Imagine waking up from a nightmare, only to discover that you've awoken to yet another terrifying nightmare. Now imagine that this happens over and over again, with no obvious means to escape the cycle of unrelenting torment. What should you do?
Dedicated adventurers know: you start exploring this hideous dreamscape!
Based on designer Matt Gilgenbach's struggles with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Neverending Nightmares is a newly-announced psychological horror game from Infinitap Games, which is now seeking funds through Kickstarter. Players are cast as the tentatively-named "Adam," who is the victim of intense, repeating nightmares. While concrete story details are light at this stage, you'll be tasked with determining what elements of Adam's terrifying dreams are real and what elements are the twisted results of his compromised psychological state.
Gilgenbach indicates that the focus in Nightmares will be on exploration, in addition to creating an "accessible and fun" game "for a wide variety of skill levels." Thus, potential frustrations such as complex HUD elements (think health bars and minimaps), puzzle-solving, and hard-to-memorize controls are minimized or jettisoned entirely in favor of a streamlined experience that allows for full immersion in the game's oppressive atmophere. Players will have direct control of Adam throughout the adventure using a keyboard or gamepad.
Played from a side-scrolling, 2.5D third-person perspective, Neverending Nightmares eschews a hyper-realistic graphics style in favor of a black-and-white hand-drawn aesthetic, heavily inspired by illustrator Edward Gorey's macabre works. This quirky presentation is even more jarring when, in one of the game's few uses of color, bright red blood accentuates the story's many horrifying scenes. Another notable use of color is for highlighting usable objects in the game world.
Individual playthroughs are expected to last 1-3 hours, but the developer states that with multiple endings available, several playthroughs will be required to fully understand the story. A short Windows-only demo is already available, showcasing the game's unique style and terror-inducing atmosphere, and serves to illustrate the nightmare-within-a-nightmare mechanic as well.
To scare up the necessary cash for development, Infinitap Games has turned to Kickstarter to raise $99,000 by September 29. In addition, Neverending Nightmares has joined Ouya's Free the Games Fund, which will double the amount raised, assuming the initial campaign is successful. However, in order to be eligible for the Fund's money, the game is required to be an Ouya platform exclusive for six months at launch. The game is scheduled to haunt the Ouya in August 2014, followed by a general release on PC, Mac, and Linux systems in the first quarter of 2015.
Interested gamers can get more information, as well as secure a copy of the game for $15, at Neverending Nightmare's Kickstarter page. An official webpage is also available.