Attention all dreamers, existentialists, and abstract thinkers! I’ve found a magnificent new (quasi-new) indie game for you to indulge in. It’s called Yume Nikki, and I know it’s a 2004 release, but bear with me as I explain to you why you need to download it. Constructed on the RPG Maker 2003 engine, this delve into pixelated lucid dreaming will leave you with questions and no answers.
You play as Madotsuki, a girl living alone in a tiny apartment with little more than a writing desk, a bed, and a TV with a game system hooked up to it. Madotsuki, as you’ll soon discover, is a lucid dreamer. By sleeping in the bed, you enter her dream world. By exiting the front door, you enter the Nexus, a small area containing twelve unique doors. Each of these leads to an area revolving around a different visual theme, and each area in turn leads to other areas of greater depth.
If you’re looking for fast-paced linear ass-kicking action, get out. Go. GO AWAY. This is non-linear, exploration oriented abstract where progress is defined by the player experience and the discovery of effects. There are 24 effects total, each hidden somewhere in the dreamworld. Equipping an effect causes Madotsuki to physically change in one way or another, such as turning into a frog or getting fat. Ride on a bike, wield a knife, turn neon… you get the idea. The goal of the game, if you could really say a game like this has a goal, is to collect all the effects, put them down as eggs in the Nexus, and then wake up.
I’m not saying a word about the ending other than that it suits the game perfectly.
Technical specs! Arrow keys move you, 1 activates an effect’s ability, 3 activates the secondary ability (if any), 5 drops the ability if it is equipped and if you’re in the Nexus, and 9 wakes you up if you’re sleeping. Space to interact with things.
Several technical issues I’ve noticed have to do with fullscreen mode. If you’re running fullscreen, you’ll probably get the black flickering visual bug. You can get rid of that by pressing F5 and halving the game size, or by pressing F4 to enter windowed mode. Also, I would not not NOT recommend alt-tabbing out of this game. It tends to cause visual bugs in the mouse pointer, which can only be fixed by restarting your computer. Final issue has to do with the community-dubbed Famicom World, that changes the entire look of the game. If you have all the effects on you when you enter, you’ll crash to desktop. Leave at least one effect in the Nexus to prevent this.
Downloading is fairly simple, though it’s best to make sure you’re getting Version 0.10, which is the latest. Just looking up “Yume Nikki download” should secure you a clean site in the first five hits. I recommend checking the Yume Nikki Wiki for the download, as that site is particularly knowledgeable and trustworthy regarding the game. Best news? Free to play! Here’s the site, in case you want to check it out: http://www.yumenikki.wikia.com/wiki/Yume_Nikki
The main thing to remember when playing is that you need to go in to Yume Nikki with patience and an open mind. Exploring subconsciousness isn’t something meant to be done with haste. It’s not about winning. Take your time, enjoy yourself. If you need some help moving forward, check out the wiki, but don’t let it do all the work for you. That’s all. No alternate review, because this type of indie game speaks for itself. Play it and leave a comment so I can know how much you like it!