Rarely if ever do hidden-object adventure games have such a deep and immersive story as that found in Lesta Game and Film’s Nightmare Realm: In The End. It tells the story of Emily, a girl of mystical legacy who is caught up in a mysterious realm that will not let her go.
Nightmare Realm: In the End’s story is full of twists and turns that keep you hooked. Towards the beginning of the game, Emily’s mother Kathleen ventures out of her home into a mysterious dark world that acts as a gateway between minds and dreams. It turns out that Kathleen’s entire family is in danger and it’s up to Kathleen to save the day. How on earth is she going to do that? Well, hey presto, here’s a magic board game that wants to help Kathleen through the dark magical world. The game provides you with a map and with details about what to do, as well as providing a ton of backstory.
Those who played the original Nightmare Realm game will remember it for its beautiful presentation and its rich and imaginative story. This sequel repeats the magic of the original game and takes it even further.
The story of In The End is even more imaginative than the first game. It expands on the lore that the fist game hinted at, revealing all manner of characters and creatures. Even if the animation sometimes feels a little weird (there are bizarre live action segments that don’t really fit), the presentation is still spellbinding. The environments are bright and gorgeous and the art is wonderfully surreal.
One of the nicest surprises of Nightmare Realm: In The End is its longevity. It’s a pretty difficult game with a lot of travelling and a lot of great puzzles to solve.
Perhaps the one weakness of the game is that, given the general depth, breadth and ambition of the title, the somehow shallow hidden-object scenes seem like something of an aside, rather than an integral part of the game. There’s the sense that nightmare Realm: In the End would be happier as a full-blown adventure game.
The gameplay is fun, but it’s a little uninspired. Most of the time you’ll be more interested in the development of the story than in the actual gameplay itself.
It’s a shame that the imagination that went into the story and the artwork isn’t shared with the gameplay itself. Nevertheless, however, there is more than enough here to please most gamers.
I have to recommend Nightmare Realm: In The End for its ambition, its presentation and its exceptional story, even if I do wish the gameplay could have packed more of a punch.
Overall: 4 out of 5