The Nightmare Cooperative
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 8

A sixteen level rogue-like with small, screen sized levels might not sound like much, but The Nightmare Cooperative might just surprise you. There is a large selection of characters and controlling them all at the same time is certainly a unique, not to mention challenging experience. Learning how to play the game is a breeze, but truly mastering it will keep you busy for quite some time.

Gameplay: Simple to play, but requires more strategy than you might think.

Graphics: The vector art style is very distinctive.

Sound: The tunes are not exactly catchy, but very fitting

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

The Nightmare Cooperative

Developer: Lucky Frame | Publisher: Lucky Frame |Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Strategy |Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

When a small village experiences a bit of a financial crisis thanks to the frivolous spending of its Council, it falls upon the local heroes to go questing for cash. Fortunately, there are plenty of dungeons filled with ample amounts of gold, but unfortunately the resident monsters are not too keen on handing over the shiny stuff. The result is a strategic rogue-like title where you quest for gold, glory and most importantly, survival.

The Nightmare Cooperative is not your typical dungeon crawler, but then again, I didn’t expect any less from Lucky Frame, whose previous titles include quirky titles such as Gentlemen! and Bad Hotel. The game is viewed from an overhead perspective and each dungeon floor is only about half a screen wide, with the rest dedicated to the character portraits and other information. All you have to do is grab the gold that is either on the floor or in chests, kill or avoid the enemies in your way and make it to the exit alive. With the relatively small levels this sounds much easier than it really is thanks to one interesting twist.

You start the game with two characters, chosen at random from the available classes and have to control both of them at the same time. During your quest you can find and recruit two additional characters for a maximum party of four. However, when I say you control the characters at the same time I mean it literally. Every button press you make influences everyone in your party. This means that if you move right to attack an enemy that is threatening your ninja, you might inadvertently push your mage into an acid pit and impale your warrior on some floor spikes.

Movement is tile based and characters cannot occupy the same tile so you can forget about marching them to the exit in synch. Instead you have to plan ahead very carefully to avoid the many traps and strategically take down the enemies that are blocking the exit.

Since the whole point of the quest is collecting cold you might want to grab some along the way, but even this comes with a penalty. Each gold chest you open spawns more enemies, with the number on top of the chest indicating the amount. Since levels are already so cramped this can be quite risky, but as long as at least one of your characters make it to the exit you will advance to the next level. You’ll find health and action potions scattered about and dead heroes can be replaced with new recruits on some levels, but if everyone dies the game ends in true rogue-like fashion.

To give you more of a fighting chance against the enemies, each hero has their own special ability. For example, the warrior hits twice, the mage can perform a diagonal attack, the barbarian knocks monsters away and the priest can heal someone next to him. The bad news is that these special moves require blue action potions to use and if triggered all heroes on the level will perform their move. This can be a double-edged sword as triggering the healing ability of the priest might also cause your ninja to jump into a bad spot or waste the arrow of your archer that you wanted to save for an emergency. Overall, the special moves and the way that they are triggered as a group add a whole new strategic layer to the game.

Playing the game is as simple as can be as you only use the arrow keys and space-bar. This doesn’t mean that the game is easy though, far from it. Due to the permadeath you will have to restart from scratch each time everyone dies and you retain nothing from your previous runs. The levels are grouped into four themes, with four floors each and due to the random generation of these you can run into some very sticky situations. Collecting health and action potions can help your characters and there are some items to be found which grand special protection, but with no experience points, skill trees or character progression you will have to rely on your wits to survive. There aren’t a whole lot of enemies, but this makes it easier to learn their patterns and adapt your tactics. Some enemies wander aimlessly, while others mimic your moves or guard the gold. There are also enemies that can swap places with your character if they have them in their line of sight as well as ones that shoots in different directions. All these patterns and the fact that movement is tile based, with enemies only moving when you move can make levels feel like a game of chess at times. Just making a rush for the exit is a sure-fire way to get your characters killed, so it is better to take things slowly and carefully plan each move.

The visual style of The Nightmare Cooperative is not quite what one would expect from a rogue-like title, but it is quite nice nonetheless. Instead of dark, gloomy environments or retro pixel art the game features crisp visuals with straight lines and sharp edges. The audio is also quite unique and while the tunes didn’t exactly stick in my head after playing they do match the game quite well.

The Nightmare Cooperative might not have all the features and extras of more recent entries in the genre, but this means the game is ideal to play in quick bursts. There is no story to get in the way of the action and no complex menus to bog down your progress. Games can be won or lost in a matter of minutes, but it is the lure of the Leaderboards that will keep you coming back for more. Initially you might aim only to finish the game, but upon doing so and unlocking all the new characters you’ll go back and aim for higher scores.

Due to the difficulty level The Nightmare Cooperative can be a frustrating game, but I always found myself going back for more no matter how unfair things got. I have to admit that after dying very quickly during my first few tries I didn’t think that the game would be able to hook me, but this changed each time I progressed a little further. Eventually completing the game was immensely satisfying, as was going through it again with the new characters.

If you enjoy rogue-like titles, but want something that breaks down the genre into its most basic elements you will enjoy The Nightmare Cooperative. It’s not the biggest or flashiest game in the genre, but it has a lot of heart and packs a mean challenge.

System Requirements

  • OS: XP
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
  • OS: 7
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space

Related posts

Borderlands: The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned

Borderlands: The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned

The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned is a good example of how to do DLC properly. With some nice new areas, a new visual palette and an interesting storyline this should definitely not be missed. Zombies have been done to death before (pun intended) but Borderlansd proves that there is still some life left in the undead. Gameplay: A tighter story and lots of zombie killing action. Graphics: A completely new look and feel for the game. Sound: Good but would have liked to hear some new battle cries.

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is a thoroughly entertaining and very charming puzzle title that is suitable for players of all ages. The beautiful 2D visuals and excellent audio complements the addictive puzzle solving gameplay, which makes for a memorable experience. I would have liked to see a few more puzzles to solve, because the ones on offer are so enjoyable. This is the perfect game for when you feel like something relaxing and non-violent. Gameplay: The game is challenging and addictive without being frustrating or unfair. Graphics: Charming visuals with plenty of great touches. Sound: The soundtrack is great as are the ambient sound effects.

Dogfighter

Dogfighter

Its always good to go into a game with no expectations and be pleasantly surprised. Dogfighter is a highly addictive experience that will have you chasing rankings and achievements long into the night. A great game from a great indie developer. Gameplay: All the fun and maddness of a first person shooter but with added dimensions. Graphics: Stylish & detailed. Sound: Good sound effects but the limited music gets a bit repetitive.

Chef Solitaire USA

Chef Solitaire USA

Chef Solitaire is a very addictive and polished take on the genre that stands out even with the wealth of solitaire games available on the market. The basic gameplay is a lot of fun while the short mini-games make for nice diversions. The game also features more than enough rounds to keep players of all skill levels busy for quite some time. Gameplay: Very addictive and the added mini-games are a nice touch. Graphics: The restaurant theme is really nice and ensures plenty of visual variety. Sound: Great voice acting and the relaxing tunes never become obtrusive or annoying.

Horizon

Horizon

If you are new to the genre Horizon can look pretty complicated at first glance. This is one of those titles where playing the tutorial and checking out the manual is not optional, but essential if you want to get the most out of the game. It doesn't quite reach the heights of genre classics, but there is a lot to like and it remains addictive throughout. Gameplay: Appears daunting at first, but becomes more intuitive with extended play. Graphics: There are some nice visual elements mixed in with all the stats and charts. Sound: Atmospheric enough to suit the theme of the game.

Home is Where One Starts

Home is Where One Starts

Help a young girl explore the lonely countryside around her childhood home when she misses her bus to school. Although very short, Home Is Where One Starts is a captivating experience with excellent narration and interesting environments. The short length along with the absence of puzzles or action means it won’t appeal to everyone, but players who enjoy more relaxing titles like Gone Home or Dear Esther will feel right at home. Gameplay: The walking speed of the protagonist is a little slow and the gameworld small, but exploring it is interesting. Graphics: The visuals are quite beautiful, but some objects lack detail when viewed up close. Sound: The soundtrack is excellent and the voice acting superb.

Leave a comment

17 − five =