MSRP: $8.99 / $2.99 on iOS/Android*
Platform: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Horror is such a polarizing genre when it comes to PC games. Some people want their horror games to be full of gore & jump scares. Some people, myself included, prefer horror to be more cerebral, a world of creepy characters & stories, and a lingering sense of nameless dread. Because there are so many horror games out there playing to different audiences, I tend not to be too patient with games that give off the vibe of being in the jump-scare camp.
Dungeon Nightmares II drops you into some kind of dimly lit dungeon and tells you nothing but “find an elevator”. I found one candle early on, but I couldn’t interact with it, and I didn’t spot any others in my roaming. I’m guessing candles come into play later on. I did attempt to “spark a light” a couple of times, and the C button basically causes a camera flash, which requires a few seconds afterwards for your eyes to readjust.
The map function is irritating and hard to use. It’s not a flat map, it’s turnable both on the horizontal and the vertical, so it’s often hard to find the angle where you can see enough of the map to be useful.
By the time I completed the first level, I was thoroughly unimpressed. I mean, sure there’s slow burn and then there’s just dull and annoying. For me, this fell into the latter camp. I don’t know who the player character is, I don’t know what I’m doing except wandering around in the dark, and I wasn’t even bombarded by jump scares to make up for it. In a later level, the game admonishes me to conserve my stamina. Um, ok? There’s no stamina meter I can find, so I don’t know how I am supposed to know the status of my stamina. Maybe it was just the games way of saying “Hey, Sparky, stop jumping around so much!”.
There is definitely some creep factor, but it wasn’t enough for me. Reading about the game and seeing the words “procedurally generated” and “perma-death” and “combat-less gameplay” and I knew my time with Dungeon Nightmares II was over. Because if I can die, but there’s no combat, and the things that can cause death are random and possibly unavoidable, then I feel like someone’s just trying to squeeze some extra play time out of a mediocre game.
Dungeon Nightmares does seem like a game that got absolutely stellar reviews from anyone who isn’t me. If jump-scares and creepy random levels are your thing, you might really love it; as I said, the creep factor is real. I’m totally okay with the idea that this game just isn’t for me, but if I’m not going to be part of an engaging story, and I won’t be given the chance to fight for my life, I’m not really sure why I need to be there at all.
*According to the developer, the Windows/Mac version available on Steam is the more complete version. Cuts were made to accommodate the lower memory of mobile devices.