Labyrinthine Dreams is a moody, unique puzzle game made with RPG Maker VX Ace about a sick young woman named Beth, who is on the verge of death. While dreaming, she reflects on significant moments in her life. After a traumatic childhood and an uncertain entry into adulthood, she was just beginning to find herself when she was diagnosed with a serious illness. As she wanders the dreamscape, Beth wonders if she should simply give up on her difficult life or if it's worth it to fight for a better future.
The core of the game is a series of mazes separated by brief portions of the story. Each of the mazes has a unique mechanic, challenging the player while also complementing the narrative. For example, the first set of mazes force Beth to find her way through without ever turning left while she reflects on how her life was compromised by arbitrary rules of the real world. She also has recurring encounters with a monster who seems to represent her illness but may also represent the forces that drove her to despair before she even got sick.
Released in May 2014, Labyrinthine Dreams is the first commercial work from the team at Solest Games, who were previously known for Freeware Games like Master of the Wind and X-Noir. After establishing the story and gameplay with a demo version, the team raised a small budget on Kickstarter and were able to considerably upgrade the game. The final version features art from several contributors, including Ronove of Star Stealing Prince fame, as well as voice acting and a full original score.
This game includes examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: Beth and Artie are both supporting characters in X-Noir.
- Adventures in Comaland: The entire game.
- All Just a Dream: But a dream with a lot of accurate memories.
- Bittersweet Ending: Inspired by a vision of a potential future, Beth humiliates the monster and gets into a more positive frame of mind, but this is all just a dream and her problems will still be there once she wakes up.
- The sequel, X-Noir, shows Beth and Artie as having a difficult but still consistent life with two kids. And Beth became a succesful artist, just as she wanted.
- Dark and Troubled Past: A staple for the works of Solest games and this is no exception.
- Deadpan Snarker: Beth.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: The gallery scene may be this. X-Noir confirms it happened.
- Dreaming of Times Gone By: Most of the game is abouth Beth and her troubled past.
- Driven to Suicide: Beth's father dies in a car accident and the family gets life insurance money to help their financial situation. After hearing how miserable his job had made him, Beth does not believe this was a coincidence.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Absolutely averted. The mazes are a critical part of establishing the game's themes.
- Hard Work Fallacy: Beth's father gets hit hard with the truth about this.
- Heroic BSoD: Beth and her father both get hit with these.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A male example. Artie is quirky, free-spirited and kind, encouraging the shy and self-reliant Beth to come out of her shell. It seems to be a trait, since he helps the gloomy, depressed Eddie in X-Noir.
- Married to the Job: Beth's father kept trying to break away from this but it was the only choice for financial survival.
- The Maze: Several mazes, in fact.
- Shout-Out: One painting is a picture of Valkyrie from Master of the Wind.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Artie on one side, Beth on the other.
- Starving Artist: Beth.
- Surfer Dude: Artie has shades of this.
- Teens Are Monsters: Beth recalls that her peers mocked her for having a dead father and compares her school experiences to prison.
- The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Beth's illness, although there are very strong hints that she has cancer.
- Unbroken Vigil: Implied with Artie.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: A brutal example.
- Workaholic: Beth's father, whose life is slowly crushed by the unfulfilled promises of his employers.