Bad Dream: Coma is one of the Switch eShop’s most recent entries into the point and click genre, and as such has a lot of competition against which it needs to stand out.
The bad dream of the title is a quite spectacularly messed up one, taking in a story that goes from finding a creepy abandoned robotic baby to an eerie hospital, heading off to a graveyard and who knows where else. The game is presented in an effervescent hand-drawn style, with a horror movie-esque musical background that provides for a really memorable atmosphere in each level.
The story is told across numerous chapters broken into different settings, with a little bit of backtracking here and there. Much like in any point and click fare, it’s all about finding the right items in one place and then using them in another. But Bad Dream: Coma forces you to spend a lot more time thinking about just how you use these items. There are three possible endings to discover; a good ending, a bad ending and a neutral one. On your first playthrough, you’re very unlikely to get anywhere near the good ending as you tap everything in sight with a view to figuring out how to progress.
But just tapping everything is not the way to play Bad Dream: Coma if you want to get the good ending. Rather than tapping on all the crows and bringing them to be bludgeoned to death, simply resist the urge. Rather than squishing the spiders in the cafeteria later on in the game, you can use a jar to collect them up humanely and then hand them to the chef to keep them as pets. The game keeps track of your good deeds, and certainly doesn’t tolerate any underhandedness: it’ll tell you if you’re a friend of the spiders and if the birds love you on a constantly updating achievements-like board you can access when you pause the game.
You can rule yourself out of the good ending as early as the opening stages of the very first chapter, so it’s always worth leaning back and double-thinking every decision. The developers are playing with the human psyche here, and are intentionally leading the player towards making the decisions which will ruin their chances of getting the good ending. You need to be pretty clever to overcome them.
The emphasis Bad Dream: Coma places on making intelligent decisions for the best rewards certainly does make the game stand out from its peers. Entertaining and atmospheric throughout, you’ll certainly remember playing it a year down the line. The endings, whether good, neutral or bad, aren’t really as satisfying as they need to be, however, and some of the decision-making might not be as logical as the player requires. But it’s good fun nonetheless.
Bad Dream: Coma
Bad Dream: Coma is a haunting hand-drawn point and click. Clever emphasis is placed on your decision making, though the logic of some of the puzzles isn’t quite as natural as it ought to be.