This is definitely one of the weirder games in my Gaming Adventure List.
This game is a rather odd, deeply disturbing, and definitely dark game called Bad Dream: Coma. This is from the Bad Dream series (Coma, Fever, and Stories) developed by Desert Fox. I also have Bad Dream: Fever, but if I am honest, I am not sure I will play that one. This game was not my cup of tea by a long shot – definitely not what I was expecting, if I even know what I was expecting.
According to the blurb on both Steam and GoG (I got my games on GoG, by the way) – Bad Dream: Coma is a point-and-click adventure game with a unique minimalistic art style. The game takes place in a surreal and disturbing dreamland where everything depends on your actions. You can’t die, but you can suffer greatly.
And suffer you do. The game starts out only slightly weird… you get told to sleep well, and the lights go off…
It only gets weirder and darker from there.
Just a word of warning – there are several ways to play through the game, and every time it’s slightly different, depending on your actions (right from the start!) and there are multiple endings.
Another set of warnings – First, the game’s art style is very minimalistic and almost “dirty” (in terms of cleanliness not sordidness) which can make the disturbing imagery even more jarring. Second, the game’s story is very dark and twisted, and it deals with some very heavy themes, such as death, loss, and mental illness. Third, the game’s gameplay can be incredibly frustrating at times, which can add to the overall sense of unease, as things will break or disappear or be used for something other than what they should be used for. I also didn’t like the underlying … violence? Not even sure that’s the word I want here, but it’s a strange undercurrent, and I really found it unsettling.
The game is divided into four chapters, each of which is a different dream. In each chapter, you come across strange and disturbing characters and situations. This is not a hand-holding game. You will definitely need to have your wits about you, and think outside the box, or, in same cases, incredibly literally. Every “scene” has multiple puzzles, and some can only be solved by solving another from a different scene, using items you got by solving another puzzle in another scene. My TBI-brain struggled sometimes with holding on to multiple “thoughts” and steps at once (do this to get this, but do this first to get this to get that, to go back and finish that first one) but I’m sure it would be simple for anyone who can multitask.
Each chapter is represented by a different color: red, green, blue, and black. The color of each chapter represents the different emotions that you will experience during that dream. The game is full of symbolism and hidden meanings. The game is designed to make you think about your own dreams and your own subconscious. Clearly, this is not something I was very comfortable with, and the intended “uneasy” feeling definitely hovered over me the whole way through, and with each try.
What I worked out by playing is that you are a patient in a coma, and you are experiencing a series of disturbing dreams. The dreams are all interconnected, and they all represent different aspects of your subconscious. I’m not sure if these are a reflection of what is going on in the waking world, or just something that’s crept into your mind due to being in the coma.
I played through the game 5 or 6 times, reaching various stages in each play through. On my first play through… I lost my fingers on my right hand… so I cut someone else’s off and glued them to my own hand. That was probably the moment when I thought, “eh, I don’t know if I want to play this game anymore…”
The game is full of surprises and twists, and each scene is designed to make you feel uncomfortable and uneasy, and it definitely worked. If you are looking for a challenging and thought-provoking game, with a very dark, disturbing theme and style, then I would definitely recommend giving Bad Dream: Coma a try.
Bad Dream: Coma is a unique and unforgettable experience – and not necessarily in a good way. It is a game that will stay with you long after you finish playing it. Like the bad taste in your mouth from a bad apple, or an overripe orange. *wrinkles nose*