Published on June 21st, 2023 | by S. Masoud Kazemi
Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow Review
Summary: Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is an amazing experience that will leave you with some questions and give you some thinking for homework.
A Fresh Storytelling
The inspiration from Little Nightmares was heavy when I first saw Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow. As much as I enjoyed the experience of Little Nightmares, I wasn’t very fond of games just cloning another successful game. Let’s say I was very wrong once I got further into Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow.
Forgotten Sorrow is a puzzle platformer that switches between 2D and 3D, but most of the time it stays in its 2.5D. The game starts and you have to flee from a dark monster with your teddy bear. It won’t take much time to learn a few things by just looking at the pictures hanging on the wall. While storytelling via environment isn’t something new, it is a hard task to complete it successfully. That is why Forgotten Sorrow uses something we don’t see that much in the games: Storytelling by exploration.
By exploration, I mean either finding the little rooms containing story pieces or finding items that can trigger something. For instance, in the very first level of the game, you can connect the trainset that will unlock a piece of the story. You can absolutely skip this little puzzle and just stick with the main road. But those pieces of the narrative are far too engaging and interesting to not look into them.
Forgotten Sorrow has a fresh way of storytelling. It is the mixture of the environment talking to you, a bit of free space for the player’s imagination, showing key moments via cutscenes, and the exploration part that is the best of them all. It truly is remarkable what they did in terms of narrative. And it’s not just narrative. The story and topic of the game itself are quite heavy and important ones too.
For the sake of not spoiling anything, I will just point out that the game talks about something everyone thinks about, but rather not talk about it. And the fact that game designers decided to tell such a sorrowful story via a kid that is only 8 or 9 years old and it makes more sense this way is truly remarkable.
Fortunately, the gameplay or most puzzles of Daydream are as good as the story itself. I got the feeling that puzzles are getting too similar after a while, but it didn’t last long. Changing the scenery, increasing or decreasing the size of the puzzle, and also bringing another character helped the game to keep its freshness.
The companions you have in the game are designed pretty well for an indie game. Apart from the fact that they help you a lot in puzzle-solving, they have a good AI to know where to go and what to do without frustrating the player. It is one of those things in game design that if you do it correctly, you won’t notice that much but if you do it slightly wrong, it will show itself. Just to say well done to the team that designed the companions of the game.
Jumping back to the puzzles, I was quite mesmerized by the design of some of them. There are a few puzzles that really made me think hard and give me the satisfaction feeling of solving a puzzle. The variety of puzzles was very good too. You have puzzles that are the size of the entire room and puzzles that are just a simple mechanism you have to press. Also, the fact that there isn’t any hint to solve puzzles is good. The game encourages you to trial and error, the process of finding the right solution is great.
Same as puzzles, the Forgotten Sorrow has a wide range of levels as well. There are scary jungles with huge spiders, toy factories, and colorful nature. The incredible part about them is that all the changes in the scenery don’t through you off the vibe and story of the game. Daydream has done an incredible job in terms of game design and storytelling. Even the choice of not having too many music pieces has worked great for the game. It makes the presence of the few tracks much more noticeable and memorable.
As much as I loved this game, I wished it was more polished. The only issue I noticed quite often was technical issues. There were a few bugs that made the companion stuck in a place and not follow you to the next room. Or the companion being stuck in a rigid body. They don’t break the game, and you can easily fix them by restarting from the previous checkpoint. But it does damage the immersive experience of the game from time to time.
Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow was one of the best experiences I had this year. The story and gameplay seem simple at first but leave you with some deep thoughts once you finish the game. Everything in the game is amazing, except for the fact that there are a few technical issues that might cause a disturbance to the immersive experience of the game.