NOOZh by WANNABE
At one point or another in our lives, we have all had that dream of being chased by something horrible. For some these are once off occurrences, but for the less fortunate these types of nightmares can become a regular occurrence. Also, while adults can typically shrug off these dreams, it is often harder for children to deal with something so terrifying.
Of course, games about getting chased around by scary monsters is nothing new, but the team at Wannabe are not aiming for a typical 3D monster-fest. Their upcoming game, NOOZh, is actually based on the recurring nightmares experienced by the daughter of one of the team members. NOOZh is the name of the dark monster constantly chasing her around in her dreams.
Thanks to Wannabe we were provided access to a very early Alpha version of NOOZh and knowing the creepy real-world inspiration for the game definitely made playing it a lot more eerie. The game opens with a nightmare where players control the female lead. These nightmares take place in dark dungeons where players must guide the character towards the keys needed to go through doors. Apart from finding these keys there will also be puzzles to solve, which will allow the girl to complete the level and wake up. Unfortunately, she is not alone in her nightmares and the dreaded NOOZh can show up at any time.
According to the developers NOOZh has its own lore and players will be able to discover more information about it from various sources. In the game, it can appear in different ways and, thanks to its special AI, will use various strategies to make life difficult for players. While playing the Alpha version we encountered the NOOZh a few times, and these encounters usually ended in a chase where the protagonist awoke screaming from her nightmares when caught. It is worth mentioning that even in the Alpha version the sound effects are already superb and the scream from the girl gave us goosebumps.
Waking from the nightmare reveals the girls’ apartment where she lives alone. Here players will also be able to interact with their surroundings and the choices players make will apparently lead the protagonist down different paths. The Alpha version only hinted at the interaction that will be available in the completed game, but did feature one particularly bone chilling event that really caught us off-guard.
NOOZh features 2D pixel art visuals and the design of the lead character, as well as NOOZh, looks really good. Exploring the dark, nightmarish dungeons using only the light of the girls phone screen is a creepy experience and despite its slightly cartoonish appearance NOOZh is a chilling nemesis.
Wannabe appears to have some very ambitious plans for NOOZh, which is why they have turned to Kickstarter for funding. The team already dedicated more than a year to developing the game and judging by the Alpha we played there is certainly a lot of potential. With many horror titles relying on cheap jump scares and gore to unnerve players it will be interesting to see if NOOZh can shake up the genre. It is definitely a very personal project for the developers and we can’t wait to see them fulfill their vision.
The Kickstarter Page for NOOZh contains a lot more information about the game and goals of the developers, so check it out and make a pledge if you like what you see. Anyone interested in NOOZh can also use the links to the left to follow the developers and stay up to date.