01 October 2015

Dungeon Nightmares II: The Memory is the obvious predecessor to Dungeon Nightmares. The labyrinthian dungeon returns in the sequel, procedurally generated each go and never quite fair to terrified players. The goal of the game? Escape.

First, the positives. Coming from the graphics of the first game, The Memory has vastly improved its overall presentation. Though the skulls and a few other items still look a bit like someone trying to make a haunted house on a budget, the overall environment and creatures look fantastic. The dingy, dark levels all come together to create a sense of unease and tension. The antagonists are all admittedly very threatening and well designed as well.

The sound design is crisp and impressive as well. Each little noise is enough to make the player tense up or even gasp, in certain scenarios. Considering all of this game is handled by one person, it is nothing short of phenomenal for all of the attention to detail. The controls are nice and responsive as well, though there are still a few tiny bugs here and there - nothing a patch won't sort out. Alt-tabbing out of the game sometimes caused it to want me to start over, as an example.

Dungeon Nightmares II: The Memory does have quite a bit going for it and it is a game I can imagine a lot of people finding quite frightening. The effort and attention to detail put into it is something to be applauded by players, other developers or even just fans of horror.

With that said, the negatives: even with procedural generation at play with the maps, it can get a bit repetitive and annoying when backtracking becomes a necessity. Exploration and tracking your own movement is part of the game, so that isn't as big of an issue. The bugs are an issue, however, but again, a patch can fix those.

The only thing that detracted from the scariness was the actual scares themselves. They are excellent, in some places, but in others they become a bit 'too' jumpscare-stylized and take away from the mood and isolation the game is working so hard to make; unfortunate, for sure. The further into the game I got, the more the scares intensified and they were certainly startling in some cases. Personally, I feel like the build-up could have taken its time a bit more before the scares started rolling out.

Overall, this game is bloody good fun. It is just the right game for those looking to get into the Halloween spirit and I look forward to seeing what else the developer might offer.

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