How do you approach certain themes in games? There are topics that are difficult to address because you will be walking on eggshells, and even a topic like war becomes so boring that killing it stuns the player.
As a writer, I know what it’s like to have to think about a subject and how to approach it, either you’re sensitive or you’re straight to the point, but never too much.
Dreaming Sarah by Brazilian André Yin came out for PC in 2015, but for one reason or another it passed me by at the time (maybe because I’m kind of out of touch with PC gaming anymore and in 2015 I bought the PS3 ), but In 2021 that changed thanks to Ratalaika Games taking care of porting it to consoles and I finally have the opportunity to play it.
A journey into a beautiful … and bizarre world.
Sarah suddenly wakes up in an unknown place without knowing how she got there. Is this a dream world or is it the real world? It’s up to the player to guide Sarah through this world and discover the truth by going from the forest to a haunted house.
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Of course, if we connect the dots a little while collecting objects throughout the game, we realize that something is wrong and that something terrible has brought Sarah into this bizarre world.
Play at your own pace, don’t rush
The game is a 2D platformer with an emphasis on exploration and solving some puzzles. It works in a similar way to a Metroidvania, although it doesn’t necessarily have all the elements of one, but basically you have to collect items that will give Sarah the abilities she needs to advance a bit in the game like the Umbrella does with it by gliding she jumps, which allows her to cross areas that would not be possible without her, or the necklace that turns her into a fish.
However, the player does not need to be in a hurry or caution as there are no enemies in the game and except for certain points in the game there is no possibility for him to die (and even at those points, death is not a punishment). But to progress in the game the player has to think a little and do certain things, again nothing too difficult, so even a complete donkey at puzzles like me can handle it just fine.
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The game isn’t long, it took me about two hours because I collected the goodies for Platinum, but knowing what to do the game’s speedrun can take 11-20 minutes. That being said, a small criticism of the PS4 version (and I think the same might apply to the Xbox One version), two of the game’s trophies are inverted, the Rio Card trophy and the Revolver Bullet trophy are used at the given time of the opposite article.
This seems contradictory at first, but when you see the first screen of the game you think you’re going to have a nice game… everything.
Some of the game’s settings have that slightly surreal vibe, but others are…ordinary. But all are well built with distinguishable elements. Some of them contain some references that I should say just to be more obvious (The moon that seems to be a minor planet of a certain prince).
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The sprites might not have as much detail, but you can still see their expressiveness in the things Sarah does because they’re so animated. One thing that I noticed regarding the PC version (or at least the screenshots from the achievement guide located on Steam) is that at least one of the game’s scenarios has been overhauled in the color palette and even one of the elements in related to benefits, has changed. I don’t know if this was for the console version or if there was a later revision for PC, but the change happened.
The soundtrack, composed by Anthony Septim (and available for free on YouTube), has that comfortable vibe but at the same time pulls on a bit of the bizarre. Nothing too scary, just enough for the discomfort of knowing something is wrong.
The only possible conclusion: play Dreaming Sarah
Dreaming Sarah is a pretty cool game. Of course, the theme is a bit heavy, but it’s very easy to play and it will be a pleasant experience.
The game is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S | available X and Nintendo Switch.
This analysis was performed using a digital copy of the PlayStation 4 provided by the manufacturer.