Haunted dolls are a big no, no for me. Whenever the horror genre uses this creepy concept, it freaks me out. These emotionless asshats scare the bejesus out of me, and nothing or no one will convince me to think differently. Consequently, when Project Nightmares Case 36: Henrietta Kedward opened the action with a malignant toy of doom, I was prepared to shit myself repeatedly. Unfortunately for me and my dry cleaner, this game lived up to its trouser-soiling promise. As such, this was one horror game that I loved and regretted almost immediately.
Developed by NC Studio and published by Feardemic, this is a first-person horror adventure title. What’s more, it has some basic puzzles to overcome and plenty of juicy jump scares. Moreover, it has procedurally generated gameplay and therefore, no playthrough is ever the same. This idea makes it stand out from its peers while enhancing replay value and longevity.
NC Studio is a tiny 2 person team that must be applauded for their efforts. According to their blurb, this is the first instalment in the series. Subsequently, there should be plenty more chapters in this spooky yet simple horror game.
Project Nightmares uses some familiar mechanics.
I adored Project Nightmares’ simplistic approach. With familiar mechanics at its core, and plenty of confined spaces to explore, this doesn’t ooze originality. However, this matters not, as I “enjoyed” its dark and eerie ways, nonetheless. Much of the action focuses on you finding items and fulfilling your role as a paranormal investigator. Alongside this, you’ll have to complete puzzles, explore tight spaces, and avoid the attention of a demented and demonic being.
You are a gifted individual who wishes to help a group of scientists and paranormal investigators. Confined to a special machine, you are teleported into the body of a possessed doll. By transferring your mind to this vessel, you can understand its history and hope to stop it from completing its task. However, the demonic spirit will sense your presence and will stop at nothing to evict you from its body.
Death by candlelight.
Much of the opening action demands that you stroll along corridors with nothing but candlelight to illuminate the way. Yet, if this runs out, you are hunted immediately by a vengeful spirit, and you unsurprisingly die! As such, it is best to keep the candles burning as you explore your surroundings. By searching drawers and looking at paintings, notes, and pictures, you will piece together clues to help the investigation progress.
Alongside this, you will undertake many QTEs and plenty of puzzles as well. Each of these elements fails to break the mould. However, thanks to the procedurally generated ideas, no problem is ever the same. Thankfully, this was a great idea, as it kept things fresh while maintaining a sense of difficulty.
Henrietta is a bit of a dick.
You’ll encounter many tiresome spirits during your time with Project Nightmares. From the off, you’ll witness flying plates, breaking vases, and other supernatural events. Yet, as you progress, you’ll stumble across Henrietta. This troublesome beast is a bit of a dick and when you hear her scream, you best run for the hills.
This well-trodden but exciting element got your blood pumping. Whether it was a lack of light or the excellent QTEs, you’ll feel under pressure to tackle each encounter. Moreover, being chased by grisly ghosts and apparitions never gets old. As you dodge obstacles and navigate tight spaces, you’ll wait for each classic jump scare. Fortunately, Project Nightmares delivers these moments perfectly while balancing the requirement to solve problems and search for clues.
Talking of clues, there is a requirement to use a special lens to highlight supernatural moments. This basic tool broke up the inevitable sense of fear, but it wasn’t as smooth as I’d have liked. Accordingly, the immersive nature of the gameplay was occasionally ruined as you flitted between different perspectives.
Project Nightmares is creepy and immersive.
Talking of perspectives, the familiar first-person viewpoint enhances the eerie nature of this horror title. Furthermore, your limited vision and the claustrophobic spaces work perfectly. Alongside this, the horrific creatures make your skin crawl as you search darkened rooms for clues and a way out. However, though I loved the presentation, there were minor issues that somewhat undermine the finished product. With bugs and glitches to contend with, it breaks up the immersive nature of the gameplay and tarnishes an otherwise enjoyable title.
The developers haven’t relied on a haunting soundtrack to enhance the atmosphere. Instead, they focused their energy on creepy sound effects and gruff soundbites from the protagonist. This approach works extremely well, especially when you are exploring vast spaces. With the sound of footsteps and the occasional supernatural moment, you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat. What’s more, Henrietta’s blood-curdling noises make up for the silence you endure.
Project Nightmares unfolds at a deliberately slow pace. However, the QTEs juxtapose this as they demand quick thinking and even quicker reactions. If you wish to survive each nightmarish encounter, you’ll have to pound the correct button, as indicated on the screen. Yet, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as your heart will be racing. Fortunately, though, you are assisted by the responsive and well-considered controller setup.
Thanks to the procedurally generated mechanics, Project Nightmares oozes longevity and replay value. No matter how many times you play this game, you’ll never get the same experience. However, there is an argument that the never-ending stream of darkened corridors can become repetitive. Thankfully, this issue is overcome because of the unique puzzles you face.
Project Nightmares is tough and scary.
A 2-person project is normally loaded with bugs, issues, and underwhelming gameplay. Yet, Project Nightmares has managed to buck this trend, mostly. Thanks to the immersive first-person viewpoint, the creepy and sinister creatures, and the interesting puzzles, this is perfect for fans of the horror genre. Consequently, I enjoyed it and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you stop the destroy the evil before it evolves? Explore a labyrinthine world, solve every puzzle, and avoid Henrietta’s deadly gaze.