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Video Game / Dreaming Sarah

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Sarah, at the start of the first area.

Dreaming Sarah is an exploration Platform Game made by Asteristic Game Studio and inspired by Yume Nikki. You play as Sarah, a comatose girl who explores various dream worlds in a search for effects to advance further in the dream world and try to wake up.

The creator put the game on early access and released a version of the game on May 31, 2014. It was officially released on March 12, 2015. A demo of the game can be found here.

Talks of a sequel began towards the end of 2017. In February 2018 it was officially announced and given the title Awakening Sarah. A trailer has been published and a prototype is available. Between both installments, a Game Boy interquel named Wishing Sarah was released in 2020.

Has nothing to do with Dreaming Mary, despite the similar title and premise.

Dreaming Sarah contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The hospital area seen near the end is... surprisingly normal and also home to one of the most comical characters of the game — a clumsy purple duck doctor who gets himself stuck inside a vending machine.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension
  • Adventures in Comaland: The game takes place in the dream world of the titular Sarah, who is in a coma and must reach the end of the dream to wake up.
  • Broken Bridge: Several areas in the game can be accessed only after you collect certain effects.
  • Cosmetic Award: The paint bucket item has no use other than hanging a few tones on your outfit.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Getting hit by any of the few hazards just sets Sarah back to the start of the screen.
  • Excuse Plot: You are Sarah. You are in a coma-induced dream. Reach the end to wake up. There is some vague background lore hinted at by the contents of the dream world, but nothing concrete.
  • Expy: A creature blocking the way on an area is very similar to Kyukyu-kun from Yume Nikki.
  • Gainax Ending: Sarah jumps off a bridge and her Effects circle around her before fading away.
  • Gravity Screw: The pink planet area.
  • Green and Mean: A green-colored girl who is trying to sneak into a bar club, and ends up apparently killing everyone inside when she gets in.
  • Heroic Mime: Sarah.
  • Homage: To Yume Nikki, in that you explore surreal and sometimes creepy dreams to get a little insight on the protagonist's background while looking for "Effects" that give abilities required to explore further. Unlike most Yume Nikki-likes, though, Dreaming Sarah is a sidescroller.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind
  • Lighter and Softer: There are no hostile characters and Sarah has no weapons to hurt npcs with. The amount of disturbing scenes is also smaller in comparison to Yume Nikki and similar games.
  • Magic Compass: The compass item shows the correct way to go to find certain items.
  • Mental Story: It's about a comatose girl trying to wake up.
  • Mental World
  • Mind Screw
  • Mysterious Past: Of which Sarah's dreams give a certain amount of insight. One can tell she's in a coma from a car crash and has been involved in some gruesome events.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Some actions necessary to progress through the game have horrible consequences for certain characters.
    • A girl outside the bar club area asks you to distract the person guarding the door for her to enter. If you do, the next time you enter the building you will find that everyone inside has been murdered.
    • One optional thing to do is to bring a bullet to a pianist. She suddenly stops playing and is gone when you next enter the bar. The piano is left covered in blood, and the bgm is named "Suicidal Pianist".
    • The odd Kyukyu-kun-ish creature blocking the path in the mouth area asks for orange juice. It dies because the juice is expired.
  • No Antagonist: The conflict is Sarah trying to wake up from her coma, which was caused by an accident (specifically, a car crash) rather than any malicious entity, and there are no enemies in the dream world.
  • Parasol Parachute: The umbrella item allows you to fall more slowly.
  • Sizeshifter: The magnifying glass item allows you to become smaller.
  • Spikes of Doom: One of the last hazards.
  • The Stinger: Much like in Yume Nikki, the game requires you to collect all items and then jump off a bridge. In this game, however, Sarah is shown waking up just fine in the hospital after the credits.
  • Time Stands Still: The watch item slows down everything around Sarah, including the camera scrolling and the level transition effect.
  • Transformation Trinket: The shell necklace item allows you to transform into a fish.
  • True Sight: The glasses item allows you to see and interact with hidden objects.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: One optional event is to use the magnifying glass in front of the giant eye that looked down at the cap item, causing its iris to shrink along with Sarah.
  • Wrap Around: Some areas do this both horizontally and vertically, requiring you to fall around looking for certain platforms.
  • You Bastard!: A green girl asks you to distract the guard of a bar and turns everyone inside to shreds once you do. The guard is a character you saw early in the game, now enjoying his job and trying not to mess up. Some distance away from him is a rock character who says he saw what you did.