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Review of Nightmare Frames by walas74

Stars - 40

Rating by walas74 posted on Jun 25, 2022 | edit | delete

Well written horror in 80's Hollywood

Since I played Urban Witch Story by Postmodern Adventures (a must-play game available for free at itch.io) and I heard that their next game would be a commercial release called “Nightmare Frames”, I couldn’t wait to play it. Now that I have finished it, I can write a complete review.

In my reviews I don’t like to write spoilers about the story, so I will begin saying that the main character, Alan, is an scriptwriter for horror movies in the 80’s Hollywood. Yeah, that out of control Hollywood. We will realize immediately that Alan is an egocentric prick who wants to win an Oscar at all costs and be renowned, and after being nominated for a “serious” movie, he is now frustrated because now he only writes scripts for slasher movies. We won’t like Alan from the beginning and that’s is ok, one can see clearly that’s what the game developer wants. He is a very well written character, who we won’t empathize at first, but hey, I don’t believe we empathize with Rufus from Deponia or Simon the Sorcerer.

There comes a time when Alan will have to look for the last movie by Edward Keller, a director who only made one horror movie which caused much of a stir. And It seems this lost movie was going to be the scariest movie ever. And that’s all I should tell you not to spoiler the game.

There are many adventure games that play the card of nostalgia and their sales spitch is like “inspired by the classics by Lucas Arts and Sierra”. So it is pleasent that someone looks for a different path, with and adult adventure game, astoundingly written, with credible characters and one you can’t stop playing to know what will happen next.

Hollywood’s world is brilliantly described, the game aptly criticizes the flaws of that world, there are many cinephile references and one can notice the love and care from the developer for cinema in general and horror movies in particular. We will see some sort of mocking reference to Scientology, we will have the chance to play an arcade with a couple of quiz games, and during our adventure we will have the pleasure of listening Claire de Lune by Debussy.

Alan is the main character, but there is some kind of omniscient narrator who will tell us the stories of the characters we will meet in our way, and who Alan will interact with sometimes, providing very funny moments. Descriptions of everything are written way above average aventure games do, dialogs are superb and you can feel that the game consider you seriously.

Regarding to puzzles, there are not too many and not too hard, but that’s the idea: not interrupting the unraveling of the plot. The puzzles present are logical, there is no pixel hunting, I don’t think you will get stuck for a long time nor you will have to use a walkthrough to continue.

And when the horror makes its appearence… well, it would be better for you to enjoy for yourself, with lights off and with headphones, as sound effects are spectacular.

In a year when we have the return of Syberia and Monkey Island, I dare to say that Nightmare Frames will be a tough contender for Best Adventure Game of the Year.

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Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Easy

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