With a faithful nod back to the good old days of Metroidvania platforming, developer Vanir Project have worked hard to bring gamers Nightmare Boy. The story of a young boy named Billy, who after being turned into a Rolok, must fight his way through a world created from his nightmares, and the worst fears of 10 other children. The nightmare world is full of enemies that will thwart you at every turn, including boss fights. Sound good? Then read on and find out.
As with all games that are referred to as “Metroidvania”, Nightmare Boy is most certainly a challenge. Not that the platforming sections are hard in any way, but rather the enemies are strategically placed for maximum annoyance and damage caused. It can be frustrating, and it will see you get killed frequently. But that's not to say that Nightmare Boy isn't a fun game. With Billy being a headstrong young boy, determined to fight his way out of his precarious situation and teaching the monsters a lesson as he traverses the sinister and disturbing nightmare world in an bid to free himself, and the trapped children he meets along the way.
Visually, Nightmare Boy offers a rich palette of colours that make up the creepy and unusual monsters that you meet during your adventure. There's a good amount of detail invested into the games world, from monsters to scenery and the inclusion of the Grim Reaper as a save point in his own room dotted around the map several times is an interesting idea.
The gameplay is as you'd expect. Tricky. There is a plethora of enemies out to make your life difficult, with many sections requiring near perfect timing for jumps and manoeuvring past your foes should you so choose. They will respawn, so clearing the game of all enemies is not an option should you need to backtrack. Death will happen regularly, if you're not a master of Metroidvania style games. But don't fret, there is an upgrade shop to help you increase skills, and you will even be awarded new powers once you rescue a child from their own nightmare. Thankfully, there is also a map you can bring up that shows what areas you have currently explored. There will be backtracking across the game world and as you unlock new powers, they in turn allow you to explore previously blocked areas. Not content with double jumping, Nightmare Boy also allows you to triple jump to far out of reach areas, which is a feature that is essential the further you progress.
For the casual gamer, Nightmare Boy may prove incredibly frustrating with its steep difficulty, but for those who relish the challenge, then Nightmare Boy will be right up their street. It's all about learning movement and attack patterns, and rushing will see you punished. There are plenty of secrets to search for, which will require you to have found new skills and upgrades which will no doubt keep any gamer who likes to get everything in a game down, very busy.
Overall, I was impressed with Nightmare Boy, and the protagonist Billy, as you battle the hordes of nasty monsters to find your way back home. A challenge for sure, and one that won't be overcome so easily. If you're looking for an easy game, then step away now. If you're after a game that will constantly push you to improve your skills, then Nightmare Boy will be right up your street. The quality of the game is apparent even on sight, and playing it will prove that it's an exceptional platformer, albeit a tough one. But what's gaming if you don't get challenged from time to time? If it's a genre you like, then I'd recommend making that purchase. The price point is spot on, and the achievements are varied enough too. All in all, a great game from a talented developer. The downside is the difficulty and replaying sections can be infuriating if you lack the necessary reflexes, but this aside, Nightmare Boy is worth your time.
Publisher: BadLand Games
Developer: Vanir Project
Release Date: 25th October 2017
File Size: 1.58GB