Nightmare Reaper (Switch) Review

Self-described as a boomer shooter and a looter shooter, Nightmare Reaper is a retro-style FPS with rogue properties. If Minecraft mixed with Doom, you would get something pretty close to Nightmare Reaper.

Playing as an unnamed patient in a mental institute, the game reverts to your hospital room after each hellish stage. If the odd scratches on the wall, weird symbols, and screams of pain of this psych ward wasn’t enough, laying on your bed transports you to Doom-like first-person shooter levels. These procedurally generated stages grow in complexity and challenge each time your head hits the pillow. This is a long game too. In fact, it might be too long because the repeating gameplay loops starts to get tiresome and predictable after the first couple hours.

Although it gets same-y in time, the foundation is solid, fun, and surprisingly more enjoyable than I initially thought.  For the last couple years, I have exclaimed how tired I am of rogue games but this looter shooter proved me wrong. These are essentially new Doom levels and you never know what you are going to get. Although you start with a simple weapon, it won’t take long to find another gun, staff, shotgun, whip, or grenades to keep combat fast paced. Although ammo is limited, you’ll mostly have enough to get you through each stage without too much conservation. 

For the most part, the random stage design provides an interesting experience since it changes with each attempt. There is a focus on vertically too, as some stages requiring stair climbing or precision jumps to avoid hazards. However, there were times when I got stuck because I didn’t know I was supposed to kick down that wall that looks like any other tile. It was also unfair when all the enemies in the entire stage seem to hang out in that one room and attack all at once unfairly.  While not perfect, it mostly hits the nail on the head though.

You might find a half dozen weapons in any given stage but you are only allowed to retain one for the next.  Once I found a weapon that I liked, like the shotgun, I would only really experiment with others until I ran out of ammo. Since there are multiple weapon types, the whip is much different than launching magic blasts from the staff for example, I took me a while to gain the courage to try something new.

Leveling up is also presented uniquely.  The menu is a literal GBA SP system and it is possible to find rare game cartridges in select stages. When inserted into your hud, the player is transported to a mock Super Mario Bros 3 overworld map with platforming stages. It is super out of place and doesn’t make any sense, but I thoroughly applause this ridiculousness. 

There are some gripes, but they are on a minor side. The mini map, for example, is much too small with no way to adjust.  Although the control scheme is straightforward, there is no button map so it might take a few minutes to remember the controls after not playing for a few days. Each stage has secrets but they are nearly impossible to find because the tilesets look the same. The load times are also long and not animated. The music though, goes super hard and was composed by the same guy who worked on the Doom soundtracks. At times, I think the music actually goes too hard since it triggers when enemies appear but provides a false start when only a single enemy charges.

Nightmare Reaper is a pleasant surprise. As tired as I am of rogue games, I had a hard time putting this one down thanks to the fast combat, the interesting story beats, weapon variety, unique visual presentation with Gameboy Advance interface, and the insane amount of content. There is a lot of quality here and solid option when you just want to blast the crap out of something for 10-15 minutes at a time.

SCORE: 8/10

Also Play: Fashion Police Squad

Better Than: Pangeon

Don’t Forget About: Chex Quest HD

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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