Yume Nikki comes from the Japanese developer Kikiyama and is a horror adventure developed with RPG Maker 2003. While it has few actual RPG elements this software has long been a popular option for this indie genre with Yume Nikki offering a similar intriguing surrealistic adventure to others in the niche.
The game follows a reclusive teen named Madotsuki as they travel through her strange dreams that are filled with all sorts of horrific and surreal scenes. From large monsters to strange alien looking objects the game definitely has all the oddities one could expect and beyond. Building an impressive atmosphere despite the basic game design is no small achievement and one that constantly delivers in Yume Nikki across the several hour long adventure.
Beyond these dreams players can also explore her apartment although there are few things to interact with here outside of the TV and a dream diary that also serves as your save point. Returning to the apartment also serves as your safe zone with players able to pinch their cheek during any dream in order to wake up, this mechanic also ensures that the game does not have a game over screen with failure in levels generally waking the player or forcing them to wake themselves up by getting stuck in a room with no escape for example. Mechanically these development decisions provide a great flow to your adventure with it feeling like a continuous story where similar titles suffer from stop start gameplay when you fail.
While players are free to explore and set their own goals many focus their attention towards the adventures within the more than a dozen different and unique dreams worlds with the objective to acquire 24 objects, referred to as effects from interacting with the world. During this process you’ll also uncover all manner of strange situations that will prompt you to think twice about what you are witnessing. Without dialogue it can also feel lonely although you’ll encounter a huge range of characters that often only adds to the mystery of the world.
Effects are not only collectable but serve a secondary purpose by allowing players to chance their appearance and some come with bonus additional actions or animations. One such example that is found early on in your adventure is the frog that allows players to transform into a frog that has the benefit of allowing you to move through water at normal speed. Players can also activate an action where they hop like a frog although this action does not have a gameplay benefit.
Complicating your collecting of effects further are events which ensure Yume Nikki is more than just a walking simulator and are split between gameplay impacting events and cutscene events. While many of these occur based on a trigger from the player a number have a random chance to apply that make them particularly difficult to locate. The way that Yume Nikki makes you question every action you take and your surroundings constantly is its greatest asset though and one that continues to encourage you forward through its unique surreal adventure.
- A freeware surreal adventure that explores a dream like world full of mystery that originally released in Japanese before being translated to an English version.
- Explore over 12 dream worlds to collect 24 objects (effects) by exploring and interacting with the world characters.
- Utilise your unlocked effects to change your character appearance while providing unique effects and actions.
- Encounter a range of triggered and random events that build on the unique atmospheric adventure.
- Pinch yourself to escape the dream world and return to your safe apartment before adventuring again.
Review Platform: PC