Published on March 26th, 2024 | by Nathan Misa

As Dusk Falls PS5 Review – Desert Deliverance

As Dusk Falls PS5 Review – Desert Deliverance Nathan Misa

Summary: A highly recommended interactive adventure game with compelling characters, impactful branching decisions and unique visuals.


Desert Deliverance

As Dusk Falls, the debut game from independent developer Interior Night, is the type of choice-based video game that best shows the medium’s strengths for impactful, immersive, interactive storytelling.

Launching on PlayStation 5 (and PlayStation 4) for the first time this year after a two-year exclusivity period on Xbox, it was an easy decision to jump into the game given my love for other interactive adventure titles such as Beyond Two Souls and Heavy Rain (fun fact – they all share the same creative director).

The end result is a highly entertaining and emotional, edge-of-the-seat gaming experience that makes me excited to see what else the developer can bring to the table in the future.


As covered in ImpulseGamer’s original 2022 review, As Dusk Falls is an interactive adventure game centered on two families, the Walkers and the Holts, and an extraordinary set of circumstances which lead them to the same run-down motel in 1998-era Two Rock, Arizona. The Walkers are a down-on-their-luck unit looking to make a fresh start in another state, while the Holts are a dysfunctional household with several tragedies that drive them to desperate measures. As the player, you directly control certain members from both families and experience the story from multiple perspectives and time periods, ultimately determining all of their fates in the present.

As Dusk Falls’ core gameplay loop is simple: You choose what your playable character says, what action they take, and what they keep to themselves with a button press or directional stick shift. Certain dialogue choices and decisions are timed (to keep you from looking up the “best” choice on your phone), and most choices influence what happens later as characters recall your words or actions. It’s a simple formula that makes the game accessible to every type of player, and you can even make things more accessible by removing the timer for your decisions, tweaking the difficulty of the quick-time event (QTE) or even enabling automatic completion. Even if you fail the choice and action sequences of Ask Dusk Falls, the story constantly adapts and moves forward to keep you engaged, and overall, it takes some interesting twists and turns.

The appeal of a narrative-driven, choice-based adventure game largely rests in its characters, and As Dusk Falls does a great job of establishing a compelling cast in a short amount of time, and provides them with interesting motivations, dilemmas and relationships that wouldn’t feel out-of-place in a movie or limited-run television series. Of course, what makes it unique to those mediums is its impressively detailed branching storylines and writing that is clever, concise and flexible enough to accommodate the choices I made, and subtly re-shape the morality and personality of the protagonists (and antagonists) depending on how I perceived them. For example, Vince can certainly be played as a typical family man that values his daughter above all else, but it’s easy to play him as a more selfish or heroic individual as the story progresses. It’s an impressive feat to pull off given the amount of choices and variations that are on offer, which are all documented in the game’s handy visual timeline feature, which helps you keep track of the multiple timelines, shows you the percentage of players that picked your same choices and succeeded (or failed) at major story branches, and teases paths that exist with different choices.

Now, interactive adventure games have been a mainstay in video games for some time now, but it’s been a good while since I’ve played one that actually feels interactive. As Dusk Falls dodges the problems of other games in the genre by asking you to make a decision or dialogue choice regularly, without taking control away with long-winded cutscenes or auto-determined actions. This meant I was pretty immersed in the story from start-to-finish, as I needed to pay constant attention in order to have the perfect playthrough I wanted – that is, every character alive, every decision made based on strong convictions, and every timed action completed without failure (a neat feature of the game is that it shows your specific playstyle at the end of the six chapters). The most important element the game pulls off is that every choice feels significant, and the game consistently acknowledges your choices with entertaining (and heavy) consequences.

The other fun part of As Dusk Falls for me is its grounded setting and story. You aren’t investigating supernatural horrors or hiding from serial killers like in other, bigger-budget games in the genre. Rather, you’ll instead be keeping the peace between in-laws and partners, navigating family politics, and getting to know people in an initially lower-stakes drama that touches on several sensitive themes that ironically makes the game feel more like a thriller given how relatable the issues presented are. Of course, talking can only take a story so far, and the game expertly escalates the stakes and keeps things interesting with trickier scenarios, such as breaking into a house, sneaking around unsuspecting people, hostage situations, and even fighting directly with other cast members. There is serious weight thrown around in every choice, and even smaller choices are acknowledged, showing some impressive attention-to-detail.

What if you (and your friends and family watching at home) are horrible at making choices, or you accidentally forget to pause the game like I did? As Dusk Falls makes it as easy as possible to jump back and replay certain scenes thanks to the timeline feature, which is something that other titles in the genre can learn from, frankly, as not everyone has hours to replay a game. Of course, it was more immersive and enjoyable for me to live with my choices and enjoy the outcomes from start-to-finish, but more options presented to bring in more players is a wise one.

Which brings me to As Dusk Falls’ multiplayer co-op mode. Up to eight players can join in on a single playthrough (four on traditional PS5 controllers, four on smartphones via a companion app) either locally or online, and each player can vote in the sections of the game that present branching choices and contribute during QTE decisions. An ‘override’ function lets players guarantee a decision wins during a voting session, though you can only use overrides a limited amount of times. While I enjoyed the narrative in single-player, I can imagine this multiplayer function to provide some entertainment among friend and family groups looking to sabotage each other for the most dramatic and disastrous (or unpredictable) endings as humanly possible.

At the end of the day, none of the branching choices would have the same level of impact without the superb presentation that As Dusk Falls brings to the table. The game throws out traditional animation playbooks for a striking graphic novel/visual novel aesthetic that is both eye-catching and entirely unique. Meticulously hand-painted panels form the backdrop for the story, with characters themselves largely still, but subtle shifts in pose and expression, along with carefully timed camera zooms, create the illusion of movement and underscore the tension and emotional weight of every decision the game presents. Meanwhile, every character is voiced by stellar actors who manage to effortlessly capture the intensity and emotional weight of every story beat. I hated the Holt family and Sheriff Dante, but it was hard not to emphasize with them with such amazing, emotional performances.


The Final Verdict

It may not be the biggest game in this year’s stacked line-up, but As Dusk Falls is certainly one that deserves the attention of fans of the interactive adventure genre and anyone who appreciates a great choice-based gaming experience. With six chapters and decent replayability due to the multiple branching paths, there’s a good amount of content on offer that makes Ask Dusk Falls a lot of fun for both single-player and co-op gaming nights. Highly recommended.

Game Details

Primary Format – Games – PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows PC

Game Genre – Interactive adventure game

Rating – MA15+

Game Developer – Interior Night

Game Publisher – Interior Night (PS5), Xbox Game Studios (Xbox, Windows)

About the Author'

A senior writer for and former writer for MMGN and Ninemsn, Nathan has been reviewing video games and interviewing talented developers since 2012. As a nostalgia tragic eternally tied to the glorious 1990s, he's always playing retro gaming classics whenever he's not entrenched in the latest RPG, or talking your ear off about why The First Law book series is better than Game of Thrones - to anyone who dares listen.

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