If you’re a point-and-click fan, it’s highly likely it was a LucasArts’ game which introduced you to the genre. This was the case for me and I’ve now played The Secret of Monkey Island so many times that I know the swordfighting-insults off my heart.
This explains why it’s almost guaranteed that whenever a new adventure appears on Kickstarter, it’s almost guaranteed that LucasArts’ releases will appear in the paragraph about the creator’s influences. It’s started to become a bit clichéd over the past few years and has caused me to think twice about backing certain projects. Perhaps I’m getting far too cynical in my old age but I can’t help feeling as though certain games are mentioned simply to secure pledges through nostalgia.
So why on earth did I decide to back Lucy Dreaming by Tall Story Games this month? The campaign page says it’s ‘influenced by classic 90s point-and-click adventure games’ and the promotional video features direct references to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Day of the Tentacle among others. Although I’d read several positive articles about the project, I was unsure whether to give it my backing – until I played the demo for myself and saw something which made me change my mind.
In Lucy Dreaming, players will take a brave step into the terrifying world of suburban middle-class Britain to help Lucy unearth the secrets of her recurring nightmares. Her subconscious is a rabbit-hole laced with intrigue and a cast of extraordinary creatures, and you’ll need to discover the power of dream control so she can finally break the cycle. Do you have what it takes to communicate with her dysfunctional family, untangle her repressed memories and bring an end to the nightmares for once and for all?
The demo, available for download on the Steam page, sees Lucy explain that she has been reading about something called ‘lucid dreaming’. The problem is though that recently her anxiety is so bad that it’s preventing her from even getting to sleep. Fortunately though, some suggestions she found on the internet may help her get over this – so it’s time for a trip through her house to gather items such as soothing lights, firm head support and a warm drink.
After leaving the initial scene in her bedroom and heading out onto the landing, the protagonist can look at a pair of binoculars on a bookcase. If you try to pick them up, she says in response: “I don’t need them in this demo. Kinda makes you want to back the full game, doesn’t it?” And yes, it did. There was something about this line which was endearing and plenty more humour within the demo which aimed to break the fourth wall in the same way the LucasArts adventures did.
The puzzles are exactly what you’d expect from a point-and-click and you’ll normally need to complete several tasks to fulfil an objective. They’re all logical challenges though if you get yourself into that ‘adventure’ way of thinking. For example, Lucy needs to get hold of some feathers to refill her limp pillow. There’s an item somewhere in the house that will help if you could remove its plumage – but first you’ll need to find the object which will enable you to do that.
Fans of the genre will be pleased to hear that the interface is reminiscent of the 1990s classics and will instantly feel at home when they see the verbs shown at the bottom of the screen along with the inventory. The graphics will also transport you back to the gold old days of adventures as they have that lovely pixelated quality which feels so nostalgic. I may have gone into Lucy Dreaming being doubtful, but by the end of my 30-minutes with the demo I was sold on its humour and visuals.
It’s only Lucy’s home which is seen in the demo and the Kickstarter video advises that it contains no spoilers for the rest of the game. But it looks as if the full release will also be set in the land of dreams, as a blog post on the official website from last year shares that players will ‘learn how to influence the environment and characters that manifest while you’re dreaming to build up your confidence, unlock hidden memories and solve puzzles between dreams and the real world’.
The project reached its £15,000 target within the first week and at the time of writing, an additional £5,000 has been pledged so far. This means that the first stretch goal has been reached and all characters will now be fully voiced in the English version of the game. There are still a few more days to go before the end of the campaign on 26 May 2021 so there’s a chance that we could see a mobile version and translations into other languages when its released around May 2022.
Check out the demo on Steam if Lucy Dreaming seems like your cup of tea (well, I did say that Lucy was searching for a warm drink). You can also find more information on the Kickstarter page and follow Tall Story Games on Twitter.