Bad Dream: Coma
Developer: Desert Fox
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Website: ULTIMATE GAMES S.A. – Video Games Publisher and Developer (ultimate-games.com)
Platform: Xbox Series X (Also available for PC/MAC, Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 20/04/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Bad Dream? You Haven’t Seen One Like This!
I think most of us can agree that none of us like a nightmare in our routine of sleep. However, some of us might all enjoy a point and click game that mimics a bad dream. Bad Dream: Coma has been on the scene for quite some time originally launching way back on 9th March 2017. Bad Dream: Coma was developed by Desert Fox and published by Ultimate Games. Finally, the title makes its mark on the Xbox family of consoles. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be playing using an Xbox Series X.
Now, I’d say there is a real shortage of point and click games over the years especially in the console market. The only real big hitter sticking out in my mind is the Broken Sword series back in the ’90s. So I was intrigued to see if Bad Dream: Coma would scratch that itch for me. It is worth me clearing out of the way early on that if you do happen to play and enjoy this title then there is another feather in the cap with Bad Dream: Fever. After some research, there is no relevance between the two titles and they are separate in their storytelling and character models.
If you can picture the worst dream you’ve ever experienced. I’m sure we have had that sense of dread when we wake from them, the chills and the sweats. Bad Dream: Coma takes you on a contingent of ‘what the hell is going on?’ moments. Don’t let this discourage you from playing through this dark and eerie adventure though. It is compelling and engaging with some fairly complex puzzle solving along the way.
Setting the Scene!
Bad Dream: Coma sets the scene in the sense that you’re laying in your bed before the lights go out for the night. Then you, unfortunately, play out the literal nightmare you succumb to. The ultimate goal is to work through the nightmare to awaken yourself at the end, however, not all is so straightforward. I’ll touch on the graphics early on here and you’ll notice immediately that everything you see appears to be hand-drawn. If this is the case then I salute the developers here as not only is there some depth within the plot. As you’ll discover, there are also different outcomes and to blend this with these visuals is a real achievement.
Without damaging the storyline and outcomes for you. You embark on chapters that can take minutes or in my case hours to figure out. The premise is very simple; it is a case of go here, grab an item and see if it fits or works with something, with some back and forth along the way. The narrative is extremely minimal with some brief character-building moments. However, sometimes it is important to digest what it is they are talking about. Environments are quite predictable: you start the game off on a bridge, then progress to a hospital and on to a graveyard.
The main aim of each chapter is to find a way out of that area or to make amends with the characters. For instance, at the hospital, it is assisting a patient with no eyeballs, hair or ears. The aura is very messed up but at all times it made me want to figure out the next move. Do you unlock the next door and turn the corner? I was sucked in deeper and deeper.
Bad Dream: Coma is played out in a static first-person view state with a cursor that you can control with the analogue sticks to interact with objects or pick them up. Several items can be stored in the inventory and will dissolve away once you have found what these items can be interacted with. Some actions can have potential consequences, such as punching a crow to death could make for a bad ending to the game.
I feel this could be explained a little better as my instinct on my first run through was to punch the birds square in the face. Just some text on the screen to hint at what your actions could involve later in the game would have been warranted in my opinion but maybe this is all part and parcel of the mystery. Also, I guess this would encourage repeated run-throughs of the game for those who adore different endings.
To Conclude, a Happy Wake-Up Call in the End?
The most enjoyable part for me was wondering how to solve the puzzles using inventory-based moves. Whilst some of them become blatantly obvious to the naked eye, some of them involve some serious brainpower and thought. There are some fun factors thrown into the mix such as spot the difference moments. One that springs to mind is a character asking you to solve a few of these in return for an item. We all loved a bit of spot the difference as a kid didn’t we? However, you don’t realise how challenging it is until the pictures are thrust upon you. There are some pretty barbaric moments as well such as caving a doll’s head in to retrieve wires and cutting a person’s fingers off. Ever so strangely, this all makes perfect sense as you jump from chapter to chapter.
I had a great time with Bad Dream: Coma. It’s the unnerving and unnatural atmosphere with its gritty and gruesome hand-crafted and drawn out backdrops that make it compelling. The puzzles are intriguing and a real challenge which created a good fifteen hours for me to work through all of the chapters involved. I’m pleased that I dived into this one and I was honestly reeled in for hours. If you’re looking for a creepy yet casual point and click adventure then I urge you to consider Bad Dream: Coma.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase Bad Dream: Coma from the Microsoft Store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.