Now that I have your attention~
This here is the full, completed version of my GIAW 9 entry: Nightmare
. It is the spiritual successor to one of my earliest game projects called Shadows
, combining elements of a puzzle solver and a psychological horror game and making this perhaps my first successfully completed experimentation with the idea of a surreal "dream versus reality" setting. My aim with this game is twofold: to strike a sense of unease into the player, unnerving them if not outright causing them to jump, and to allow the player to try to unravel the strange story behind the game for themselves.
Nightmare was fortunate enough to snag the first place spot in the contest, and I've been busy adding to it and improving on it since then so that even the GIAW judges will enjoy going through the game once more. The puzzles range from being simple "find this item, use this item here", to being gruesome challenges that really make you stop and think. It's only about 40 minutes to an hour long, but every minute is jam packed with heart-pounding excitement and scares around every corner. Considering this was my first time using VXA, I'm really happy with how it came out. I put a lot of heart and spirit into making this, so I hope you enjoy it!Notes and Tips
- Choose wisely! There are three difficulties to the game: Timid (Easy Mode), Normal, and Brave (Hard Mode). Timid Mode gives the simplest forms of all of the puzzles while providing many hints, and slows the shadow down and making her appear less often. The best ending is easiest to acquire in this mode. The Normal Mode is the average playthrough, neither too difficult or too simple. It has the shadow at normal speeds and appearance rates, the original contest versions of the puzzles with little to no hints, and a slightly more difficult path to find the best ending. Brave Mode, however, ups the stakes considerably by providing more complicated versions of some of the puzzles, increasing the shadow's appearance rate, having the requirements for the best ending better hidden, and giving you a limited number of continues while disabling save files. Be sure to take on the difficulty best suited for you!
- Explore! As you may have guessed, there are two endings to the story based upon your actions in the game, one good ending and one bad ending. Getting one ending over the other can dramatically change the entire interpretation of the game, so pay close attention! It's not difficult to find the good one if you take your time a bit, examine the environment around you and follow every lead you're given. Even if you get the bad ending though, don't worry; there'll be hints provided in game for what may help you on the right path.
- Run! Holding down the shift key while moving will allow you to sprint and give you a decent speed boost. It's useful for making a quick getaway or dashing past dangers. But keep in mind that you are only human; running for too long will cause you to get winded and need to slow down again to catch your breath, and the last thing you need is to slow down right when there's something behind you...
- Listen! Can you hear the sound of your own beating heart? It means that the shadow is nearby, slowly closing in on you! You may not always be able to see her, but you can always listen carefully to determine if she's close by or not. So when you hear the sound of a heart, stop and look around to see where she's coming from before making a run for it!
- Think fast! The shadow will pursue you relentlessly and often block your path forward, but if you're smart there are ways to get around her. Try luring her to one side of the hall or to where you have more space before sprinting around her, or if the hall is too narrow you can try to duck into a nearby room until she's gone. Be careful though, she might be waiting for you when you re-emerge from the room and can be faster than she looks at times!
- Check your inventory! Every time you pick up an item or a key, pause for a moment to examine it in your inventory so that you can have a better idea of where to go next or how to use the item. Oftentimes the item's name alone will be enough for you to figure out what to do with the item.
- Use your map! After acquiring a map of the hotel, pull it up now and then to get an idea of the hotel's layout and where you're going. There won't be any direct "YOU ARE HERE" indicators, but it's usually not too difficult to discern where you on the map based on your surroundings. Just pay close attention and bring the map up when you need to know where a certain room is or what puzzle is where and what doors you've already tried.
If you get hopelessly stuck, you are more than welcome to ask for hints or help in this thread as long as you use spoilers for anything story related. And if you really enjoy playing this game, you can always check out some of my other projects too, such as the original Shadows
or the new remake of Midnight