Yume Nikki (PC) review
Some games resonate with us in ways that are difficult to articulate. When it comes to criticism, video gaming, like most other art forms, is like cuisine; there's no argument to be made for a quality of a dish that poisons you to death, but one may like an apple more than an orange, and one may not get the appeal of a caviar-based dish at all. Objective flaws and strengths do exist, but quality in relation to other works or a work in a vacuum of standards to be held to is something the consumer has some freedom to judge. On a rare occasion we are graced with a game that is unremarkable by most metrics yet unlike any other game out there. For many, a little freeware game named Yume Nikki is one such title, capturing imaginations and resulting in an underground cult status no other freeware has yet matched.
Yume Nikki -- Dream Diary in English, and not to be confused with the abominable Mirai Nikki series -- is a game with no traditional narrative. We are Madotsuki, a silent young girl who refuses to leave the confines of her claustrophobic apartment and thus has nothing to do but play games, gaze out the balcony, and sleep. In her sleep, we delve into the disturbing dreamscape of Madotsuki's troubled psyche. Here we see a freakish amalgamation of endless planescapes reminiscent of both real-life equivalents or utterly fantastic imagery evoking a mystical hallucinogenic quality, with bits of Escher and body horror thrown in for good measure. A foreboding Aztec hub area dares us to explore a host of strange subareas, from a vivid neon jungle to a darkened candle chamber littered with severed body parts. No goal exists; no explanations as to Madotsuki's horrific nightmares are placed front and center. In its simple pixels, Yume Nikki presents a tapestry of the psychedelic, and we behold in morbid curiosity.
Featured community review by Follow_Freeman (May 12, 2018)
When he isn't in a life-or-death situation, Dr. Freeman enjoys playing a variety of video games. From olden shooters to platformers & action titles: Freeman may be a bit stuck with the games of the past, but he doesn't mind. Some things don't age much.
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