Niveus is a side-scrolling, horror-themed adventure game that incorporates the decision-making of games like The Walking Dead into its short, three-act narrative. The horror is very subtle, too. It’s carried in the omnipresent winds and crooked, bare trees, rather than jumping out at you. It’s mysterious and uncomfortable, and the camera’s uneasy wobbles give the feeling that the policeman you play as is being watched the whole time.
The hunter lived in a solitary cabin up in the mountains, so firewood has to be collected often, and hunting the animals and foraging in the nearby woods is the only source of food. You don’t really have to partake in these activities much as you’re only here to investigate the disappearance and get out of there as soon as you can. However, you do have to collect firewood to stay overnight, just after you’ve explored the nearby area, which is closed off by a river and the edge of a cliff.
The policeman whose role you take on is armed with a flashlight and nothing else, but that doesn’t sway him from heading out into the darkness of the cold night air after hearing sounds outside. Without spoiling too much (it’s only a short game, after all), you might become a little unsettled by something rummaging around the cabin and the policeman’s car, as well as the large footprints in the snow.
“Rumors of monsters lurking in the snow fill the pages of the local newspaper. Will the officer raise in rank or be forever forgotten from this world?”
The bear that stares at you at one point is similarly uncomfortable, and your thoughts will probably be filled with questions. Why doesn’t the bear come closer? Is there something you don’t know about that the animals do?
After you’ve done your investigation and reached the end of the third act, you’ll be presented with a screen showing you what percentage of players went with the choices that you did. I have a feeling that not enough people have played it for that to be working properly, though. So go and check it out and add your own choices to that screen. Niveus excels at being spooky without the need of having some monster or psycho killer jump out at you, and its plausible narrative events maintain its tone in order to keep it from moving into sillier territory.