Video Game / The Nightjar
"The Nightjar" is an app for the iPhone and iPad, about The Nightjar, a spaceship (the setting an undisclosed amount of time in the future) that is slowly being pulled into a collapsing star named the "Black Dog." You play as an unnamed passenger on the ship, who is left behind after the star collapses, and must make his way through the ship to escape. Soon after the passenger starts his journey, he meets a mysterious man, Dickie Von Kolding, who claims to be on a ship two days away from The Nightjar, and is at odds with an eerie computer that is sentient, and soon he hears an announcement that something not human is on the ship with him...
The app is noteworthy for featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch
as the guide, and it's unique gameplay twist of using only sound, with the player having to guide the passenger by trusting only their hearing.
This game provides examples of:
- All Just a Dream: Whether or not it is true is either left ambiguous or denied depending on what you do in the finale.
- Animal Motifs: Animals are mentioned very frequently, and are even used to teach the passenger how to survive by sound.
- After the End: Double subverted. It's implied early on that Earth is gone, but fifteen minutes later Dickie mentions cats, birds, and cricketson Earth... Then bitterly recalls how they went extinct. Earth may be still there, but it certainly isn't the same.
- Bittersweet Ending: The "Sensor" ending. It's ambiguous, given that your "brother" Stieg accuses Dickie of keeping your brain in a virtual reality stasis to "steal your imagination to sell to movie producers"; but it's the only ending where you do not die, and Dickie does not reveal any evil nature in his final speech, instead he pledges to get you back to Earth.
- Downer Ending: The "Airlock" ending. The passenger goes into the airlock, and takes off his helmet, simultaneously freezing and asphyxiating to death as the computer futilely warns him against doing so; all the while your supposed brother never appears, just beckoning you to take your helmet off.
- Hearing Voices: Several things, such as Dickie's ship the Nightowl and the Nightjar being similar animals, the audio of Dickie and Stieg in the endings being crystal clear with no feedback, the fact that Dickie can somehow see the inside of the ship and lead the passenger, the computer and Dickie focusing on cat's being extinct, imply that Dickie, Stieg, and the computer (when it's sentient) are all hallucinations made by the passenger.
- Mind Screw: The computer inserts the occasional warning against trusting Dickie, then goes back to doing the routine announcements. Taken to an extreme once Stieg appears, who claims the whole ship is part of a virtual reality game to steal your mind for profit, while the computer switches side and supports Dickie and warns against trusting Stieg.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The aliens, due to the sound-only nature of the game, are never seen, but it's made clear that they can (and will) eviscerate you in less than a couple of seconds without that much warning.