App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Every once in a while, a game seems to go out of its way into tricking you that it’s one kind of experience, but it’s really another, different thing entirely. Sometimes, this is a good thing and leads to surprisingly enjoyable experiences, but this is not the case for Neverending Nightmares. This game parades around like it’s an atmospheric horror game, but all of that is mostly due to its audio/visual design. Beyond looking and sounding scary, Neverending Nightmares is actually a half-baked stealth game with really frustrating controls.
Neverending Nightmares puts you in control of Thomas, a young man, who is constantly finding himself waking up with things not being right. In this case, this means having his house littered with creepy, eyeless dolls, seeing blood on the walls, and even waking up in an insane asylum.
After waking each of these times, you control Thomas as he wanders through his horrific surroundings in an attempt to figure out what is going on. Most of this involves simply tapping and dragging on the screen to have Thomas shuffle in the desired direction, but there are moments where you’ll have to tap on objects to solve simple puzzles and sprint away from monsters looking to stop Thomas in his quest. For the most part though, Neverending Nightmares just has you shambling down empty hallways, waiting to see what comes next.
Drawing you in
The most striking thing about Neverending Nightmares is its presentation. The whole game looks like a black and white sketch come to life, and it’s set against some downright eerie ambient music. This aesthetic is also key to communicating with players, as a lot of the game’s puzzles revolve around objects that have color in this otherwise colorless world.
To further creep you out, Neverending Nightmares does a great job of making you feel completely powerless. Everything in the game, from the slow, shambling gait of Thomas to the unexpected jump scares, puts you at its mercy, and there’s little you can do to change things except press on and hope things get better.
Given this setup, Neverending Nightmares has some huge potential to provide a an amazingly tense and scary experience. Unfortunately though, the game is woefully short and feels underdeveloped, making for a pretty shallow and frustrating experience.
You can get through Neverending Nightmares in a little over an hour if you can manage to avoid death, but doing so is much easier said than done. Throughout the game, there are many sequences where you must successfully avoid monsters that can easily catch and kill you immediately, and doing so is incredibly difficult thanks to your character’s really weak movement abilities and poor controls. As a result, the bulk of your time with Neverending Nightmares will likely involve you failing the same stealth sequence over and over again. When you do make it through these sequences, you may then get treated to a simple puzzle or cutscene to push things forward, but soon enough you’ll find yourself at another one of these sequences, and wishing that there was a simple sprint button to press as opposed to having to tap the bottom corners of the screen to move faster.
The bottom line
Neverending Nightmares sets up a great atmosphere, and then ruins it by featuring boogeymen you have to get past using poor controls. When you aren’t doing that, the game throws some jump scares at you, but a lot of the time is still spent shuffling around hallways randomly. This sucks a lot of tension around the game, and makes for something that’s more frustrating than it is scary.