“I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole—and yet—and yet—it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life!” – Lewis Carroll
Developer: Asteristic Game Studio
Released: March 2015
Price: £4.79 (PC) £2.19 (Xbox)
Dreaming Sarah is a 2D, puzzle-platformer and adventure game, pairing a surreal narrative and tone with cute pixel art and characters. It is also a short game, taking me less than 3 hours to complete, including all available achievements.
Dreaming Sarah has a distinct aesthetic, the colours and style give the game a trippy vibe and the subject matter and environments get increasingly psychedelic. I encountered everything from a dimension full of eyes to a pink moon that appeared to have been claimed by Brazil.
The game feels very surreal overall, which I enjoyed, but unfortunately, this lack of logic spills into the gameplay itself. There is a lot of backtracking for items, going to and fro between areas and no real logic being applied to the solutions. This just leaves obscure answers with no real clues or reasoning to help you reach them. For example, while exploring a mouth (yep!) I encountered a bloody globule-like creature (maybe an ulcer?) blocking my path; I removed said creature by killing it with some sour orange juice . . .
My first impressions of the music were that it sounded like a kinda funked-up, trip-hop relaxation music that you might hear whilst having your chakras dry cleaned or your safe place Feng shuied! However, it wasn’t distracting or annoying and it fit well with the retro art style and the themes of the game.
Dreaming Sarah was a nice enough experience, short and sweet, but it really didn’t offer anything new. The puzzles were a bit too random for my liking and the story is mediocre to non-existent with a somewhat weak and overdone ending. You will not be surprised by any cryptic plot twists playing this game!
If you get it on sale or have a particular interest in the nonsensical adventure you may enjoy it but personally, I wouldn’t recommend buying it at full price. That being said, Awakening Sarah, a sequel, was announced with a teaser trailer last year and I hope that hindsight, feedback and experience will mean improvements on what I considered to be (minor) flaws.
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