Sunday, 15 December 2013

Yume Nikki

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.5

(+) Pros: - Vast world for you to explore, - Behind each door in the dream world lies completely different and varied worlds, - Can be scary, creepy and ridiculous all at the same time, - Freedom to explore the areas at your own accord with no restrictions or hand holding, - Plenty of item effects change the gameplay drastically, leading to Easter eggs and plenty of hidden events, - A lot of content overall, with the time taken to find all items added in.

(-) Cons: - Story and ending is purely speculation based, - You may find yourself going in circles if you have no clue what you're doing.

Gameplay time: 10-20 hours (more if you want to do absolutely EVERYTHING in the game)

When it comes to pixel horror games, I've probably already played the best that the genre has to offer...that's what I thought before playing "Yume Nikki". I never did expect it to be better than "Ib", which was a masterpiece of a game, but I also never expected it to top other great games in the genre like "The Crooked Man" and "The Witch's House". However, that was not the case. "Yume Nikki" was different, WAY different from ANY of the pixel horror RPG maker games that I've played. Its massive, its overwhelming, its dark, and you'll never know what awaits you behind a door. There is no hand holding whatsoever, and you're thrown into the fray right off the bat, you will soon feel desperate trapped in the world of Madotsuki's dream, but you'll also feel intrigued. Intrigued to explore another area that you've yet to discover. This is "Yume Nikki", this is the very definition of the word "Dream", because you'll never know what's in there.

Story? Pah, there is no story in "Yume Nikki", which is another awesome and unique thing about it. Other pixel horror RPG maker games have always had deep stories that tried to engross you, but "Yume Nikki" is different. It depends on its MASSIVE world to suck you in, which it succeeds in doing. But because the game eventually ends, there clearly is something going on, just that the game doesn't explain anything WHAT-SO-EVER with text, so its highly speculation based. You just have to know, you're playing as a girl known as Madotsuki who's eternally trapped in her dream.

Welcome to Madotsuki's room.

The game flow of "Yume Nikki" is ridiculously simple, though you'll spend a lot of time trapped in this game flow. You start off in Madotsuki's room, and there's only 2 things you can do. Either you play on her NES and get a stupid mini game, or go to sleep and dive into her dream world, the meat of the main game itself. While in the dream world, your purpose is to visits the many different realms in the nexus, the center of the realms, and look for items. Looking for and finding all 24 items will  officially mark the end of the game, and you can choose to either end it, or continue exploring the realms of your own free will. The world is, ridiculous for a game of this genre. Its bigger than any of the pixel horror RPG maker worlds that I have experienced...without a doubt.

So the world is huge, so what can you expect of this huge world. Having a huge world in itself would be a demerit to the game if there was nothing to look at, or if the game itself had pretty boring or repetitive environments. Well, in Madotsuki's dream world, in the nexus area, there are 12 doors to 12 different realms, and that goes without saying, that there are 12 different locations in this game. 12 locations is a big deal, and to make it even more ridiculous, these 12 locations are different from one another, and as you explore deep into them, you discover even MORE areas from within these initial 12 realms. There's a door that leads to a forest, one that leads to a snow area, one that leads to a completely dark area, one that leads to some disco floor, etc etc. There's a lot to see, and there's more to see beyond these areas, which makes exploring the dream world exciting and fresh as step into each new door.

F**k the Numbers world. Why? I hate math.

"Yume Nikki" is classified as a pixel horror game for a reason, because for real, there are plenty of creepy moments in the game. Just look at this image above of the numbers world, if you ask me, I wouldn't want to go into that door. There are plenty of disturbing imagery in this game that can just be downright shuddering. There are no plain jump scares, but there are plenty of moments that just make you go "f**k this place", and you'll find yourself skittering away quickly. Its all in the atmosphere, and its easy to find yourself creeped out. There is no way to die in this game, but the Toringen serve as enemies that chase you all around. These are disgusting looking bird women that just want you gone...and well, honestly you'll just run like the wind when one's after you.

As mentioned earlier, 12 realms that open up into more areas that all link with one another sounds like an insanely big world, which it is, mind you. The beauty of "Mirai Nikki" is that the game never holds your hand. From the start it just throws you off into dream world, and you're left to fend for yourself, in front of 12 intimidating doors. You'll never know when to enter a door, hell, you won't even know where to go to find items, you'll get lost, you'll feel despair, and you WILL be hitting F9 COUNTLESS times to get yourself out of the dream world. But that's also part of the experience, you get to go where you want, see different things, adapt to the area, go to new areas and see new things, and much more. There's no knowing where you'll end up or what you'll find, and that is just exciting in a way.

What da fark?

The purpose of the game is to collect items within Madotsuki's dream, and there are 24 items overall. Items, when used, will grant a special effect to Madotsuki. Only 1 item can be used at a time, and the item effects vary greatly from one another. Some are purely there to change the visual around Madotsuki in some stupid way, but some are essential in opening new paths to exploring new places. Items like changing your hair color are just to change your look, and items like the Cat item will turn Madotsuki into a Cat girl, then USING the effect of the Cat girl Madotsuki will attract enemies to her. Then there are those items that allow you to change the environment drastically, like the Umbrella which magically spawns rain to put out fire, or Yuki-Onna, to make snow fall. Most of these items may be used for fun, but some of them are needed to get other items or unlock secret Easter egg events which are pretty awesome (I love the Mars event).

With the time frame you will need to get used to "Yume Nikki" as a game overall, you'll find yourself to have invested a lot of f**king time into the game if you decide the play the game without any help or guides. You'll take a good 4-5 hours getting into all 12 realms and seeing what they have to offer on the exterior, you'll take a couple hours more to find your first handful of items, you'll take another couple hours to actually memorize the layout of the realms, then from there, you can start mapping out these areas and start looking for the items that are really hard to look out for. I took a good 12 hours plus to find all the items WITH help online, and about another hour more to look for all the weird ass Easter eggs, once again, WITH the help of a guide.

If I had a dream of walking down an endless flight of stairs
with hands reaching out of nowhere, I'll shit myself.

Its hard to find anything bad about "Yume Nikki", being the game that it is. For one, the most obvious "negative" about the game is the fact that it doesn't have an obvious story to tell. You can piece things here and there together, but again, its all speculation. We'll never know who Madotsuki is and what kind of end befell her, its all speculation, there are a ton of theories on the Yume Nikki Wikia, but then again, take it all with a grain of salt. Another thing is the fact that you'll get lost SO easily. If you're a hardcore gamer, you won't mind this so much, but many people will resort to an FAQ really quickly, because its so easy to get lost and the game never holds your hand AT ALL. You could say that this was the first "Hard" pixel horror RPG maker game I played.

"Yume Nikki" is definitely one of the most unique and interesting experiences I've had in awhile. Its hella weird, its ridiculous, and I haven't seen anything like it in the realm of pixel horror RPGs. If you thought you've seen it all, you've never seen "Yume Nikki". Even if you're a fan of the more story driven, puzzle based experiences, this is still one you have to try for yourself.

Happy gaming!