After a short, sharp teaser opening that I won't spoil, you find yourself on a train rattling through the wilds of some unlikely-looking forest. It's the perfect environment to get to grips with the control scheme. (You learn to crouch, incidentally, by ducking under the legs of some ballerinas practising in the corridor. Europe, eh?) But it also allows the developers to slowly mess with your mind as you journey further along the train, searching for your wife, while things gradually get curiouser and curiouser.

By the time that carriages are filled with splattered blood and there's a lunatic with an iron mask pulling the conductors to pieces, things have gotten pretty curiouser indeed, and that means it's time for a quick train derailing, followed by a bit of light platforming as you try to navigate carriage rooftops that are now tangled up in a swift-flowing river.

Platforming in a Kinect survival horror sounds like the worst thing ever - and I say that as a man who was once trapped in an elevator for an hour while the speakers pumped out Athlete songs - but it's largely painless with Rise of Nightmare's point-and-step scheme. Beyond that, it's into the woods and then on to that weird castle.

Rise of Nightmares is fairly gory, but there's an element of Looney Tunes to the whole thing. Hands are lopped off and axes go into heads while sexy zombie nurses are decapitated - this is all in a single cut-scene, incidentally - but the developers are in on the joke throughout. It's almost cute: reanimated corpses shuffle towards you with Dudley Moore haircuts, and the mad doctor argues with his wife on the phone as he carries out his inhuman experiments.

Meanwhile, although you can go wherever you want, the game's quite good at directing you through its stone-walled corridors and creepy torture chambers. There are gentle puzzles to be tackled, of the switching-on-generators-and-finding-keys variety, and enemies grow increasingly dangerous the further you progress, some spitting acid onto the floor, others coming equipped with weird metal arms and legs bolted on - perfect for channelling deadly bolts of electricity in certain environments.

It's not hard to imagine Rise of Nightmares working as a standard House of the Dead game, actually, but if Kinect adds anything, it does so by drawing you deeper into the experience. Weird as it sounds, when you're standing up and shifting around to move through the environments, it feels like the difference between watching a horror film at the cinema and going on a carnival ghost train.

I love ghost trains, and I'm certainly interested to see how Rise of Nightmares turns out. The control system may not be perfect, but it's both ambitious and helpful, while the game beneath it looks creepy and funny in equal measure.

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About the author

Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.

More articles by Christian Donlan