Forever the Strangest Dream is a game that is partly an homage and partly a deconstruction of Yume Nikki and its many fangames. It begins as a fairly typical Yume Nikki fan game, albeit with a Framing Device in that we are told that our protagonist (Maribel), along with four other "troubled teenagers" are to undergo a dream study to help modify their behavior. She will be placed in a virtual reality chamber (her "room") specifically designed by the offscreen character Dr. Greymann (the researcher in charge of the program) to help her sleep (and thus, dream) as often as possible.
The first half of the game is the fairly typical dialog-free Yume Nikki spinoff. One must collect twenty four effects (twenty five if one counts the instructions) and wander through a vast Beautiful Void of a dreamscape ( Running into Madotsuki once or twice along the way). When all twenty-four are collected, they can be "deposited" in the dream world's nexus. When Maribel wakes up and exits her room for the first time in the game, the second half of the game starts.
The second half of the game allows us to follow Maribel outside of her room, and to meet the other troubled teens . What follows is the uncovering of a twisted conspiracy, as the game deviates further and further away from the "Dream Sim" formula. The plot grows more and more bizarre. Eventually culminating in Dr. Greymann who has by now likely reached Complete Monster status in the eyes of most players, revealed to be a corrupt artificial intelligence called The Dream Emulator. At the climax of the game, he sucks our heroines into another dream world/virtual reality, his own. Our heroines confront him in the closest thing to a battle any Yume Nikki spinoff has ever had.
Forever The Strangest Dream has examples of the following tropes:
- Beautiful Void
- The Cameo - Possibly the darkest version ever. The sadistic doctor you've spent the entire second half of the game fighting? Yeah, he's an AI, formerly called The Dream Emulator. He transports you to The Violence District for the final part of the game. His true form? The Goddamn Grey Man.
- Crack Fic - Pretty much, yeah.
- Dark and Troubled Past - all of the girls have this to some extent, in the order they appear in the game:
- Maribel - Maribel has the least problems. She has unspecified "issues with her parents", and is the only o the protagonists to willingly enter the program. At the beginning of the game, she genuinely believes that she's troubled and that the program will help her.
- Sabitsuki - Sabitsuki probably has the worst of it. She was an Ill Girl for most of her life (her illness is never specified) and the treatments left her skin pale and her hair white. When she finally entered a normal school, she was constantly made fun of and became a delinquent (earning the nickname "Rust" because she constantly carried around a rusted pipe) until her parents shipped her off to the research program.
- Urotsuki - Urotsuki is mentioned to have used her wits to con fellow students at her school out of a lot of money. We're never told what or how much, though.
- Chie - Chie has the least severe problems that are expanded upon. Her parents are extreme perfectionists, and consider Chie to be a failure due to her clumsiness and low intelligence. They ship her off in hopes of "improving" her.
- Madotsuki - Madotsuki has chronic depression and has apparently tried to kill herself more than once.
- Dream Land - the first half of the game.
- Five-Man Band - Sorta
- The Hero - Maribel: she has only the best of intentions, and is the only one of the protagonists who didn't put up some kind of fight before entering the program. She genuinely thought it would help her.
- The Lancer - Sabitsuki, of .flow: "Rust" trusts nobody, is an enormous Deadpan Snarker, and hates Dr. Greymann even before he shows his true colors. This may have something to do with her past.
- The Smart Guy - Urotsuki, of Yume 2kki: her status as the most genre savvy of all the Yume Nikki protagonists shows itself clearly.
- The Big Guy - Chie, of LCD DEM: she's not physically large. But she has that axe, and she knows how to use it. She's not too bright, either.
- The Chick - Madotsuki, of—of course—Yume Nikki: Mad is here depicted as an extremely lonely girl who absolutely relishes her four new friends. God help you if you try to hurt them, though.
- Ill Girl - Sabitsuki.
- Meaningful Name: If you're familiar with games of this sort, you just might be able to figure out who Dr. Greymann really is.
- Voice with an Internet Connection - the very beginning of the game before you start dreaming has Dr. Greymann as one.
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds - in the second half of the game.