Title: Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow
Developer: Frozen Line
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Ravenage Games
The root of companionship is the recognition of mutual need. Throughout Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, the bonds you have and create with others are necessary for growth and accomplishment. You play as a young lad named Griffin alongside his teddy bear, Birly. Together, you must navigate through these surreal landscapes as you go on this magical adventure. While the puzzles and environments are gripping and mesmerizing, this journey’s path has its fair share of rough patches.
The opening sequence rushes you into a feeling of suspense and thrills as you must escape a menacing hand that’s trying to grab you. As you escape, you start to learn the controls of both you and your companion, Birly. Once you break free from the arm’s potential grasp, you find yourself in a very detailed house and navigate your way through it. While a narrative presence isn’t felt or seen for a while, it’s not necessary as you become more enamored with the atmosphere and environmental details.
Seriously, there was no holding back in giving each level a wide variety of fine details to stare at. Whether it be a maze of pipes in the background, the lush mountain landscape of the outside, or a decayed floating castle, there’s plenty to keep you visually stimulated and immersed in this dreamlike world. The introductory stages had a very similar aesthetic and vibe to Little Nightmares, as the various rooms felt large in scale in comparison to the characters. In addition, there is a haunting ambience as you avoid the gaze of a giant knight or navigate through level hazards.
The unsettling aura continues onward as you encounter terrifying spiders in a glimmering forest. These large spiders are relentless in their hunt for you and the intensity builds up extremely quickly as you try to flee. It was at this point that I got really hooked into the title’s worldbuilding, as I have a fondness for thrilling adventures. However, the tempo changed in an unexpected manner.
While the puzzles and platforming elements were consistently engaging, the shift in tone did catch me off guard. After completing the unsettling trials inside the forest, you transition into a magical and captivating world on the outside. In the grand scheme of the narrative, it has a sensibility to it, but it nevertheless felt slightly jarring. I was eagerly expecting a blood-tingling and ominous experience for the remainder of the playthrough. Yet what I encountered felt far more light-hearted and bright in comparison. The latter portions were pleasant, but the unexpected change in dynamic left me somewhat baffled. In fact, throughout this venture, I felt the pacing was inconsistent and disjointed.
Despite that, it was difficult not to be engrossed within this meticulously designed world. Not only were the visuals magnificent, but the soundtrack was captivating. Though there isn’t a strong plot, the subtle moments of exposition have an impact due to the dynamic soundtrack. To add onto this, any instances of tension and conflict have a fantastic increase in melodic cadence. The lovely piano tunes dispersed throughout the rest of your trek felt soft and sweet. The audio elements were effective in having me become more connected to the world that I was exploring.
As briefly mentioned prior, the majority of your gameplay will consist of puzzle-solving and some platforming. Most puzzles are simple to figure out, but some may have you scratching your head and ruminating as to how you should move forward. While Birly is your main companion throughout your journey, you also come upon other characters that have a big impact on your adventure. You will have to utilize your companions to make any progress forward. For example, you may need to utilize Birly to pull a switch in conjunction with the switch that you’re pulling to open up a secret passageway. There is one section with a bit of “combat”, but it’s pretty minimal and forgettable.
Though the level design is superb and chock-full of interactive puzzles, there is an aggravating issue with the lack of precision. There are plenty of moments where you have to navigate through precarious situations, but the slippery and floaty controls made it tough to get through. I’ve had instances where a certain jump felt delayed or the directional input dragged further than I had intended. In addition, the depth perception for a lot of the platforms felt quite confusing. This led to tense moments losing steam and momentum due to loose controls. It doesn’t help that there are certain sections that rely on stable control, such as riding a flying bike through a canyon of falling rocks. The backdrop may look wonderful, but you’ll be crashing into it fairly often.
There’s also the frustration of the companion AI, as there are times when they get in the way or incorrectly respond, leading them away from the objective. When you have to repeatedly spam a button to try to get them to do something, it starts to feel cumbersome. And I can say I’ve had to restart from checkpoints numerous times since the AI companion would be stuck somewhere, glitching out. There were even instances where the companion would be completely missing, causing me to feel utterly confused when I realized I needed them to move ahead. I’ve sighed out of dismay more than I would have liked to for such an enchanting adventure.
I felt an emotional resonance throughout much of Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow. The narrative consists of subtle threads and imagery to have its contents be up to interpretation for the audience, and I really aimed to find the deeper meaning behind everything. While I did find myself in awe of the visuals and atmosphere, I also felt discouraged and unmotivated by the glaring technical issues.
The enjoyable moments become dampened by the inane control scheme and inconsistent pacing. It’s unfortunate that there was such a tug-of-war between immersion and complete disengagement. In a way, Daydream is a fitting name, as my moments of joy and peace kept getting interrupted as I popped back to reality, making this experience become a gradually-fading memory.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.