PC Reviews

Lucid Dream Review: A Paranormal Puzzler

Lucid Dream is a narrative-driven point-and-click adventure game where you control Lucy, a young girl trying to save her sick mother before it’s too late. You’ll explore a variety of Lucy’s dreams ranging from floating forest worlds to Dali-inspired surrealist landscapes. But, as you travel deeper into her subconscious, you’ll learn of a harrowing tale presented by a cast of bizarre characters.

The gameplay in Lucid Dream consists of typical point-and-click adventure-style gameplay. You’ll select points of interest on the screen for Lucy to walk to, all while looking out for a variety of clues scattered throughout each world. These clues are sometimes easy to miss, but pressing the Spacebar will highlight the clickable items in green, making discovery easier.

Many items in the worlds can be combined to create something new that can be used to help solve a given puzzle. Often times, though, you’ll be taking items you’ve found along the way and placing them into the world or giving them to a character to progress to the next screen or area. The puzzles aren’t all logic-based, which is a bit of a letdown in a modern adventure game. Because of the vagueness to some puzzles, you’ll often resort to a trial-and-error approach. This includes trying to combine every item in your bag until you find a match, or mindlessly trying to drop every item in your bag into the world until one inevitably works. Some puzzles are just downright frustrating and make no sense, which leads to unnecessary fatigue in certain areas of the game.

Lucid Dream
You’ll encounter a variety of lush environments and otherworldly characters.

The best part of Lucid Dream is the art direction. The developers at Dali Games have created one of the best art styles in a modern point-and-click adventure. The hand-drawn look mixed with great attention to detail makes for a visually stunning game. Many areas are so rich with detail, you’ll want to reach in and grab items yourself. The otherworldly characters you’ll meet in the game are also fantastic looking, and mesh well with the overall strange and abnormal setting of the game.

Sound-wise, Lucid Dream delivers a great supernatural soundtrack. Each world is filled with music and sounds that reflect the setting perfectly. In certain areas you may experience slow, haunting tracks, while others opt for a more melodic approach. The game’s recurring theme is an eerie rendition of the nursery rhyme “Ring Around The Rosie.” It’s quite spooky.

As mentioned earlier, the game has a variable difficulty. For the most part, the narrative is straightforward, guiding you from one screen to the next. If you do find a specific puzzle to be unclear, or difficult, there is a diary that Lucy has access to featuring clues to each of the major story puzzles. These clues are timed, meaning you can only unlock them every so often. The game does encourage you to try and solve the puzzles on your own, but knowing the diary is available if you get stuck is reassuring.

Lucid Dream
Clues are hidden throughout each level for you to discover and combine.

Narratively-speaking, the game is a bit convoluted. It’s unclear just how Lucy is going to save her mother as you progress through the different dream worlds. Most of the characters met don’t serve too much of a purpose to the overall story, and you never really learn any backstory of these bizarre beings. The game deals with depression, loss, betrayal, self-discovery, fear and more, but falls short at the end, failing to deliver a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, Lucid Dream is an enjoyable, laid back experience. If you’re looking for a short narrative filled with a plethora of puzzles, then this game is worth a look. The game can be finished comfortably within about five hours. Unfortunately, there is not much to return to once you’ve finished, so don’t expect much replayability. The gorgeous artwork will have you captivated with each of the various dream worlds, and the music ties into the atmosphere extremely well. Besides the often-frustrating puzzle design, Lucid Dream gives you an interesting look into the mind of a disturbed young girl.

My name is Matthew Adler. I am a Freelance Video Game Journalist and also the Host and Creator of In Your Element: A Gaming Podcast.

In Your Element is a general gaming podcast with an emphasis on indie games. I feature a variety of different guests each week for discussion around specific topics. Check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major podcast services!

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