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Yume Nikki: Dream Diary launches tomorrow

Yume Nikki

Time flies, eh? It feels like just a month ago that Japanese media conglomerate Kadokawa announced a successor to minimalist indie adventure Yume Nikki, working in close collaboration with Kikiyama, mysterious developer of the original game, and it’s almost here already.

Oh. It was just a month ago.

Sneaking up on us like a particularly unsettling memory of a nightmare, Yume Nikki: Dream Diary is less than a day from release. Accompanying this news is a rather unsettling trailer, painting a somewhat darker picture of protagonist Madotsuki’s dreams than anything we saw first time round.

This new trailer comes only a few days after the release of a short prologue teaser. While I’ll not spoil the specifics for anyone who hasn’t worked their way through the original (which is free on Steam), the teaser does strongly imply that this new game is a direct sequel, as opposed to some sort of remake or reimagining.

The launch trailer feels somewhat darker than the original game. While deeply surreal and occasionally sinister in tone, the original never felt violent. This new game has a much more overtly horrific feel to it, with Madotsuki’s dreams having shifted somewhat from the abstract and nonsensical (although those are still present and correct) to the grimly realistic, full of worn-down hallways and crumbling urban environments. These strange structures are populated with a significantly more menacing breed of creatures as well, some of which look overtly hostile.

All in all, I don’t think the poor girl is doing too well.

Surprisingly, despite Kadokawa’s backing, the game has a pointedly stiff look to it. This isn’t a AAA high-budget reimagining, but rather feels like a natural switch up to the third dimension, direct from the chunky sprites of the original. Not to say that there aren’t some striking scenes in the trailer, but whether through intent or just a shortfall in budget, it looks authentically low-fi.

Yume Nikki: Dream Diary is out tomorrow morning, and can be bought direct from Playism (who localized it and the original freeware game), or Steam, although the former gets you a Steam key anyway.

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Dominic Tarason


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