In Lucy Dreaming, you play as a young girl whose repeating nightmares send her on a murder investigation involving town secrets, strange encounters with residents, and some pretty insane dreams.
The game starts with Lucy experiencing a nightmare she has every night. She is falling through the sky for what seems like forever. When Lucy awakes, she decides this is the day she will finally try to rid her sleep of the nightmare. Before she can do this, however, she has to find her diary. This contains a to-do list, and is the basic guide for the rest of the game. She also needs to find the password to her computer, as she has an email she needs to open.
Once the diary is found, the game starts to pick up pace. In her diary, her first goal is to create a dream box, a psychological concept her father suggested. Things she adds to it will manifest in her dreams and help her face her nightmares. To create this, Lucy sets out on an adventure in which she explores her house and her town. Once she creates her first dream box, she goes to bed to see if it worked. She enters a new dream in which she is in a sort of comedy club, and has to make jokes to impress the judges. The jokes are ones you find in the real world, and therefore remember in the real world.
Once you find enough jokes, Lucy gets a good enough score, which helps her to find her computer password. She then leaves the dream and enters reality again, where she puts in her password and opens the email to a cryptic message of an old newspaper article about the murder of a town resident named Fergus Fig. This then sends Lucy on the quest to figure out who his killer was and what happened. The Fig family played a big part in the town, and the story of Fergus dying is believed to be that his brother killed him over disagreements about their family land. Lucy, however, thinks there is more to this story, and believes that it is somehow tied to her nightmares. The rest of the game follows her as she tries to figure it all out.
Lucy Dreaming is very easy to play, mechanically. To move Lucy, you click where you want her to walk. To interact with objects, you also just click them. At the bottom of the screen there is a “look at” button, a “pick up” button, a “talk to” button, and a “use” button. Depending on how you want to interact with something, or with whom you want to interact, you just click one of those options before interacting.
You can pick up items to combine and or use on objects. For example, there is a point in the game where you combine a tote bag with a stick, and another time where you can use a glass of water and empty it into a fish tank. Most of Lucy Dreaming, though, involves reading and finding clues to help you solve Lucy’s situation.
This is where the challenge of the game comes through. Lucy dreaming is very fun and tells an interesting story, but there are some parts where I found myself completely lost. You are given hints sometimes by Lucy, but some of the things you need to do are hard to figure out unless you go through every possibility; visit every area on the map, interact with everything you can, or talk to anyone you can find.
Especially during some of the dream sequences, there are moments where you need to change things in the real world, and then head back into the dream to see what’s changed and work from there. You can interact with your dream box multiple times, and adding different things either changes the location of the dream or who is in it. There’s a lot of thought that goes into solving different parts of this game, and so a walkthrough is recommended. However, I found that the game was still fun and I still enjoyed playing through even if I couldn’t figure some parts out on my own.
The style of Lucy dreaming is a 2D pixel vibe, and it’s very well done. There’s a lot of detail put into not only the story, but also the backgrounds and settings of every location in which Lucy finds herself. There are also a lot of references to different movies or books, which is always a fun element to any game. (It’s Ludo!)
The music is also nice and not distracting, and the characters are each unique and fun to look at. Their voices are also well done. Usually I don’t enjoy when games read to me, but I didn’t mind it with Lucy Dreaming.
Lucy Dreaming presents an in-depth and well-constructed mystery. With many twists and turns, it’s difficult to put down. Although some parts can be tricky to get past, it’s still extremely enjoyable. The 7 to 10 hour playtime is full of exciting things to uncover and, the game’s sense of humor and overall storytelling are fun and very well done.