nelse1.pngThere's been too long of a silence from Ivan Zanotti, the Italian developer best known for Imscared, a game that reconfigured the indie horror landscape and was the perfect antidote to Slender and its heirs. He's started a couple of other games since his last release (Collapse, Collide), but I know from personal correspondence that those projects were taking longer than expected and he hungered to release a new game. Nothing Else, which he describes only as "a weird game experience" is the thrilling fruit of this desire. It may not quite be another masterpiece, but it's a thrilling and satisfying excursion into nightmares, and it might leave you questioning the nature of reality just a little bit.

On the surface, Nothing Else resembles Collapse, Collide more than Imscared. Zanotti uses a 2-D profile view for most of the game, but intersperses it with some 1st person POVs. However, Nothing Else is not a platforming sidescroller; it is a deliberately paced horror-adventure with exploration and puzzle solving.

You walk with the left and right arrow keys and interact with things (examine, pick up, enter, etc.) by pressing Z. You will know you can interact with something if it is conveniently highlighted when you approach it. There will be some clues and puzzles that are presented in a first-person view, and you can interact with these tableaux using the mouse (and exit the view with Z).

In Nothing Else, you play a guy who just wants to read a book in bed and escape his homelife. In fact, the first puzzle is actually procuring that book. But instead of enjoying a story on your way to dreamland, you end up transported... somewhere else. The heart of the game is solving puzzles, so keep your eyes peeled for clues ingeniously integrated into the close-ups.

Zanotti's pixel art is elegantly simple and combines with the eerie music and disturbing scenery to create a splendidly creepy atmosphere. If you like adventure, horror, or the surreal blend that Zanotti has nearly mastered, then you should spend some time with Nothing Else.

Download Nothing Else for Windows. Italian and English versions are available.