Nightmare Reaper review

Nightmare Reaper is a new first-person shooter with a retro twist from Blazing Bit Games. This is a homage to old school first-person shooters like Wolfenstein, Quake and Doom by mixing the retro look and feel with more modern concepts like rougelike elements. The end result is a fun, frantic shooter which gets me nostalgic while offering up a bloody challenge at the same time.

One of Nightmare Reapers best qualities is the gameplay. There are a huge array of weapons to use whether that be classic guns (pistols, shotguns and many more) or you can also pick up knives, arrows and even magic books… and that’s just the start of it. Each time I play the game I feel like I pick up new weapons, it’s constantly throwing in new gameplay elements for me to try.

Nightmare reaper is also very atmospheric. You play as a patient in a psychiatric hospital. You are stuck in a room and you can hear unsettling screams and shouting going on outside your room. You are free to walk around and interact with some of the elements in the room, read the scrawls on the wall or bits of paper, you can flick on and off the lights, plus you can get into bed. This is where the action begins as you delve into the nightmares. There are moments in the game which made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, whether is was a blood curdling scream, or just a sense of being trapped in a small room, unable to escape.

Each time you start a level the layout, enemies and items feel like they are randomly generated, meaning no two playthroughs feel the same. There are three chapters of the game to play through, and as you make your way through levels things get progressively harder. You have your standard enemies which will run and jump towards you, but then you have tall and imposing enemies with huge health bars, who are much harder to stop in their tracks. As you mow down enemies you collect coins and other loot, similar to more modern day looter-shooters. There are also loot chests dotted around the map which you can open offering up other weapons and items. As you progress through to the next level you can select one item to keep, which makes starting the next level slightly easier than before.

The moment-to-moment gameplay in Nightmare Reaper feels good, the weapons are all solid, there’s also some platforming elements in there too. I’m a huge fan of shooters from this era, and it’s nice to play something that feels like Wolfenstein, but with modern gameplay features like loot drops, randomly generated levels, and a decent inventory system.

Both the graphics and the audio are something to celebrate in the game. The graphics are retro inspired, but they have that modern 2.5D feel to them. The environments and enemies are varied too, offering up plenty of new things to see and shoot. The audio is very atmospheric, which at times made me feel quite unsettled in a good way. I think anytime a video game can ilicit an emotional response from someone that can only be a good thing, and the audio has a big part to play here. All that plus a great metal-inspired soundtrack to accompany you while you are mowing down various enemies that get in your way.

I’m mostly positive on the game, and I’d recommend it to other shooter fans. While the weapons are varied, the upgrades didn’t always feel like they were making me more powerful and left me feeling a little confused. Also, while mostly smooth, running around the playspace for long play session can start to overload the senses. These are small gripes though, in what is an otherwise really entertaining game.

Nightmare Reaper is a fun and gory trip down memory lane. It takes me back to playing Quake at LAN Parties, plus adds in some modern convenience for good measure. I’m a big fan of rougelikes and this is a new twist for me on the genre and I think Blazing Bit Games have done a great job with the 1.0 release. I hope the developers continue to work on the game post-release to work out the minor glitches, but if you are a fan of retro shooters, then I think you should definitely check out Nightmare Reaper.

Developer: Blazing Bit Games
Publisher: Blazing Bit Games
Platforms: Windows
Release Date: 28th March 2022