Indie Game Spotlight – Neverending Nightmares

By – Drew Martz

            Hello, and welcome back to the Indie Game Spotlight, where I play games at the expense of my sanity for the sake of JOURNALISM. Yep, this week we’re doing a horror game.

Let me preface this spotlight by saying that I don’t play horror games. I don’t like horror games. I’m the person who watches other people play horror games, and even then I watch them through the slits of my fingers. So why a horror game this week, you ask? I don’t know, I guess I just hate myself. I could have done a super kid-friendly game like Secret of the Magic Crystals or Monster Loves You, one that won’t make me want to burst into tears at any given moment, but that’s boring. So, this week, we’re shining the spotlight on… *sigh*… Neverending Nightmares.

NOTE: If you want real-time reactions as I play through the game for the first time, check the end of this post for a little bonus feature!

Neverending Nightmares is a hand-drawn survival horror game by developers Infinitap Games. You play as Thomas, a man trapped within his own nightmares. As he “wakes up” from nightmare to nightmare, the surroundings get progressively bleaker and darker, and more terrifying. For the most part, the game’s story is relatively open-ended. There are clear plot points, but aside from the occasional dialogue bits it’s up to you to piece the plot together from Thomas’s terrifying dreams.

Nightmare image 2

Summing up the gameplay is relatively simple: it’s a survival horror walking simulator. That does not mean, however, that it’s at all boring. Neverending Nightmares itself is a metaphor for the toll that OCD and depression takes on the mind, and as such utilizes a subtle form of horror. The fantastic sound design in this game is what makes it truly terrifying.  When the game prompts you at the beginning to use headphones, do it. The game is all about making you think something is always right behind you, when in fact it’s all in your head. Until it’s not and you’re getting your throat ripped out. The art style is also very unique, and it does its job well. Combined with the aforementioned sound bites, the gothic-style art really shines.

Nightmare image 3

The game also uses a branching storyline that begins towards the middle of the game, resulting in a total of 3 possible endings. Therefore, there is a small amount of replayability, even though the approximate time for one play through is around 2-3 hours. However, one of the main criticisms of the game is its repetitiveness. When I said that the game was a walking simulator, I meant it: most of the time you are just casually meandering through hallways with nothing in them but creepy set pieces. This starts out very unsettling, but as I progressed I found myself not really expecting anything to happen. Of course, then something did happen and it scared the shit out of me. However, I did find the long pauses between scares ultimately unnecessary.

Nightmare image 4

That’s about all there is to say about this game. Is it the scariest horror experience in the market right now? Surely not. Is there a lot of meaning behind the horror? Yes, and that’s the main draw behind this game.

You can buy Neverending Nightmares on Steam now for $14.99, or you can grab it in this week’s Humble Bundle for only around $3, along with its Android companion and a bunch of other great indie titles! This bundle lasts until Tuesday, September 1st, and you can choose where your proceeds go! It’s a great deal, so it’s definitely worth the purchase. You even get Secret of the Magic Crystals, guys. How can you not buy this bundle?

Well, I did it. I played a horror game. This will not be a regular occurrence, I assure you.

Regardless, thanks for tuning into another Indie Game Spotlight! Check back next week for your regularly-scheduled eSports Update!

 

 

 

EXTRA: Since this is my first horror game spotlight, I thought it would be fun if I documented my reactions as I go through the beginning of the game for the first time. If you don’t want any spoilers, just don’t read this part, although I will try to avoid the larger story points, and I won’t add pictures in case you guys do want to play this for yourselves. Expect a lot of caps. And screaming. Lots of screaming.

Update 1: Okay, I just started the game and I’m already scared. Deep breaths. The art in this game is very appropriate. Simple but off-putting.

Update 2: RANDOM THINGS KEEP FALLING AND I KEEP JUMPING STOP IT GAME

Update 3: Okay, I think I got through the first dream. Most suspenseful walking simulator I have ever played. My heart can’t take this.

Update 4: OH SWEET BABY JESUS WHAT IS HAPPENING

WAIT NO STOP PULLING THE VEINS OUT OF YOUR ARM THAT ISN’T SANITARY

Update 5: Okay, so this is why I don’t play horror games. I’m only like 20 minutes in and all I want to do is quit. The suspense just eats away at my stomach and it makes me all nauseous… Okay, back to the game, I guess… *dies a little*

Update 6: Am I the only person who finds the xylophone melodies they often use in horror games oddly soothing? This is the calmest I’ve been all game.

Update 7: Oh no… I just found a wardrobe I can get into… That means I’m going to get chased…     ;___;

Also, if any of you were wondering how long the lapse is between these updates is, it’s only about every few minutes. I just need to get my heart rate back to normal.

Update 8: OK YEP IM GETTING CHASED NOW

Update 9: I will say this game does atmosphere really well. The music is also really haunting, and headphones do wonders.

Update 10: son of a bitch there’s another wardrobe I’m so done

Update 11: MY SISTER JUST CAME UP BEHIND ME AND SCARED THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME GODDAMN

Update 12: I died.

Update 13: I died again, but this time it was because I stabbed myself in the stomach. Oh.

This guy doesn’t have much of a sense of self-preservation.

Update 14: Oh dear, I think someone is getting brutally tortured on the other side of this door.

I GUESS I BETTER GO THROUGH IT HUH

Update 15: Oooh, now we’re in an asylum. Damn it. Can we go back to the dollhouse please?

Update 16: OH GOD I HEAR SOMETHING CHASING ME AND IT SOUNDS HUNGRY AND NOT PARTICULARLY VEGETARIAN

Update 17: There’s a lot of crying right now…

Oh wait that’s me

Update 18: Oh my god this guy runs like he has fifty shades of asthma

Update 19: I’m sorry but what kind of medical establishment just leaves disembodied arms lying around? That’s just wrong.

Update 20: Ok, so my game crashed and I lost a ton of save data. Great. I guess that’s it for the play through documentation. I did enjoy doing this, though, so maybe I’ll recycle this idea for later spotlights. I hope you enjoyed me being scared out of my mind for your enjoyment!

 

 

Nightmare image 1

About the blogger

aaaaDrew Martz is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science, and has been an avid gamer since he was only 5 years old. His favorite games include League of Legends, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing, but also is a big fan of the RPG genre.  His dream job is to be a character designer.  In his downtime, when he’s not playing games or following E-Sports, Drew enjoys binge-watching TV shows on Netflix and YouTube videos.