Smart puzzle roguelike The Nightmare Cooperative releasing on Steam next week

The Nightmare Cooperative has come a long way since its clever browser-based prototype back in March . It's still clever, but now it's gorgeous too, boasting a lovely angular art style that fits the turn-based puzzling like a glove. This new version of the single-player co-op roguelike (I'll get to that in a moment) now has a trailer, along with a release date: Wednesday July 16th. Thoughts and moving images after the break.

First of all, here's what The Nightmare Cooperative looks like:

That 'single-player co-op' thing refers to the fact that you'll be moving two or more characters at once. For example, positioning your warrior to attack an enemy might move your priest closer to a trap—you need to be aware of the surroundings of multiple characters, although you can game the environment a little by for instance moving them into impassable objects, letting their teammates proceed unhindered for a bit. It's a strong idea to start with, and Lucky Frame appear to be making the most of it in the game's clockwork, procedurally generated dungeon.

I've played a little of this Steam version, and know that it's a challenging game. There's an interesting risk/reward system regarding the treasure: floors can be completed without acquiring any of it, but if you do choose to open the various stray chests, additional monsters or traps will be added to your current level. Proceeding deeper into the dungeon without these items will prove difficult, but then so will actually bagging them without your heroes turning into various piles of bones. Despite that, it's a pleasingly minimalist and easy to pick up game—I was reminded of the wonderful Desktop Dungeons.

The Nightmare Cooperative is out July 16th. You'll find it here when it goes live.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.