GamingReview: El Paso, Nightmare

Review: El Paso, Nightmare


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My favourite part of El Paso, Nightmare was definitely the protagonist. When faced with a blood-soaked woman throwing balls of energy, his response was to shout at her like she was screaming about an expired coupon. He’s awkward, nervous and completely unable to process the nonsense that’s happening in front of him. I love it.

It’s representative of the general tone that El Paso, Nightmare is stabbing for: silly horror comedy. A lot of it is screaming, bloodthirsty monstrosities but it’s layered with this level of irreverent comedy that makes it work. It’s fully settled into the B-movie groove. As a demo for the full title coming later this year, El Paso, Elsewhere, it does its job pretty well.

El, Paso Nightmare - Werewolf

El Paso, Divided

El Paso, Nightmare‘s main campaign is split into two distinct sections. The first begins with our boy, Luis, waking up, slamming some pills and making the ill-fated choice to get some ice. Unfortunately, the motel he’s staying in has been infested by horrors from beyond time and space, in addition to the usual cockroaches. Being armed with naught but a bucket, he has to run and hide from the monsters while scooping up heart-shaped keys. It’s an effective little opener, which is overlaid with some bizarre, but enjoyable, hip-hop. It’s not that deep but it’s a nice showcase of the ghoulies and gets across the horror-comedy vibe well.

Then we run down a liminal-space nightmare and burst out into a graveyard, to be greeted with a pistol sitting on the ground. Oh, it’s revenge time. The second half is a wave based shooter, as you push through waves of baddies to reach a slowly descending lift. It’s deliberately old school in theme, which I appreciated, even if it was pretty poor at telling me where this magical lift was. Still, I assume that’s kind of the point. We’re supposed to be running around, panicked, desperately trying to find the way out.

El Paso, Nightmare - Graveyard

El Paso, Pew Pew

Old school shooters live and breathe on how good their guns feel and El Paso, Nightmare does well on this front. The shotgun feels powerful and popping off headshots with the pistol makes enemies ragdoll in a satisfying way. The Uzi does feel like we’re spitting on them instead of shooting them, but they can’t all be winners. Enemy variety is pretty top notch too. On my second run, I fought through hordes of knights, dancing puppets and one giant lumpy bloke, only to turn around and be greeted by a floating, biblically accurate angel. It’s wonderful, weird and chaotic.

Not to say it’s without fault. Enemy AI is fairly old school as well, with most enemies being content to just run straight towards you. El Paso, Nightmare‘s solution is just to spawn in more of them. Not an elegant solution and it brings up another issue: the movement. Please, El Paso, Nightmare, just let me jump. The tight corridors and the AI meant that I was frequently getting followed by a conga line, which would trap me in corners and lead to irritating deaths. Being able to jump would give us the power to properly strafe and herd enemies. Still, one thing I did like was that it doesn’t reload for you. You have to hit R each time. It made things actually tense, especially when I’d point my shotgun at a werewolf and hear nothing but a fatal click.

El Paso, Nightmare - Woman

El Paso, Bitesize

It’s worth remembering that El Paso, Nightmare is an appetiser and not an entree. It’s a playable prologue, so it won’t last you much more than a couple of hours. Hell, the game straight up tells you to refund it if you want to. In terms of getting cash to make the proper game, it’s a lot more entertaining than throwing money into a bottomless Kickstarter page. Just make sure you go in knowing what to expect.

I try and critique games on what they are versus what they’re trying to be. At the end of the day, El Paso, Nightmare is trying to be a funny little horror shooter, serving as a sample of the full game to come. Bar a few small issues, it does that. It won’t stick around for long but, hey, there are worse ways to spend four quid.

(El Paso, Nightmare Steam Page)


An entertaining amuse-bouche, with a good sense of humour and some decent horror-themed gunplay. A nice little teaser for the main event.

+ A lot of monster variety
+ The sense of humour is great, especially the protagonist
+ The guns feel nice to use, for the most part
+ Has a great style to it

- The movement is quite restricted
- The AI could use smartening up a bit

El Paso, Nightmare
Developer: Strange Scaffold

(Played and only available on PC)
Josh Blackburn
Josh Blackburn
A good chunk of my time is spent chugging tea and gaming on my PC or curled on the sofa with my Switch. Survival, roguelikes and all things horror are my forte, but I’ll dip my toes into any interesting game that comes along. If you can push buttons or waggle sticks, I’ll give it a whirl.

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<strong>An entertaining amuse-bouche, with a good sense of humour and some decent horror-themed gunplay. A nice little teaser for the main event.</strong><br /> <br /> + A lot of monster variety<br /> + The sense of humour is great, especially the protagonist<br /> + The guns feel nice to use, for the most part<br /> + Has a great style to it<br /> <br /> - The movement is quite restricted<br /> - The AI could use smartening up a bit<br /> <br /> El Paso, Nightmare<br /> Developer: Strange Scaffold<br /> <br /> (Played and only available on PC)Review: El Paso, Nightmare