Jan 05th 2016

NOOZh; A Nightmare World

NOOZh; A Nightmare World

NOOZh is a storyteller/dungeon crawler that needs your support. The game focuses on the theme of recurring nightmares and their psychological affect on someone. The main character is a teenage girl whose dreams have become a nightmarish world inhabited by a mysterious creature that lurks through the shadows called NOOZh.

NOOZh has a simple idea; it is split between a girl’s nightmares and her day life. In the nightmares, your goal is to evade the monster and traps while solving puzzles to gather keys and going through doors. The other part of the game is the girl’s day life in her room. Here you don’t have to do anything, and can go back to sleep over and over again to try and deal with the nightmares. However, the room will reflect the psychological state of the girl, and things she does can influence her nightmares. For example, reading a scary story could change the look of her nightmare world, and adopting a pet could help her gain strength within her nightmare. It will not be obvious what actions you take will have an influence on your nightmares until you go back to sleep, but then it should become clear. So both worlds have an impact on one another.

There is an entire world of lore surrounding NOOZh, and there are scrolls within the girl’s nightmares that hint at the origins of the creature. There are also blogs within the game devoted to discovering the origins of the creature. Conspiracy theorists and scholars alike have written many different theories and knowledge about the creature. However, since this game has at least some basis in reality the question is whether the developers created all of this themselves, or if it really does exist.

NOOZh uses pixel art to convey the story, and the monster drew inspiration from the Miyazaki drawing style. The levels are procedurally generated each time so that you never enter into the same nightmare twice. “The levels are also designed to relate to different cultural references, being a certain author, movie, or play.” The music is also unique and designed just for the game. They were created in a digital orchestra style and will change small pieces and bits of them to fit the current mood of the game.

NOOZh features choices that let you thicken the plot, butwill not really affect the game. In the nightmares the only light comes from your phone. The monster, NOOZh will always chase you, but with his advanced AI he lives for the chase and will sometimes play hide and seek until he jumps right in front of you. A quick dash move can help you escape a tricky situation, but it will drain your stamina. Traps hidden throughout each level can hurt and even kill you. The game also features a unique psychological progress storyteller concept with narrative construction that only lets you move forward not back. The aesthetics vary greatly depending on cultural influences. There are also hundreds of puzzles with clues that can lead to exits or to dead ends. This is just the tip of the iceberg for features within NOOZh.

The game is currently seeking support on Kickstarter. Wannabe, an Indie game studio working under 646, is currently developing it. So, how does a game based on a creature inhabiting a world of nightmares sound to you? Do you think you'd get much sleep after paying it for a few hours?

Written by Spencer Havens who wishes all his loyal readers a Happy New Year.