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All Gamers’ Eve II: Neverending Nightmares Review – The Game ‘Depression Quest’ Should’ve Been

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Then, finally, there is the sound design. Neverending Nightmares makes the smart choice of keeping its music subtly atmospheric and almost soothing, with just enough variation not to grate. The use of subtle sound effects — a breath of wind (or is it a moan) there, a grunt of some offscreen menace there, also enables the game to truly shock during those few moments when it transforms its atmosphere of slowly building dread into active terror with the conventional scare chords. Even when one comes across genuinely horrifying sights, such as a pile of bodies in one level, the game doesn’t feel the need to over-advertise its darkness with unnecessary sound cues, allowing the visuals to speak for themselves.

Put all this together and you have a game whose aesthetics alone are likely to keep you playing, if only to see more of the haunting, terrible and yet unshakably compelling world that the game has created. The game’s bleak atmosphere is so overwhelming that it’s difficult to notice the flaws on the first playthrough. But Neverending Nightmares has multiple endings, and as you search for them, the cracks begin to show, though not so much as to ruin the experience.

To begin with, like much modern horror, Neverending Nightmares’ gameplay is very repetitive. It is also not particularly hard. Aside from a few rudimentary puzzles and a very crude “hide in the wardrobe” type of monster avoidance, the game presents very few obstacles that should take the player too long to decipher. Death is a slap on the wrist, as the player will almost always simply wake up in a conveniently placed bed just outside the area where they just died. On the one hand, this is a smart choice insofar as the game’s core strategy in horrifying the player is to make progressing through the levels less a victory than a test of endurance. These nightmares don’t just never end; they escalate the further you go. On the other hand, the game is sufficiently dark that allowing the player a few moments of hard-won victory could have actually heightened the tension once their hopes that the worst is over become dashed by the next horrific episode.

Either way, there are times when Neverending Nightmares threatens to devolve into nothing but a tour of the protagonist’s mind, rather than a fully interactive experience. This need not be necessarily problematic, if the protagonist’s mind reveals enough of a troubling story or dark enough secrets that one wants to find out more. But unfortunately, along with weak gameplay, Neverending Nightmares also suffers from a not-quite-developed story. It is one thing to make a game that remains intentionally cryptic up until the end. It is quite another to make one that doesn’t even seem to know what story it’s telling.

Such is the case with Neverending Nightmares; its three endings seem almost self-contradictory. While one can infer a story from them if one really tries, it’s not a story that really justifies the hellscape that one has to traverse in order to find it. What’s more, the game makes few attempts to connect its monsters to the overarching story’s central conflict, relying instead on stock (some might say) tired imagery such as creepy doll’s heads, straitjacketed mental inmates, and axe-wielding maniacs to serve as its antagonists. If one wants to make a game that is supposed to be one long dream, there has to be some effort spent on explaining why the protagonist is dreaming about these specific obstacles in this specific place, something that the game seems only selectively interested in doing.


Neverending Nightmares is a perfect aesthetic experience hampered by mediocre gameplay and a lack of direction and motivation in its plot. It is a harrowing, compelling journey that has the misfortune of simply ending at an awkwardly placed “STOP” sign. Its environments, visual design, and audio are all perfect representations of how games can both engage the player at an interactive level and provide vibrant artistic merit. Its gameplay and story are wooden and feel tacked on. However, taken as a whole, the game can still be enjoyed and even celebrated, for even if the journey’s end leaves one unsatisfied, or if the path is not littered with solved puzzles and titanic defeated foes, the process of taking it is still a frantic exercise in terror, mystery and catharsis. If you have $10 to burn, and want a short but very sweet taste of darkness this Halloween, Neverending Nightmares is more than worth your money.