Fans of the weird, dream-like puzzling of Yume Nikki should feel right at home with Strange Telephone. It’s a quiet little point-and-click adventure about a woman – Jill – exploring weird, abstract dream-realms through dialling them up on her levitating telephone pal Graham. Explore, collect items, solve problems and slowly work your way towards an ending. Or just chill out in the Candy Dimension, if that’s your thing. Developer HZ3 released it a while back (appropriately enough) on phones, but today marks its English PC debut. There’s a trailer ringing below – pick up.
Strange Telephone feels a lot like a condensed version of Yume Nikki. The strange and abstract worlds are small, but dense, and there’s a lot of objects to collect. They do tend to be a little more coherent in their usage than their inspiration, though – a knife will let you gather bamboo, although it might be magical moon bamboo, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s a quiet, low-stress game, too, with no sudden ways to lose, so far as I’m aware. There are eleven possible endings, some more obscure than others, so feel free to just experiment with items and dialling random numbers.
While mostly chilled out, there are some spooky worlds that it’s possible to dial up. Also, taking too long or exploring too deeply on foot without returning to the game’s central hub will reward you with escalating graphical glitches. While not bad at first, eventually it’ll be hard to see what you’re doing and where you’re going as the screen becomes increasingly garbled, but all you have to do to clear that up is dial a new number. I’ve heard some nice things about the smartphone original version from fans of Yume Nikki, but those unprepared for this sort of weird dream-world exploration might be best off playing the game that inspired it first. It’s free here on Steam.