First of all! Hi and welcome, it's been a while since I tried doing a liveblog, since I have attention problems with consistently liveblogging one thing. So today, we're instead going to do something a bit different, wherein I'll be liveblogging a different piece of media on a fairly regular basis (a true schedule has yet to materialize, but I'll let you know if one does). Sometimes I may also liveblog things that aren't exactly media (threads, just as an example).
Everything in this blog is entirely my opinion, and not necessarily my "logical and well-thought-out opinion", so do keep that in mind. With that out of the way, let's get this show on the road! Todays topic is....
Yume Nikki Fangames!
Now, if you don't know Yume Nikki, you need to read that page and then go download that shit right now. Because there is a reason Yume Nikki is widely considered to be one of the best indie games of the past decade. I'll not bother to explain the premise here, for it's easily found there and in a much more succinct and informative form than I could put it here. So we're going to move on to the fangames, in the order I've played them.
also SPOILERS AHEAD OH MY GOD SO MANY SPOILERS IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPOILERS DON'T READ THE REST OF THIS OKAY THANK YOU.
Yume 2kki is billed as a direct sequel to Yume Nikki (just look at the title), but aside from the general premise, and the obvious trappings that come with it, the two do not have a lot in common. For instance, there is absolutely no indication that our protagonist is traditionally depressed or otherwise mentally ill in any way. It may just be me, but I could personally not find anything I considered to be symbolic of some sort of inner turmoil, most of the creepy shit that Urotsuki (that's our protagonist's name) encounters is just that; creepy shit, and it doesn't seem to be any more meaningful than that. Far more telling is a certain event wherein Urotsuki orders several drinks at a bar and passes out, which may be indicative of alcoholism, or something else entirely. So it's not that she's untroubled, she just seems troubled in an entirely different way.
Yume 2kki is also enormous, even compared to Yume Nikki and other fangames, there are over a dozen large areas, with at least one more (the Grey Tile World) being worked on, and one (The Pokemon World) having been removed. Altogether, it's a lighter experience than Yume Nikki, and is well worth checking out if you liked the original but found it depressing. Note that like most of the games on this list, Yume 2kki is unfinished, there is no ending coded in yet (though there are two that exist, one is a subversion of Yume Nikki's ending, and the other is....bizarre and rather hard to describe here).
Altogether if you want a lighter YN experience, pick up Yume 2kki. Though do be aware it's yet to be translated into English (at least recently, the most recent English patch is several versions behind).
If Yume 2kki is Lighter and Softer in general, .flow is Darker and Edgier in general. There is very little lightheartedness here. Most of the game is dark, oppressively dark. There is a heavy industrial theme, large swaths of the game are clanging, smoky, rusting messes. When organic elements show up, it's to add to the horror. Examples include a back-alley hospital that seems normal, but turns utterly terrifying when you go into the back rooms and find meat hooks and dead patients, and then even more horrifying when you go beyond that into a room full of dead and dying children (appearing to be infected by some kind of virus).
It's important to note the virus part, because sickness is a central theme of this game. It's not necessarily always explicit sickness, so perhaps it's more fair to say decay. Large parts of the game are covered in rust, and during the endgame, Sabitsuki (the protagonist) has her very name changed to Rust. This supports her interpretation as an Ill Girl. Also of note is that this is the first deconstruction of this type of game on this list, as the final ending strongly implies that what Sabitsuki has been experiencing are not dreams or hallucinations at all, but very real.
I did not play Yume Nisshi for long, and have little to say about it other than it struck me as extremely generic and I did not enjoy it.
The Looking Glass
The Looking Glass is the most unfinished game on this list, the version I played had only three effects that I could find, and many of the worlds are dead ends. That said, it's a charming game with potential. Also of note, the bed here does nothing, you enter the dream world (?) by stepping into a magic mirror. Yes really.
This particular game is western-made, as are the next three.
I have also not played Lcd Dem for long, but my opinions on it are much the same as my opinions on The Looking Glass. I also find Chie's choice of weapon interesting.
I did not enjoy what I played of this game. It tries too hard to be different without actually innovating like .flow and the below Answered Prayers do, simply changing the protagonist into a ghost does not make the game any different.
Of all the games on this list, Answered Prayers just might turn out to be the most innovative. I don't say that lightly, nor do I say it with certainty. AP is far from done, but it has a lot of promise. Mostly because unlike Yume Nikki, or even .flow, Answered Prayers seems to have a plot. And one made of a loving deconstruction at that. At this stage in the game's development, it's difficult to see if that will pan out or not (even if it doesn't, this is still a cut above most Yume Nikki fangames), also, one thing utterly shocked me about this game, because it defied all of my expectations with a single, and oh-so subtle thing, and it is the only thing in this article I feel the need to warn of spoilers:
Flourette can speak. As in, she has at least one line of dialogue, a seemingly insignificant one, but it's a complete left-field nonetheless to me.
With that, I bid you all adieu for now. Keep on dreaming, people!