Saturday, January 26

Review: Bad Dream - Coma [Nintendo Switch eShop]

With so many point-and-click adventure options on the Switch it pays for games to be a bit different in order to stand out. In that particular regard there’s no doubt that Bad Dream: Coma not only takes that ball but then runs with it. Set in a sepia-toned, hand-drawn, and often pretty weird and crazy world you’ll find yourself in a sort of nightmare world with very little guidance.

I would imagine initially most people will have the same approach I did, just trying out what can be interacted with and what happens when you do. It turns out you can turn many living things into a bloody pulp, and that does have an effect on a sort of good/evil meter, so unless you’re like me and decide to run with that as the emphasis of my initial playthrough you may want to avoid doing that since doing things like killing crows is merely optional.

Moving on to the puzzles, the variety isn’t quite what I’ve seen in some other genre titles but the inclusion of things like spot the difference were unexpected, so there’s a little variety. For the most part everything tends to be pretty linear. You’ll have a problem, you’ll need to explore to find some item tied to it, you’ll figure out what to do with that item to move towards your solution like using a crowbar to release a plank to cross a gap, and then you’ll move on.

This does generally avoid some of the annoyances like red herring items that are there only to confuse you or managing a large inventory. However, even with that straightforward nature that isn’t to say you won’t end up needing to look up a solution every once in awhile given the very oddity of some of the puzzles and steps you’ll need to take to solve them. Certainly, given that the game takes place in a weird dream-like space everything making sense wouldn’t be a guarantee, but there are still some weird leaps of faith you wonder how people were supposed to intuitively figure out and not be reduced to simply clicking on everything until they stumbled onto a solution.

If you’re down for some weirdness there’s no doubt Bad Dream: Coma does deliver on that end of the bargain. The art style will likely be a love it or hate it proposition, but it does help the game stand out without a doubt. There are better and more consistent titles in the genre on the Switch but there’s nothing that has its style and odd sensibilities so if you don’t mind its quirks it does offer some fun.

Score: 7

  • It runs with exploring the weirdness of a dream-like space
  • The puzzles are often “creative” with their solutions in some weird ways
  • Visually the game is quite distinctive

  • In terms of progression and puzzle designs it can be a bit linear and simplistic
  • There are times where it leans into the dream aspect of things a little too much to cover for weak underlying design
  • In general it’s not going to be an experience for everyone, you really need to embrace the tone and weirdness and run with it