Their previous three point-and-click games had the same creepy style — all of them are great fun to play through, but after their initial run through there is little reason to download the game a second time.
This is pretty common with the point and click genre as most of the time the story or adventure around the game is quite linear. I assumed this game would be similar, so I started carelessly doing things within the game.
Right at the start, I began killing crows in the game. There are many, many crows in the first level. In previous games by Desert Fox, you were able to interact with the environment in a way that didn’t affect the game. You could knock over objects, squash bugs, kill small creatures — none of it made a difference to the game.
In Bad Dream: Coma, they do keep track of everything you do, giving you several different versions of the game depending on exactly how you play.
Because I killed birds, I got an entirely different story right from the start of the game. Instead of making my way forward in the game, I was given a different narrative, a puzzle I otherwise would not have seen, and was attacked by a strange bird monster.
This chain reaction of events pushed me increasingly further towards the bad ending, as I now had a bloody hand, missing fingers, and no way to get back on the good track. You see, once you start doing something towards the bad or neutral path — one evil-aligned mistake — the good track is crossed out. It's too late to go back; I had already started rolling down the slippery slope towards a path of bad, or neutral.
Discovering the different endings and tracks
I saw that I now had a statistics page, which displayed icons that represented the mistakes and choices I had made. It also showed the different endings I could achieve, with the good ending scribbled out. When I moved my mouse onto the good ending graphic, it highlighted the icons that represented the bad things I had done, giving me an idea as to why this has happened.
This was a whole new addition to the game, and in my eyes, changed everything. Now I had a goal, and I needed to figure out how to have a good ending. I figured a bad ending could mean death in this nightmarish world. Since I had already made it impossible to get a the good ending, I set my sights on neutral. I figured that the game wouldn’t differ too much in their different endings, but then I got stuck.
What this means to me
I now have a reason to play through the game, reload whenever a mistake is made, and play the different versions of this game. Bad Dream: Coma could almost be considered three different games, tied neatly into one story. That is how much the gameplay can differ depending on what you, the player, decide to do. The game did give me hints that everything you did mattered, but I figured it was just the game providing clues as to why the world became the way it is.
Now, I have spent hours and hours checking out the different ways to complete tasks. It is very easy to derail the good path, and easier still to end up on track for a bad ending. This idea of creating such different outcomes within a point and click adds tons of replay value, and makes the experience very personal. I feel like the different decisions I made really did affect my character’s adventure. If I made mistakes, if I steal and hurt people, it will come back and hurt me. The first ending I got left me wanting the other ones, so I had to play it again.
Having games that have such branching storylines are key to getting hours and hours of play out of something that has a story. Bad Dream: Coma is a fantastic example of how to give the player a unique experience that they will enjoy tinkering with in a second and even a third playthrough.