burying The Hatchet and improve on it really well. Plus The Nightlight Circus is the full on creepy we needed in our life!