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Nightmare Realm: In the End... Review

Battle darkness and fight against time to save your loved ones in Nightmare Realm: In the End. Life has been hard since the sudden death of your husband. But for the sake of your daughter, Emily, you’ve had to move on. Just as things have begun to settle, and on the night before Emily leaves for college, she is attacked by a dark and ghostly figure. It’s a race against time as you have only an hour to collect tears from the husband you thought dead, or else Emily’s life force will be completely taken. Now you must travel into the Nightmare Realm and face the darkness, or your daughter will be lost.

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by on 01-10-2013     

I will be the first to admit that my overly curious and constantly churning mind tends to make me rather difficult to please in the gaming sense. There’s nothing I hate more than romping along, enjoying my trip through fantasy and adventure, when some stupid little detail catches my attention and spoils the whole thing.

Like a gramophone in the 1700s; or terrible voice actors; or freshwater fish swimming along under the sea. Little things, easily fixed but not so easily overlooked. When I started playing Nightmare Realm: In the End, I was seriously worried this would be a game full of those little things that made it impossible for me to enjoy.

I was wrong.

Title Screen

The first thing that caught my attention in Nightmare Realm: In the End was the creepy factor, which was super high and just all over the place. There was even a creepy ghost girl in the part where you pick your difficulty setting, for crying out loud. So, naturally, I got pretty excited.

And that excitement build right up until the first cut scene, where the character design up and slapped me in the face. They’re fine to look at, but get them talking and ugh. Just ugh. So my excitement fell, and my skepticism grew. I mean, look at her. She was amazing; and then we started interacting. (Also, she’s supposedly about to go off to college. She looks about nine.)

Guh

And there was more. A diary that I had to read twice because I was supposed to find a single paperclip among all the mess; a gateway puzzle so simple my cat could have done it (seriously, she walks on the keyboard; it could happen); a fire snake that was cool with being doused with water, but couldn’t take an icecube being chucked at it.

I didn’t like how precise you had to be to use objects, or the lack luster black sheet design of the main bad guy (although I changed my tune on that when the screenshot below popped up). But you know what? Twenty minutes into Nightmare Realm: In the End, and I didn’t care. I just wanted to keep playing.

Villain

At this point, you might be wondering, “With all the things to nitpick, what’s to love?” And the truth is: all of it. While I don’t care for the interactive aspect of character design, I loved absolutely everything else there was to see.

The world is beautiful, especially when you travel into the paintings, and the creepy factor of the Nightmare Realm is juuuuust right. I also loved how interactive everything was, including chains that rattled when your cursor brushed them (even accidentally).

I enjoyed the big picture of Nightmare Realm: In the End so much that I, in all my nitpicky glory, decided to ignore that little accuracy voice in the back of my head and play on. Because even if his puzzle was a little lame, have you ever seen a cooler gate guardian?

Gate Guard

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of the Hidden Object part of Hidden Object Games (lame, I know). But in Nightmare Realm: In the End, the areas are so interactive I actually had fun (there also aren’t a ton of them, so that helped).

While there is the stereotypical list of things to collect, and some of them are as easy as just-pick-them-up, a good many items have to be found or modified in some pretty neat ways.

Like to get the idol you have to put a bone in the crocodile’s mouth and then build the doll from pieces laying around the area. Or, my favorite, to get the red chameleon you have to grab the green chameleon and put it on the red mushroom. It’s a little thing, but in this case it made a world of difference (and in a good way).

Hidden Object Area

Nightmare Realm: In the End is a great example of letting yourself ignore the trees and just get lost in the forest. It is a whole lot of fun once you get into gameplay and over those first few minutes (and, in my case, close your eyes/skip the cut scenes).

Did I find the story compelling? Eh, not really. Was I compelled to play? You bet’cha. I loved how segmented the game was; there were really clear sections that you were able to nicely close out before moving on to the next part.

I also enjoyed the slight mixing of genre, because while the game itself clearly has a haunting/scary vibe, there are parts that are pure fantasy. I mean, where else can you battle a demon fire snake one minute and then go romping around with this darling little dragon in your inventory the next? (That’s right, I’m holding him. How fabulous, right?)

Dragon

I think, though, the best part of Nightmare Realm: In the End, for me anyway, was discovering there are games out there that are so much fun even their downsides can’t get me down.

The puzzles were too simple, there were a lot of unnecessary strange things going on, and I haaaated the moving characters. And still, I had fun. I was able to get captured by Nightmare Realm: In the End enough that all those little things just didn’t matter. It wasn’t perfect; but it sure was close enough.
 

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Nightmare Realm: In the End... Walkthrough

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