Bad Dream: Coma – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Indie, Horror
Developer: Desert Fox
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Platform: PC, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PC

Bad Dream: Coma – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: The horror atmosphere and how choices really impact your playthrough
Bad: Some puzzles can be tedious or confusing at times
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Point and click games, a staple of the gaming genre, have been exploring alternative forms of art in gaming for a long time. They are not so much about explosive action or realistic scenarios; they are all about the situation that is presented to you, fleshed out in dialogues that tell an interesting story. Last but not least, a point and click game is all about the player’s decisions. What you do matters; and in Bad Dream: Coma, what you decide can have dire consequences.

Story

Bad Dream: Coma starts with a scene that focuses on your feet sticking out from under the cover. It’s night and you’re going to sleep, and then, as you might have guessed, you wake up in a bad dream. Except, it’s a really, really bad one this time; one that forces you to roam a nightmarish world that sometimes feels like a dream within a dream, playing on the ideas of inception (such as the game within the game that you experience in the Hospital sequence).

Your goals vary depending on where you are, what you’ve got as equipment, and what your decisions were that led you to this moment. They might be something as innocent as helping a kitchen lady get rid of some spiders, or something much grimmer, such as recovering missing limbs. Maybe you will be able to end the surreal nightmare, or maybe you will plunge yourself deeper and deeper into it. It’s all up to you.

Graphics

Bad Dream: Coma is a 2D animated point and click game with a very minimalistic art style, one which perfectly serves the creepy purposes of the game. It explores a low saturated palette of colors dominating each scene, and gives it the necessary nudge into the surreal world that composes the game’s overall atmosphere. The resulting feeling of dread is disturbed only by the splashes of bright color purposefully left on details, mostly using red, the vibrant color of blood and suffering.

Sound

The game’s ominous soundtrack is incredibly on point, combining an unsettling melody with surprise high pitch sounds in key moments. This disturbing music, together with the funny effects produced when you touch anything in the scenario that is not directly relevant to the plot, result in a really atmospheric experience, guaranteed to give you the chills.

Gameplay

In Bad Dream: Coma you play your way through 2D point and click scenarios, exploring what items you can and cannot use, and how to use them. There is no big or clear objective (other than perhaps waking up from this nightmare); rather, every scene is a challenge to solve on itself. There are three possible endings to the game, and they all escalate in gravity. You can end your adventure with the least horrible consequences possible, if you choose wisely, or suffer a dreadful fate.

You can monitor how your decisions are affecting the game by consulting your State, which will show you if you are currently Good, Neutral, or Bad. There are some tips at the end of each sequence as to which decisions caused you to be in your current predicament. As you progress through the game, the choices you make will influence what outcomes you will face, and both the characters that you interact with and the puzzles you must solve will change.

Sadly, you cannot change your personality inclination once you have progressed through an auto-save point, which means you will have to restart the whole sequence if you want to change directions. It could seem an oversight, but it is definitely intended to make you feel the full weight of your choices, and why they matter (contrary to a lot of other games that advertise “free-will” while the plot remains equal regardless of your decisions).

Living the consequences of your actions makes you want to experiment with different outcomes, wherein lies the greatest strength of this game: its replayability. The overall gameplay does not last very long if you worry during each sequence, but if you really want to get to experience the game’s little oddities, you have to play it multiple times, in different ways (for example, to find all its trophies).

Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what you need to do in each scene, as little details are easy to miss, and they might change over the course of the game. This means you will encounter puzzles that can become somewhat tedious, requiring you to track back and forth in the entire map sequence, looking for that one small piece of equipment you need to unlock the path forward. Still, there is a certain charm to the extreme importance Bad Dream: Coma gives to details, and this really is the price to pay if we also want that high degree of replayability we mentioned, through puzzles that are clever and not always straightforward.

Conclusion

Playing this unusual point and click game can certainly be a disturbing experience; and one that is not fit for the faint-hearted. Nonetheless, if you are into horror, gore and gritty art, you will find some moments of brilliance in Bad Dream: Coma, where changing the smallest of details in your actions brings unexpected (sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying) consequences. The game’s description on Steam is quite succinct, as if its developers expected the game will speak for itself. And, honestly, it does just that, especially since its current levels have been released in the past as stand-alone parts of the “Bad Dream” series, and they were already well-received by then. Their compilation into a coherent whole makes for a very unnerving and interesting experience we can definitely recommend.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Bad Dream: Coma – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
ChiChi


Freelance writer and translator who likes to feed in her free time. If you'd like to chat, send me an e-mail to ritajbp@gmail.com!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.