I’ve been looking for more games to share, and remembered the one game that may have started the genre of JRPG Horror games in RPG Maker.
Now, when I say that the game I will discuss is peculiar, I’m not lying. I’ve been told that Yume Nikki would be a very odd game, and I found that to be true. But playing it myself, I found it to be filled with lots of dark hidden things that can only be interpreted by yourself, or other fans.
And it’s no wonder how this game sparked a lot of beginning game devs. There’s a few more known fangames out there that are just as deep, or even more.
I will get more in depth on that later, for now, please enjoy the post!
**Most of the art you’ll see is fanart, I give credit to the respective creators.**
(Or Dream Diary)
Published: June 26, 2004
Platform: PC, Mac
Engine: RPG Maker 2003
Genre: Horror-esque, Puzzle, Psychological
About: The game otherwise has no plot, and nearly the entire game is left up to speculation. (Credit: Yume Nikki Wikia)
The interesting thing about this game is that there is no story. The reason being is that this game if fully left for you to interpret. Of course fans over the years have made their own stories and theories behind it, and even named the characters that you’ll see below, but nothing is truly canon in the game.
This does make things confusing however. If you don’t know the story, then you’re pretty much wandering around, trying to solve something you can’t even grasp. But that’s mostly the whole point of the game. You can consult walkthroughs, but try to play without some and see where you end up.
There are some interesting theories that I even made. For instance, I figured that the worlds were not memories but emotions. And then the deeper worlds that you visit were the memories triggered by those emotions. (It kinda helps the theory that the Pink Sea was the memory of a birthday party, being a deeper world an all.) The Dark world could’ve represented depression, the Number world was probably hatred (in the manga Madotsuki mentioned she disliked math, and this is speculation on my part, but I just linked it with my theory), the Eye world might’ve been paranoia and so on.
There are theories as to isolation because of how Madotsuki couldn’t leave her room in the real world. Not only that, but most of the [deeper] worlds feel are completely devoid of NPCs or some that don’t want to be near her.
Even though there is no story, there are many Events that take place. There is one for each character (Madotsuki’s is the ending) and once triggered, they don’t effect the end in any way. (There is only one end in this game, fans have made Yume Nikki games with more, but they’re not part of the original game.)
Even without a story, there is a manga out there that creates its own. Now I’ve read what was available to me, and it was completely different from the theories surrounding the game. However, it lead me to believe that there is an order to the worlds. As in, there are worlds that are more corrupt than others, and those should be the worlds we should’ve seen last. (To represent Madotsuki’s dream falling apart.) But again, this is all just me guessing. Nothing is for certain.
Once you start the game, you are left only with a hint of what to do from the instructions. They don’t say vary much. Only the pathway of how to get to the Dream World, and pressing the “9” key for you to wake up.
In the Dream World, the door that leads to the outside is now accessible. As you go in, you leave Madotsuki’s bedroom and enter, what is now called by fans, the Nexus.
The Nexus is a black world, with a subtle background and 12 other doors, excluding the one you arrived from. Those doors will take you to multiple worlds, ranging from Snow World, Number World, Block World, Graffiti World, etc. Going into these world can also lead you into deeper locations, and those can connect back to where you started, and so on.
In most of the worlds, there are possible chances for you to get effects. Not all of them are useful, such as the Poop hair, Frog, or Neon effect, but you must collect all 24 in order to end the game. It was not mentioned in the instructions they gave you, but to use the effect, press the “1” key. The effects are automatically used once they are selected, but pressing “1” will show you what the effects do.
The layout of the worlds are very expansive, and it’s harder to go around blindly to get all of the effects. I’ve only gotten half on my own, and then used multiple maps and videos to help instruct me where to go to find the others. I will give props to those who can find them all in one go, it’s certainly a challenge when the worlds are all intertwined.
Your goal of the game is to enter these worlds/deeper worlds in order to find the effects to complete the game. Some effects are harder to find than others, and you may need help in getting them. But once all of them are found, you have to drop them in the Nexus using the “5” key, and proceed to the balcony of the real world.
Now, we don’t get descriptions about the characters’ personalities, but I’ll still include names and photos for all of you.
A lot of the music is rather creepy and ominous. But some sound happy and cheerful (like when you’re saving in Madotsuki’s diary). It did a good job of giving a more scarier feel if the images and the gameplay didn’t do that for you.
This game isn’t terrifying, but it’s not exactly horror either. The music assisted the horror aspect when it didn’t seem scary. If the music can do that alone, then I imagine that it’s doing it’s job perfectly.
The reason why it’s so high, is just because there’s so much of it. (There’s no story after all.)
But everything is so vague, that it’s confusing. The worlds are expansive, too expansive for that matter, and it’s difficult to navigate without some help. I could only find half of the effects until I just started to wander around, lost. I needed to consult a few maps and videos to trigger the events and get the rest of the effects, as well as where to go aft I dropped them off at the end.
But it’s not a bad game. I still had a lot of fun with it, and it was hard, but it made you think a lot more than other games. (In my opinion.)
There weren’t many characters, but you can meet them all through the events that you’ll trigger. Also you might not know a lot about them, but observe things a little more, and look at the theories. After doing that, I made a few of my own and came to understand them a bit more.
I’m going to keep my rating neutral. It’s all just about what you think of them, and I feel that I can’t judge them too closely or feel nitpicky.
Visually, this is a really thought provoking game. Almost everything has a hidden depth of meaning to it (like the NPCs) and you just have to make your own assumptions about what they mean.
This was a 32-bit game, but I somehow saw all the character actions that Madotsuki did to be advanced from the usual games I play. You can make her try on her effects and play with them. I even thought the animation for her riding the bike effect to be pretty cool.
The images and art were childlike, but again like other games, they made everything more surreal. (I woudn’t call it dream-like, it’s nothing like that, but I don’t really have another word for it.)
Yes, as mentioned before there are many fangames based off of Yume Nikki. One of the more famous ones would be .Flow. It’s a visually disturbing game, way more than Yume Nikki is, with it’s gore and how the NPCs are designed.
There’s others like Yume 2kki, Yume Nisshi, LcdDem, and even Fleshchild (which is loosely based, and not completed, but I still love it for all that it is). I haven’t checked out all of these, but go see them for yourselves!
Also I said before that there is a manga. It shares the same characters and locations (as well as effects) but is entirely different. But that’s not a bad thing, someone else just made their own theories and wrote it in story form; I have to say, it’s pretty good too.
I hear there’s a light novel as well, but I haven’t seen that yet. But if you know more about it, or are interested in it, feel free to look more information on it.
For now that it all! Until next time!