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In Nightmare Review

In Nightmare Review

In Nightmare is a videogame with an interesting yet sombre concept. Experiencing the effects of a broken family turns our young protagonist's dreams into an eternal nightmare filled with monsters and challenging puzzles. Avoiding these walking horrors and solving the challenges was fun for a time, but I found myself struggling to push forward in what was unfortunately a rather average game.


You play as a young boy named Bill, unconscious in his real world and trapped in his own hellish nightmares looking for a way to wake up. Bill soon meets Bikti, a glowing butterfly that assists him on his quest by using various abilities whilst also acting as a guiding light; something you’ll rely on throughout the course of the adventure.

You’ll find snippets of the story scattered throughout the levels, from things such as collectible notes that shed some light on the [in-game] real-world events that led to Bill’s fractured psyche, to ghostly apparitions of events from his past that give you a more visual understanding of just what Bill has experienced throughout his short life. It’s a noble idea to try and create a story about a child's mental health, and there are times when some collectibles really made me feel for Bill, but oftentimes it comes off as cliché and almost lessens the dramatic effect the developer was looking for because of it. Ultimately though, it’s a fine narrative that has some interesting ideas; although I’m not usually a fan of collectibles telling the story, they’re not too difficult to locate.


With the game set entirely within different nightmares, I was at first expecting In Nightmare to be a collection of dimly lit corridors and dank caverns; I was pleasantly surprised then by the variety of the levels, with each one representing individual points in Bill’s life. Some of the environments are genuinely impressive, with staircases that wind ever-upwards, and eerie school corridors that reminded me of just how much I detested school. The enemies you’ll come across in these environments are also visually unique, which made me think that someone must have had some truly disturbing nightmares before creating them. The lighting in the game sets the mood perfectly, with sparsely lit rooms giving off a real sense of claustrophobia as the darkness threatens to swallow you up; thankfully Bikti can be used to scout ahead, providing just enough light to combat the dark and foreboding worlds.

What wasn’t as impressive was the framerate. More often than not I found the game to dip below 30 frames per second, even in instances where the only thing happening on screen was opening a cupboard. As I played In Nightmare on a PlayStation 5, this was a bit of a shock, especially with how frequently it happened. Definitely something a future update could resolve, but as of now the developer has yet to address the issue.

Gameplay, however, is what ultimately stops In Nightmare from being great. Whilst it’s enjoyable enough exploring the intriguing — if linear — levels, enemy encounters quickly become an unpleasant chore that will leave you wishing for an option to skip them entirely. Essentially, In Nightmare is a stealth title, with one hit from these monsters being enough to make you restart at the last checkpoint. This might not be too bad, except that sometimes enemies only need to look at you to cause a game over, and with some rather unfair detection mechanics (many a time I was spotted by something offscreen, with no indication that there was a monster there) it very quickly becomes a cycle of repeating sections in the hope that the AI will be kind enough to let you pass. You can hide or distract enemies to keep you safe, but again these mechanics didn’t always work as intended.


The puzzles are perhaps the strongest aspect of In Nightmare, it’s just a shame that there aren't nearly enough of them. One of my personal favourites was a Rubik’s Cube-type puzzle that, whilst not overly complex, was certainly unique and unlike anything I’ve seen before. There are also a number of mazes to navigate through, which could have been fun had it not been for an ability that can be used to find the correct path through them relatively stress-free. Speaking of abilities, Bikti has a few upgradable ones that can come in handy on occasions, such as sending out a pulse to show the approximate location of a monster, or glow brighter for a limited time for those extra creepy areas!

In short, the gameplay you’ll experience during your time with In Nightmare can be fun for a while, but it doesn’t take long for the boredom to set in. A woeful frame rate coupled with the rage-inducing hide-and-seek sections and instant game overs mean I wouldn’t recommend trying it at its current price point.

5.00/10 5

In Nightmare (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

In Nightmare could have been great, but the atmosphere and environments aren’t enough to make up for the woeful frame rate, frustrating enemy encounters, and overall tedium of the gameplay.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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