The second installment of Uri
's Strange Men Series
, set in the same world as The Crooked Man
. Uri also created Paranoiac
and Mermaid Swamp
Sophie Grundler is a model student. Too bad her life isn't quite as lovely as her work. Her father's too busy with work to notice any issues she's been having, like dealing with Regan's constant bullying and her recent struggles with insomnia. For several days now, she hasn't been able to sleep at all.
Still, she quietly endures... until one night, the clock in her room suddenly stops ticking...
Those interested can pick up the game on vgperson's page over here
. Please note that Uri does not wish for anyone to livestream or monetize footage of her games from The Sand Man
Has nothing to do with the comic book series known as The Sandman
This adventure game contains examples of:
- all lowercase letters: The Dust speak this way.
- Alpha Bitch: Regan.
- Another Side, Another Story: The bonus chapter follows the Sand Man. This explains why he did certain things and why he chased after Sophie.
- Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: When Sophie turns the tables and insults Regan's hair, Regan's Girl Posse laughs at her.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: It turns out that the reason why Regan, Anne, and Sophie's father suffered the way they did was because those were Sophie's darkest wishes. Lullaby wanted to make her wishes come true so that she could sleep. He even took on the form of David to grant her romantic wish.
- Berserk Button: The Sand Man goes absolutely NUTS upon realizing the Unicorn has Sophie's pink jewel.
- In the good ending, Sophie demands that Regan never make fun of her mother's bright red hair.
- Blatant Lies: Used for the Liar Puzzle, where Sophie's tormentors lie to her face about where Anne is.
- Bonus Boss: Sophie herself, in the bonus scenario. She's significantly faster than the Sandman, and only has to get him down to 10 HP, while he has to get her down to zero. You're actually expected to lose to her, and it nets you the good ending for the bonus scenario, but you need to beat her if you want to see all the endings, and it's not easy.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The fight with Sophie in the bonus scenario. She can pull out bursts of extra speed that the Sandman can't match near-constantly — making just staying out of her reach at all difficult, let alone hitting her without her retaliating immediately or swiping at you as you try to get back around her — and wins when she gets you to 10 HP, while you win when you get her to zero.
- The Confidant: David and Sophie's friendship is founded on the fact he listens to her, and is the only one she feels she can really talk to about her problems.
- Empathic Shapeshifter: Lullaby. Its sole purpose is to make people fall asleep by being whomever or whatever people want it to be. For Sophie, it took on the form of David and showed her images of people in her life suffering. After Sophie takes care of the Sandman, it turns into her mother and eases her into sleep.
- Eye Scream: According to a scary story, The Sand Man inflicts this on naughty children who won't sleep.
- Failed a Spot Check: While at the Blumberg Mall, Sophie can sneak right behind the commander and his guards to cut Regan loose.
- Firing Squad: Regan faces this potential fate.
- Genius Ditz: The Sandman is reportedly smart enough to study the human world and invent his own language, and yet he doesn't know or forgets that fairy food is poisonous to humans.
- Genre Shift: The first part of the game plays like a horror mystery very similar to The Crooked Man, but after Sophie enters the Sandman's world, the horror/mystery elements are drastically toned down and the tone becomes more reminiscent of an Alice in Wonderland-like story with the seemingly terrifying villain turning out to be not so villainous after all.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The shadows at the school are fairly standard, expected opponents if you're used to Uri's work or similar indie J-Horror games. The soldiers are a bit weirder, but are foreshadowed by one of the movie posters. Then, finally, you face a giant fire-breathing dragon. Even when Lullaby explains what was actually going on when you faced these opponents, it's not clear why Sophie's wish for her father manifested as a huge dragon.
- Girl Posse: Regan's two followers.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: The Tooth Fairy berates Sophie for voicing her disbelief about their existence, declaring that every time somebody stops believing in the tooth fairy, a fairy dies.
- Grew a Spine: Sophie's Character Development in the best ending.
- Heroic BSOD: Sophie goes into one after failing to rescue her father.
- Hidden Eyes: When giggling among themselves, the upper parts of Regan and her friends' faces fall into shadows. Characters in emotional distress get the same effect.
- High-Pressure Emotion: The Sandman has this a couple of times. The first one happened when people continued waking up, thus making him think about making the eternal sleep powder. The second time after Sophie gave her pink jewel to the Unicorn. He ran after the Unicorn and demanded that he give it back.
- I Choose to Stay: Appears in some of the bad endings.
- Innocent Inaccurate: In a Flashback, the much younger Sophie explains that her mother died because "she was shot by Ban Crobber, or something..."
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: One of the first unsettling things Sophie notices after the clock stops ticking is how unnaturally quiet it's gotten.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the good endings, Sophie smiles and flashes a V Sign at the Sand Man through his telescope.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Despite David repeatedly suggesting they should stick together after they meet up, Sophie keeps finding reasons to split off from him.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to Uri's previous works, including the first entry in the Strange Men Series, The Crooked Man. That said, the bad endings are still incredibly depressing.
- Lolicon: The Unicorn. He's noted for his fixation on little girls, including Sophie herself. He is disliked by everyone because of this, including the Sandman himself. He freaks when he discovers what Sophie had done and goes after the Unicorn to get her jewel back.
- Loophole Abuse: Exploited by Lullaby. While they can't directly defy their creator, they were assigned to make Sophie's wishes come true. Therefore, they can use that to their advantage.
- May-December Romance: Apparently, in the bonus chapter, once Sophie puts him to sleep, he develops feelings for Sophie. Obviously, he's unaware that she's a girl in high school and he's a fairy that's centuries old.
- Missing Mom: Sophie's mother died when she was very young.
- Momma's Girl: Regan thinks so highly of her mother that she's convinced she'll come and save her.
- Monochrome Past: Sophie's Flashbacks have a slight sepia tint.
- Multiple Endings: There are four, based on two decisions Sophie makes: whether she takes the pink jewel or lets Unicorn keep it, and how she chooses to handle the Sand Man.
- If Sophie lets Unicorn keep the jewel and accidentally kills the Sand Man, she gets Bad End 1: Queen of the Night. Though guilt-ridden by her Accidental Murder, Sophie decides it was his fault for making everyone fall asleep forever. Remaining in the fairy realm, she becomes the Queen of the Night, gleefully watching the eternally slumbering world.
- If she takes the jewel and kills the Sand Man, she obtains Bad End 2: Sleep With One Eye Open. Upon returning home, she discovers that killing the Sand Man didn't fix anything: time's still frozen, and she's the only one left awake in this eternally slumbering world. Paranoia keeps her from being able to sleep herself, jumping at shadows and bumps in the night like a frightened child.
- If she chooses to take the jewel and puts the Sand Man to sleep, she gets Bad End 3: Invisible Sweet Heart. Rather than return to her miserable life, Sophie gives up her humanity so she can stay in the fairy's world, becoming a Glimmer.
- Finally, if Sophie decides to let Unicorn keep the jewel and puts the Sand Man to sleep, she earns Happy End: Don't Stay Up Late at Night. After falling asleep, she wakes up at the same time as everyone else and starts standing up for herself, even when it gets her into trouble. Facing her problems head-on causes some problems, but she winds up much happier than she was before, and even befriends David's fiancee, Shirley.
- In addition, two more endings are accessible in the bonus chapter:
- If you beat Sophie, you get Bad End 4: See You In Bad Dream. After struggling in vain to stay awake, Sophie falls into an endless nightmare. The guilt brings the Sand Man himself to tears...
- If you lose instead, you earn the good ending: Welcome Back, Insomnia!. After getting some rest and seeing Sophie enjoying her life again, the Sand Man remembers why he worked so hard in the first place. ...On top of that, he's got a crush. On Sophie.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- In the first bad ending, Sophie accidentally kills the Sand Man and breaks down upon realizing it.
- In the last bad ending, the Sand Man successfully puts Sophie to sleep, only to accidentally trap her in an endless nightmare. They don't take it well.
- Never My Fault: Sophie decides this in the 'Queen of the Night' ending, blaming everyone else for all her problems.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Why is Sophie such a Stepford Smiler? Because after her father collapsed from overwork, her aunt told her he'd get better if she behaved. So she bottles everything up and tries to deal with her problems all by herself rather than confront the issues head-on, not wanting to burden anyone with her problems.
- Also, Sophie will die if she eats the food the Sandman offers her or gives Unicorn the 'pink' jewel that's actually a painted clear jewel. If you play through the bonus chapter where you see the story's events from the Sandman's perspective, you'll learn that the Sandman just wanted to give Sophie a nice meal and honestly had no idea that fairy food was poisonous to humans. He also painted the clear jewel pink to help Sophie with Unicorn's demand, not thinking that Unicorn would be clever enough to notice the difference.
- No Sympathy: One sign that you're on route to a bad ending is if Sophie reacts poorly to the Sand Man's diary.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The Sand Man just wants to be able to sleep himself.
- Not Quite The Right Thing: Given what Unicorn says after you give them the pink jewel, it's pretty clearly important. However, if Sophie takes back the jewel, you're locked into a bad ending no matter what.
- Now, Where Was I Going Again?: In the Sand Man's scenario, the player can consult some in-game notes to figure out what their next move is.
- One-Gender School: Loren Catholic School is a private, all-girls academy.
- Pajama Clad Heroine: Since Sophie was trying to sleep, she spends her adventure dressed in her nightgown.
- Poor Communication Kills: A lot of problems would be resolved much quicker if Sophie could understand what the Sand Man was saying. The Sand Man's scenario reveals he can't understand her, either.
- The Prankster: The Unicorn is such a gadfly that nobody likes them.
- Previous Player-Character Cameo: David appears early on.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- At the Blumberg Mall, Sophie tries giving one in order to get Regan up and moving by calling them a crybaby. Regan turns right around and snaps back at her.
- In one ending, Sophie unleashes a series of these, having decided she's no longer going to passively put up with everything anymore.
- Redheaded Hero: Sophie.
- The Reveal: The David that Sophie has been talking to is Lullaby. The real David is asleep at Shirley's apartment.
- Sequel Hook:
- Sophie has a brief encounter with the Boogieman, who will appear in the next game in the Strange Men Series.
- After beating the Sand Man's chapter, the player can access teaser trailers for two other projects.
- Shrinking Violet: Anne Flanagan.
- Slasher Smile: Seen on the shadow girls, as their only discernable feature.
- Speaking Simlish: The Sand Man makes strange, indescipherable babbling noises. In his scenario, Sophie has a higher-pitched voice.
- Stealth-Based Mission: One appears in the Blumberg Mall.
- Stepford Smiler: Sophie tends to hide and repress how she feels, insisting that she can deal with her problems by herself.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Based off of the illustration in the Good End, Sophie looks just like her mother.
- Time Stands Still: In the still, silent world, time doesn't pass for anyone.
- Timed Mission: At Loren, Sophie has just three minutes to find Anne before she's killed by the shadow girls.
- The Tooth Hurts: Poor Sophie loses a tooth from being blown through the doors and out of a building.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Downplayed: Flashbacks show that even back in kindergarden, little Sophie looked down on 'crybabies', even when they were upset over their parents constantly fighting. This attitude contributed to later issues.
- Unrequited Love: Sophie has this for David, despite him being with Shirley. In the best ending, she decides to abandon her feelings for him and be friends with him and Shirley.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Having to deal with her abusive father always tormenting her and her mother really took its toll on Regan.
- We Used to Be Friends: Regan and Sophie. This is part of why Sophie puts up with her bullying; she knows about her old friend's family troubles.
- When She Smiles: Sophie's described as having 'the smile of a goddess' when she's honestly happy.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Sophie's father Richard honestly cares about her; his job at JP Gordon & Chase just keeps devouring all of his time.
- Workaholic: Richard Grundler. All of the fairies have this same problem.
- You Gotta Have Pink Hair: One of Regan's Girl Posse has pastel pink hair. Which makes it seem a bit ironic when they're first seen teasing Sophie about her red hair.