A great cause, but a frustrating game.
In an effort to spread the word about the horrors of malaria, Psyop Games has created Nightmare: Malaria, a moody and visually striking side-scrolling platformer where you guide a little girl infected with the disease through harrowing situations, while avoiding mosquitoes and collecting three teddy bears to complete each level.
Psyop has spared no expense in teaching players about the scariness of malaria, thanks to a vivid design. Stylistically, there are strong hints of Playdead Games' Limbo here, and this too is a game where one misstep can easily spell doom for your little girl. The audio shines too, thanks to a dark, atmospheric soundtrack blended with Susan Sarandon's uneasy voiceover. All things considered, you may well feel compelled to contribute to Against Malaria Foundation's worthy cause.
We know Nightmare: Malaria is supposed to be an unsettling game, but in pure gameplay terms it approaches borderline frustration all too soon. The controls are slippery and inaccurate, and as a result your little girl will die quite often. Tie all this up with a frustratingly tricky end-game and you have very little reason to see the game through to its finale.
As a message, Nightmare: Malaria succeeds commendably well, but as a gameplay experience it's a clunky platformer that few will have the patience to finish. If you're in the mood for a challenge, you might want to try it out, but otherwise we recommend making a donation to the AMF and playing something else from the App Store.