Neverending Nightmares PS4 review
Publisher: Infinitap Games Developer: Infinitap Games Genre: Horror Players: 1
Age Rating: 16+ Other console/handheld formats: Vita
When you suffer from mental illness, you may feel as if you are trapped in a never ending nightmare at times, and being in such a dark place is where Neverending Nightmare takes its inspiration from. The creator of the game, Matt Gilgenbach, has had experience with both Depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so he was certainly well placed to make such a game.
Neverending Nightmares is all about a man named Thomas, who falls into one nightmare after another. The story is minimalistic in the way it is told, using both dialogue and violent and disturbing imagery to get its point across. It manages to do just that, but do be warned that the game often has a depressing tone. Still, considering its brave subject matter, this is hardly surprising. Don’t expect to come across many nice things in this game, as such things are near non-existent.
Even though the game has a cartoon look, there’s nothing cartoonish about some of the horror you’ll come across in Neverending Nightmares. There are creepy dolls, violent death, ugly monsters and some effective jump scares to be found in Thomas’ nightmares. There’s even some horrific self harming to be witnessed. This is definitely one disturbing game, but it’s also an effective one at getting its message across
You start the game with Thomas stabbing a woman, waking up and then getting up out of bed, and you then go exploring his house. His house isn’t the only place that the game allows you to explore though, with Thomas waking up in different environments. It’s one horrifying nightmare after another for the poor man and, as minimalistic as the plot is, I did begin to feel hopelessness for him, which was obviously Gilgenbach’s plan from the outset. With its excellent atmospheric sound and visual design as well as the feeling of despair that the game triumphantly conveys, the creator of the game very much succeeded with that plan.
There isn’t a whole lot to Neverending Nightmares. As you might have guessed, it’s a horror game. There’s no combat or puzzle solving as such, although, like I said earlier, there are some twisted monsters to be found deep inside Thomas’ horrible nightmares. You can’t attack the hideous enemies directly, so the best course of action is always to run or to hide from them.
The lack of variation is Neverending Nightmare’s biggest flaw, although it’s one of those experiences that is perhaps wanting to speak to you more than it is trying to be a game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad game, and it’s also a moody and memorable experience, but more variation could have made it into a better one. Your task is often repetitive, as are your surrounding environments, which makes things feel samey after awhile.
Taking only two hours to discover absolutely everything that the game has to offer, Neverending Nightmares is a very brief experience, although with how repetitive things can feel, at least the game doesn’t outstay its welcome. Different routes do lead you to different endings, and you can return to levels to play through and attempt to see the rest of the conclusions without having to play through the entire game again, which is welcome. There are three endings in total, although one of them in particular doesn’t really feel like an ending at all, and it just comes across as rushed. Even with the extra endings, the game is in no way as sensibly priced as it could have been, and slightly under £10 would definitely have been preferable, but it actually costs a rather steep £11.99 instead. PlayStation Plus members are currently able to buy the game at the discount price of £9.49 though, which is a more attractive price, but with the discount ending on May 19th, such members will now have to be quick.
Visually, Neverending Nightmares takes inspiration from American artist Edward Gorey’s pen-and-ink drawings. With black and white being the prevalent colours, brighter colours such as red and gold certainly stand out when they appear occasionally. Thomas’ character model is also large and colourless and, with everything else, makes for a memorable look.
Neverending Nightmares is memorable and bold in many ways, but it’s just a shame that the game itself couldn’t have had more variation as well as a longer playing time to make it a lot more worthwhile. As an experience, it comes as an easy recommendation, but as a game, things could have been expanded a bit more to offset the repetitiveness and lack of variation that it suffers from.