Game Reviews

Nightmare: Malaria

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Nightmare: Malaria

Since developers can make money releasing free games and then asking players to fund their efforts through donations, it's hardly surprising that charitable organisations would see potential in the model.

Enter Nightmare: Malaria, a free game from Psyop in which you are gently prompted to donate to The Against Malaria Foundation every time you die.

And you'll probably be dying a lot.

Pass the tissue

The game is set in a mess of infected blood and brain tissue. You control a little girl seeking to rescue her lost teddy bears while avoiding diseased cells or malignant mosquitoes. It doesn't make much sense, but it's her nightmare, so bear with it.

In an attempt to digitally replicate the sense of struggling through bodily fluids, Psyop has made the controls deliberately clumsy.

And the environments themselves are squishy and malleable, yielding in unexpected ways as you walk around and full of currents that sweep you away should you step into them.

Itching for less

The result is a curious mixture of annoying frustration and intriguing challenge. It's surprisingly difficult for a game that's clearly intended to reach as wide an audience as possible. Suffice it to say, I often kept coming back for more.

Ultimately, though, there are too many irritations for it to qualify as taxing in a good way. The mosquitoes will leave their patrol routes and go in for the kill after a mere sniff of you, for instance. And the repulsively iridescent pus that swamps many levels proves fatal from just the slightest touch.

Given the immensely difficult nature of the game, the imprecise controls are simply unacceptable.

After playing through the game, I'd learnt enough about malaria to feel the need to stump up some cash for the charity. It'd be nice if lots of other gamers followed suit. You might, however, want to pass on actually playing the game.

Nightmare: Malaria

A mediocre platformer made for a good cause, Nightmare: Malaria starts out challengingly but quickly becomes frustrating on account of the maddeningly clumsy controls
Matt Thrower
Matt Thrower
Matt is a freelance arranger of words concerning boardgames and video games. He's appeared on IGN, PC Gamer, Gamezebo, and others.