Neverending Nightmares has come a long way since its Kickstarter reached its funding goal last year. Part of its Kickstarter pitch involved a downloadable demo showcasing a bit of gameplay, but creator Matt Gilgenbach said that so many improvements had been made to the game since then that he is now embarrassed about that demo as he invites me to check out the latest build in a darkened corner of PAX’s indie section.

As Gilgenbach detailed when he first sought funding for the game, Neverending Nightmares is a product of his own struggles with depression. It's not be a literal representation of the nightmares Gilgenbach has experienced, but many elements of the game, like the general tone and the gruesome self-mutilation, are products of Gilgenbach’s personal struggles and dark imagination.

The demo begins with the protagonist in his bed. He awakes suddenly, gets up, and begins walking around. I stepped into the bathroom to find three recently discarded teeth tossed in the sink. The game is in black and white, but the roots of the teeth are red with blood. As I explore the home, I make my way into a darkened basement. When it becomes too dark, I am suddenly transported back to my bed to start over.

I take a different route and find a lit candle. Much like the blood on the teeth in the sink, it is a red candle making it stand out dramatically against the black and white background. With the candle, I am able to enter the basement to find an axe. I exchange the lamp for the axe (I can only hold one item at a time) and before the darkness entirely succumbs, there is a shot of the protagonist pulling a vein out of his arm in a grisly, unsettling display. I awake again in my bed, but the axe is now nearby which I am able to use to break my way through a previously blocked doorway to an attic.

In the attic, there is a woman swinging from the rafters having hanged herself. She awakes, her eyes strikingly bloodshot, and grabs me, squeezing me to death. Again I wake in my room.

The house has become increasingly disheveled, and now there are gigantic monsters with baby-like features roaming the halls. The only way for me to avoid them is to hide in closets as they pass. As I explore I come across a young dead woman with a knife in her belly. I pull the knife out and stab myself, and suddenly wake up as I have been through the whole demo, only now I am in a completely different room. It’s an insane asylum with padded walls and I can hear yelling and screaming, presumably from other other patients, when the demo ends.

Even in the crowded, loud show floor of PAX, Neverending Nightmares had a startling affect on me. It was a far more psychological fear than I have experienced in other horror games, made all the the more effective knowing how personal the game is to its creator. I asked Gilgenbach if developing the game has been helpful in overcoming his depression. While he said developing the game has been cathartic, he has been working on living with his depression rather than attempting to entirely overcome it.

Neverending Nightmares will be launching on Steam very soon, and Ouya, too. For more on Neverending Nightmares, head here.