Nightmare is a 3D action-adventure game in which the player explores and conquers the delightfully-twisted, imaginary world of a young boy named Aaron.
Because his parents are moving the next day, during the night Aaron decides to sneak out of his home and meet up with his friends one last time. However, as he explores the neighborhood he discovers that the normally-peaceful streets twisted with the nightmares from his imagination. Seeing the danger, Aaron redoubles his efforts to reunite with his friends and rescue the other children from his neighborhood before the prowling monsters do the same.
Players control only one child at a time, but once players rescue Aaron’s other two friends they can switch between these characters to complete simple objectives and to defeat enemies. The party follows and supports the player in a squad-like fashion. To succeed in the game, the player relies on his knowledge of the world, its creatures, and the children’s special abilities.
Visually, the game pulls from such inspirations as Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and Little Monsters to create a playfully-dark world of nightmarish themes that are tempered with humor. Both character and environmental art incorporate elements of surrealism, including: warped proportions, improbable arrangement, strange juxtapositions (form vs. function, organic vs. inorganic, innocent vs. sinister), and symbolism.
Nightmare allows adults to return to their pre-adolescent years by giving them power over their childhood fears. Nightmare’s theme opens up plenty of avenues for humorous and nostalgic game scenarios. As we have seen with “Family Guy” and the success of “I Love the 70s/80s/90s” television shows (now on their 2nd and 3rd iterations), nostalgia is a very powerful draw. Also paramount is the concept of deep and wide gameplay. The controls and core gameplay are simple enough for a child to command, while the appealing world and humorous characters engage adults.