Nightmare Reaper Review 2022


Nightmare Reaper Review 2022

Nightmare Reaper is a game that just left early that I proudly label a “DOOMER SHOOTER.” A DOOMER SHOOTER, by my and many others’ definitions, is a shooter game based on the classic ultra-violent FPS DOOM, and yes, the all caps are essential here. Nightmare Reaper is so dedicated to the original DOOM format that it even imitates the art style, with every gloriously gory pixel looking straight out of the 1993 release.



I got into this game not expecting a lot of replayability, but it goes on forever. Forever, with the Chapter 3 update implementing a New Game + that allows you to repeatedly restart the game with progressively stronger weapons and enemies. However, even without a new game plus, I estimate most players can get about 20-40 hours of game time climbing through the nightmarish worlds, which is a steal for its $25 price tag.

In Nightmare Reaper, you play as the Patient, a woman locked away in a hellish asylum, though each level occurs within your nightmares. The game has three chapters, totaling 80+ levels, each procedurally generated, so it’s a different experience each time. And I do mean each time. When you die and restart the level, the map is procedurally generated again, changing the layout completely. Guns in Nightmare Reaper are also procedurally generated, which can spawn with different effects. You can have a regular shotgun in one level and later find that same shotgun, but it shoots fireballs. It reminds me of sort of the way Borderlands handles weapon spawns, but with minor visual change.



Only when you flip the light switch off and opt to interact with the bed does the screen dissolve and toss you into a dream state. Yeah, this dream is pretty much a nightmare from the start, with hellish imagery and disconcerting audio cues. Next, you start meleeing walls to progress and are awarded a small knife. At this point, things play out like your standard mid-90s first-person shooter, though with modern movement and other sensibilities. 

Killing enemies drop coins and potentially new items. These items can be used as weapons and are assigned item levels and attributes. Once you reach the end of one of these nightmare sections, you get a score screen right out of Doom and then are prompted to select the one weapon from the previous level that you’d like to keep. The drops are random, and most roguelike or RPG vets will quickly understand the itemization system.



Speaking of visuals, I love the visuals. Admittedly, the pixel art style isn’t for everyone. Neither is an excellent rainy day, hot cocoa by the fire, and a basket of kittens. The point is, you can tell me that you don’t like the graphical style of this game. I won’t respect your opinion.

It’s DOOM. I already pointed out that it looks like DOOM, but it’s important to emphasize how much it seems like DOOM without just being DOOM. Everything about how the game looks feels like a love letter to their (s)inspiration. It all feels the same, but it also manages to look like its own thing. The game maintains its’ own identity while also a tribute to a genre-defying franchise.

I can’t talk about a DOOM-inspired game without mentioning the soundtrack. The music in this game sounds like a nightmare, and I mean that in the best way possible. Please give it a listen for yourself, the music is by the talented Andrew Hulshult, who also worked on Bethesda’s DOOM soundtracks, and it encapsulates the game’s identity perfectly.

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