Nightmarium won’t haunt your dreams, but it won’t light them up either
It’s quite fortunate, really, that the nasty creatures which live under our beds, in our walls, and generally skulk around in the darkness only come out at night. I’d much rather have them roaming about my house while I’m sleeping than getting in the way of the TV during the day.
Of course, if they go waking me up from my slumber, then that’s an entirely different story altogther. So is the story of Nightmarium, in which you attempt to hold the nasties back and allow a little girl to continue sleeping. It’s a relatively eye-pleasing game that doesn’t particularly set out to offend or excite.
Monsters fly in from the left and right, with the girl tucked up soundly in bed, smack-bang in the middle of your touch-screen. By poking, slicing and shaking the enemies, your job is to hold them back and stop them from getting to the middle and waking her up.
It’s a gorgeous little thing, with spooky comic visuals that are lovingly realized. There isn’t exactly a huge array of animations, with monsters sort of sweeping onto the screen, rather than giving off the impression of any real movement, but it’s hard to deny that a lot of effort has gone into making the game look it’s absolute best.
To aid you in your poking quest, there are a few power-ups scattered along the bottom of the screen. These are great for when the going gets really tough later into play. They don’t actually explain what they do, but experimenting with them and discovering it for yourself is pretty neat.
At this point, I’ve already run out of things to say about Nightmarium. It’s an extremely basic game, with only a handful of different screens and enemies to see. There are achievements to unlock and Facebook leaderboards to top, but really you’ve seen everything it has to offer after 10 minutes or so.
There’s a slight blight on the gameplay too. Poking and slicing enemies is fine, but “shaking” them – i.e. grabbing them with your finger and moving them about to kill them – is completely out of tune with the other moves, as it takes much longer to complete, and is far more difficult to pull off. We found shaking enemies to be entirely frustrating.
Even so, Nightmarium is completely free to download, and perfectly acceptable as a quick time-waster on the bus or on your lunchbreak. We just wouldn’t suggest playing it just before you go to bed.