Bad Dream: Coma is your average point and click adventure game: You click on a crow to punch it, and the crow dies. You click on every crow you see and a terrifying bestial crow monster will appear and cut off your fingers. Sorry, perhaps average wasn’t quite the correct term. It would be much more fitting to call this game a point and click horror game that revels in the creepy and macabre. So is Bad Dream: Coma a surreal and terrifying title worth your time and money, or would you be better off downing an energy drink and avoiding this dream altogether? Let’s find out.
Bad Dream: Coma takes place during, you guessed it, a dream. The intro of the game features a suitably normal scene of your character turning out the lights and going to sleep, only to wake up on a bridge with no direction at all, requiring you to interact with objects in the environment in order to find your way across the dilapidated structure. You can meet and speak with other characters, and many will comment that they’re also in the immortal dreamscape with you, with many of them not able to die no matter how horribly they’re maimed. Characters with their brains or intestines hanging out of their body is a common sight in Bad Dream: Coma, and while the game isn’t what anyone would call gore-riddled, most everything the player can see is presented in an unsettling, grotesque manner.
One of the first things players can see about Bad Dream: Coma is that it has an incredible hand-drawn art style. Seeming as if out of a comic strip, objects and characters have a visage of having been sketched directly onto a page. The visuals don’t stop at just the appearances of the characters, though, as various stains and page creases are littered among the environments, constantly reminding the player that this game is set on paper. Most interesting is that the paper-esque aesthetics are tied directly into gameplay, as the player clicking on a thorn or similar sharp object can cause the mouse cursor to bleed, dripping blood onto the page.
There are tons of puzzles to solve in Bad Dream: Coma, complete with puzzles atypical of the point-and-click genre where you click around the environment to find the one object that lets you solve it. Though, it does warrant mention that the surrealist nature of this game affords a wide variety of absolutely creative puzzles. There are several, “Eureka” moments that players will have when solving a tough puzzle- with some even being crafted through clever use of wordplay with objects players were able to interact with chapters before they are actually relevant. Unfortunately, speaking on them too much would effectively spoil the solution, but just know that several puzzles in this game will have nearly any player chuckling at how ingenious they are.
The sketchy graphical style also comes into play with the puzzle elements of the game, as well. Sometimes players may need to use an eraser to eliminate an obstacle from the environment, or draw something new in. Even tearing the page, sometimes, may help. In usual point and click adventure fashion, there is a lot of random clicking and tons of experimentation. The only real downside is that a lot of a player’s experimenting may result in seemingly random jump scares or bad routes through the game. There are three endings, and your actions may decide whether you see certain characters or monsters, and you may even skip whole chapters depending on what you do.
Decisions and which actions you take are very important to your progression through Bad Dream: Coma, and the correct decision is rarely apparent. There are only three endings, as mentioned above, but a wide variety of things can happen to all of the characters depending on what you choose, making the replay value a lot higher than usual if you wish to see all of the game’s content. Physical consequences, such as losing fingers or an arm, can and will happen to your character if you choose the wrong action (mind that the game still continues on). Pair the above with the eerie music and disturbing ambiance, and you have a very effective horror setting. Be sure to keep your volume on while playing; the dissonant notes craft a memorable and haunting experience as you progress through the game.
The only real issue found with Bad Dream: Coma is that there’s a number of typos and broken syntax, though that shouldn’t ruin the game for any but the most stringent grammar-Nazi. For fans of grotesque imagery and point-and-click adventure titles, there’s a lot to love with this game. Those who don’t enjoy dealing with unintended consequences, jump scares, or needing to replay a game to see everything may want to shy away from Bad Dream: Coma. For its price, Bad Dream: Coma offers a decent value for your dollar with its creativity and replayability, so fans of the genre should definitely look into this one so long as you can appreciate the horror overtones.