Neverending Nightmares is about a man in a seemingly neverending sequence of increasingly disturbing dreams. These dreams tie together into a branching narrative with multiple endings, with each giving a different take on the protagonist Thomas’ relationship to a woman called Gabby. A conclusive answer to the mystery is never given.
Thomas seems like a relatively normal man, but you can see the sadness and depression in him as the story progresses. His dreams are intended to be a representation of his mental state, with bizarre sights like a grandfather clock depicting a beheading when it chimes being commonplace. While walking through his house Thomas deals with a variety of strange situations. Early on he is chased and has to hide from a huge, baby-like creature that will literally hug Thomas to death if given the chance. I have no idea what this is supposed to represent or symbolise and I suppose that’s my main criticism.
Infinitap Games call it psychological horror that deals with mental illness, but I cannot agree. The only thing that left an impression on me was a few incredibly disturbing, gore focused scenes. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I didn’t really find much depth in the bare bones narrative and it wasn’t tense or atmospheric enough to keep me immersed in the experience. It presented a very bleak and hopeless view of life and includes incredibly graphic self-harm scenes. Yet I’m still no closer to understanding this state of mind, as the game doesn’t delve into the subject, but instead uses it as a tool to shock the player.
Visually striking black and white hand-drawn line art is used, it looks similar to 2010’s Limbo. Fantastic use of lighting and shadow, animation on curtains and flickering fire in lamps are some of the details I noticed while playing and really adds life to the world. Like Limbo, the game has no interface, onscreen prompts or loading screens. Players know what to interact with by the use of colour. Doorknobs, picture frames and anything else you need to examine/interact with are coloured gold. Red is used for blood (there’s lots of it) and it’s very good at attracting your attention.
Gameplay consists of lots of walking, lots of door opening and very basic stealth. With the exception of a few frustrating encounters, it’s hard to fail and I never had much trouble figuring out where to go. Darkness sometimes seriously obscures your view, but you’re almost always directed to a candle when you need one. Stealth sections are passed by simply hiding in a cupboard until the monster leaves or simply standing still as a blind enemy wanders past.
It’s much more focused on disturbing, rather than challenging you.
A great ambient soundtrack is one of the best things the game has to offer and I found it genuinely creepy during some scenes. Every track was suitably unsettling and added to the sense of dread. It’s a shame I couldn’t find a place to purchase the soundtrack and couldn’t even find it on YouTube, as it’s one I’d like to listen to again. This, combined with the screams, groans and whispers you’ll hear while wandering around are the most memorable things I’ll take from the experience.
The concept is very interesting, but the execution left me feeling hollow and unsatisfied. The game presents an unclear, simple narrative that’s never resolved or gone into with any depth. Memorably disgusting gore, beautiful line art and a stunning soundtrack are the reasons I’m glad I played it, but I can’t recommend it at full price as it didn’t really leave that much of an impression. In a few days I’ll barely remember it and if anything I’ll remember how unsatisfied I was after finishing it.