“Night Guard / Morning Star” is a magical-realist horror game about a woman’s learning the true nature of her mother’s paintings.
Gameplay: The game is choice-based, with most of the decisions being simply navigation around the gallery and paintings. The main focus of the game is investigating the paintings and thereby understanding the nature of the protagonist’s mother’s artwork, and those interactions are interesting and well-paced scenes from a horror story. 6/10.
Mechanics: The game has some state, with its gallery being a persistent setting in which the player is free to wander. There are multiple endings available, though the branching point seems more like a deliberate choice of the player at certain place in the story rather than something that arises from the protagonist’s previous choices. Although the game is certainly not puzzle-based, I was mildly annoyed at one section in which the protagonist is given a riddle with an obvious solution that I recognized as a player, but that the protagonist apparently did not; the only option was to have it spelled out in-game. 6/10.
Presentation: The writing is strong throughout, and the magical realism is handled skillfully. The protagonist and the characters she encounters are multidimensional and enjoyable (if creepy) to interact with. The ending of the game is a satisfying conclusion to an interesting story. 6/10.
You might be interested in this game if: You like magical realism.