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iPad Game: The Nightmare Cooperative Review
      #47133 - 10/10/14 03:16 PM

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. The Nightmare Cooperative describes itself as a puzzley rogue-like, which sums it up pretty well, with a few caveats.

Gameplay

You begin each game in a randomized dungeon with two party members (also randomized). Every time you move, you will move as a group. Swipe up, everybody moves up. Swipe down, everybody moves down. The only exception to this is when characters bump into obstacles that prevent movement. When this happens they remain in their square, even when interacting with things like chests and monsters. This little nugget of information is actually a pretty important part of gameplay, and mastering it will mean the difference between doing well and doing poorly.



As I said earlier, you are here for the gold, however, opening chests will spawn monsters, and getting greedy will kill you quickly. I learned this on my very first playthrough when I immediately opened three nearby chests and never made it off the first floor. With respect to the poet Robert Browning, a gamer's reach should never exceed his grasp. Your movement will also trigger enemy movement, although different enemies will move differently so pay attention as you play. Mastering the art of enemy manipulation is the second major gameplay component; ignore it at your peril. Although you start with only two party members, you will meet new potential members as you descend deeper into the dungeon. There are numerous classes, but you begin with barbarian, warrior, ninja, archer, mage, priest; and each has its own special ability. The mage shoots diagonally, the warrior hits twice, the barbarian knocks foes back, the priest heals party members, the archer shoots vertically and horizontally, and the ninja can pass through foes. Using these abilities correctly is the third component of successful gameplay. Don't get attached to any of your party members, though, because the fourth component of a successful strategy is the willingness to sacrifice the one for the good of the many. Whether it's maneuvering someone into lava or acid in order to get to the next floor or just leaving them pinned down by a horde of monsters as you bravely turn-tail and run away, be prepared to make some very difficult choices. Yes, this is what puts the nightmare in Nightmare Cooperative, and it's the reason you don't get to name your party members.



Graphics

While The Nightmare Cooperative's premise is dark, its look is not. Instead of spooky environments and disturbing creatures, you will find a very stylized design. Everything has a clean, yet hand-drawn look, giving it a distinct board game flavor. This board game vibe continues as you play thanks to the fact that nothing is actually animated. It works, but it could use a bit more eye candy.

Sound

The Nightmare Cooperative has sound effects on par with those you'd find in a good solitaire app. Subtle and understated, these sounds are clearly designed to convey information rather than immerse you in the catacombs. The music is pleasant enough, but I didn't leave it on for long because it didn't really add anything to the gameplay.

In-App Purchases (IAPs)


The Nightmare Cooperative has no IAPs of any kind.



Conclusion

The Nightmare Cooperative is a cerebral blast. Rather than adrenaline spikes, it delivers a satisfying puzzle experience wrapped up in clever rogue-like. Recommended for anybody who enjoys turn-based gameplay of any genre.


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 3 - hand-drawn look, but crisp and clean 2D sprites. Nothing is animated, though.
Sound: - 2 - Not much to write home about in the sound department.
Controls: - 5 - Swipe to move. What could be simpler?
Gameplay: - 5 - Unique puzzle game disguised as a clever roguelike. Infinite levels mean you will be trying to beat your high score for a long time before you get bored.

Playing Hints and Tips:

Use terrain to corral your party when possible. Proper use of special abilities is crucial to success. Learn the patterns of patrolling enemies so you can lure them to their death without having to fight them. Be prepared to sacrifice party members for the good of the group.



App Facts:

Developer: Lucky Frame
Release Date: August 27, 2014
Price: $3.99
Buy App: The Nightmare Cooperative

Reviewed by Tom Slayton








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