Nintendo Switch owners looking for a dose of ’90s nostalgia have an answer in Nightmare Boy, set to release later this month.

Set to release January 16 on the Nintendo eShop, The Vanir Project’s title is one of many older indie games to find a home on Nintendo’s newest console. Unlike other titles though, Nightmare Boy stands out as a metroidvania platformer with hand drawn pixel art designs reminiscent of cartoons from the 1990s, and is lauded by the developer as a love letter to games from Europe’s Comodore Amiga.

A Matter Of Perception

Character designs are abstract and awash in color, with the title character Rolok rocking green skin, a bright red coat and a purple face mask. Enemies share the same aesthetic, with bright orange spider creatures lumbering through areas. Likewise, the world and its environments are abstract representations of nightmares, each with their own twists, quirks and secrets to uncover. One moment, players could be swinging and dodging through a forest full of zombies; the next, they could find themselves in a dimly lit arcade full of colorful monstrosities.

Bosses offer a similar variety. Some are hulking titans of terror, while others are collectives of smaller fears brought to life. Each requires careful thinking and precision to overcome, putting your reflexes to the test.

In addition to every feature available in the original release of the game, the Switch version includes improvements made through recent updates, including digital pad controls, improved game stability and patches for many major bugs.

While it’s certainly intended for a specific audience, Nightmare Boy stands out as a result. Where many titles seek to emulate older art styles, not many go for the strange and unpredictable look of a ’90s cartoon despite the wealth of source material available. How the game actually plays will still be a deciding factor, but based on the art alone, there’s plenty to love about this title and more than enough reason to give it a go on the Switch.

For more on indie titles getting a new life on Nintendo’s portable console, check out our thoughts on Blossom Tales and the upcoming Gunhouse port.

Keenan McCall

Keenan McCall

Keenan McCall is a freelance journalist with experience in a variety of areas, but for whatever reason, he decided to cover everything related to nerd culture. From games to comics, anime to figures, TV to books and music, he’s always looking for what’s new from the world of entertainment and what it means for the people who consume it. It should also be noted that his Twitter feed is less a series of insightful thoughts and opinions so much as it’s a steady stream of memes, references and cute animal videos.
Keenan McCall


A certified idiot and video game journalist. Former Assistant Editor @Twinfinite & intern @gameinformer. Sporadic freelancer.
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