Dark Dream’s Don’t Die is an episodic detective adventure game where you play as david, an investigator with the ability to dive literally into the case and relive the experience through a supernatural ability to channel memento’s and relive the memories associated with it in order to investigate what happened, and while he is investigating a case revolving around a drug known as “real blood” he is also looking for information about his wife’s murderer and searching for a mysterious “D” who may be involved with this.
The game itself has some clever twists on the traditional episodic adventure narrative, intertwining plot around having to look outside of the box and seeing or noticing things other people might have missed, using leaning to change your perspective to find hidden secrets and focusing on certain exclamation points to gather clues and more information which while aren’t necessary to completing the game could provide further insights that may have been used to unlock additional endings. This fits in rather well with the theme of the game which is a cross between time travelling investigatory work and the alternative that might be that you’re undergoing surgery and stuck inside your own mind and memories with the slow talking doctor hinting that you might be under anaesthesia slowed down mid consciousness having brain surgery with the scar oh his head which he touches at times perhaps signifying a wound leading to surgery. (If you’re looking for a deeper meaning than the surface plot of the game shown) There are definite hints to things not being quiet what they seem when you are talking to the doctor who definitely has an otherworldly nature to him existing outside of the space time of the plot, but could perhaps be another with the ability to travel into the memories himself.
Playing through the game you do have limited stamina which you use to perform actions, and you can refill this throughout the memory itself, however if you return to david’s house you will find that there’s a lot to do outside of the investigation and sometimes it’s essential to find clue’s outside of the memory to take back in order to question and influence the characters in order to get the best responses, while this might have lead to alternative endings again this is something I will delve into later. One of the best scenes in this game will come from heading back to the house and talking to kaysen, as you will get to eat meal’s with him and replenish your stamina, these scenes are some of the most over the top comedic stuffing of as much food as possible into your mouth and something not to be missed if you’re playing this game.
Investigating david’s wife’s murder is definitely a secondary plot to this game and it can be easy to miss a lot of the special event triggers to gather information about this as many of them require you to head home to david’s during a memory and find hidden clue’s around the home, these will trigger some cutscenes and provide more information that might hint that perhaps the D you’re meant to be finding is in fact a daughter, which going along with the mysterious cat girl who’s around the apartment could also mean that in fact she’s grown up and a lot of time has passed, but kaysen is keeping it secret to not trigger perhaps an episode with david, but again there are plot hints to other things going on with a myserious perhaps future david visiting at the end of an episode but never being fully fleshed out, and also the girl with striking similarities being a clone of your wife but with less dots by her eye like that signifies versions through time travel and alterations of time.
There is a lot to this game with great potential to be a very interesting storyline, and it got me hooked and interested to hear more, however this game had the unfortunate nature of being limited to an xbox live exclusive launch and hidden without physical copy not really highlighted in the online indie marketplace of the xbox 360 and as a result has ended up being abandoned. While the game strongly emphasised the use of movement and even the kinnect to influence cutscenes with very action intense moments requiring heavy quick time events, but done in a very fun and active way which most games attempting to incorporate QTE’s seem to lack, this one was done in an enjoyable manner and ranked you on your capabilities to “synchronise” these as well as the choices you make with conversations during your investigation perhaps suggesting that 100% synchronising or failing to synchronise conversations could lead to alternative outcomes in later episodes.
The problem is however that because it was hidden on this platform and wasn’t as noticed future episodes didn’t get made, and even though it has now received a pc release and gained a lot of popularity on youtube it still remains unfinished, so all these questions around the plot are never truly answered because the game was never completed, the mystery of the game it seems will always remain a mystery forever. This goes back to where you can go and find additional information in david’s house and go back into the memories and complete questlines with this additional knowledge, however as the game was never completed you would have to ask yourself is there any point to gathering this additional information as the episodes just end short, with hints that the game is due further episodes and no true ending whatsoever, being only 2 episodes and a prologue in length the feeling is that there should be at least 1-3 further episodes coming up to complete the season and to end on a satisfying note.
Where things end at present you’re left with a lot of unanswered questions and mysteries, no plotlines at all are resolved and if anything you’re left with a major plot twist on two of the characters as both the wife lookalike has an ulterior motive and secret identity, and the suspicious flight attendant who seems to be inhaling real blood turns out to be some super villain determined to take down the plane. And how is the jumping between two flights connected to all of this, and why does the doctor know more than he is letting on.
None of the investigative lines are completed and the case is most definitely not closed in this one and I hope that the game can gain enough momentum that swery may eventually finish off this game, as I’m sure he has the plot and narrative already planned out much as you would for a game like this, it just feels a little sad that such a good game is left open ended and incomplete. Even though this is most definitely not a finished game I would still recommend a purchase as it has a good plot and is a fun experience, I just wish that the plot wasn’t left unanswered and that you were given a satisfactory ending, even if it does leave room for a sequel at least some aspect should come to a satisfying end for it to be truly considered a proper ending.
Get D4: Dark Dream’s Don’t Die on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/358090/D4_Dark_Dreams_Dont_Die_Season_One/