A Winter’s Daydream is a text-based story which happens to be available in video game form. Despite my appreciation for the story written here and the morals presented, this is not a very fulfilling ‘game’. Developed by ebi-hime, this is a text-based story with accompanying music and backgrounds. The latter elements being the only things that differentiate this from a novella.
The story is presented and narrated by Yuu – a student returning from his University in Tokyo to spend the New Year with his family. As he returns, he is reminded of the poor relationship he has with his sister and how long it’s been since he’s visited his isolated Grandma in the distant village.
A surprising event happens while he catches up with his Grandma, causing Yuu to experience some surprising revelations from her, while he attempts to reflect on his time away from home, and what he can do to improve his relationship with his family as he learns vital lessons.
All in all, it’s a very nice story with some notable moral messages behind it. The discussion of developing relationships with our families must be made more often because of its vital importance. That being said, it is very difficult to compliment this ‘game’ because of the nature of what it is: a novel with matching music and an anime art-style which helps bring the characters of the story to life. It is very much a novel.
The only button you’ll be pressing throughout your time with A Winter’s Daydream is the A button, moving the dialogue along. That. Is. It. And if you decide to turn on the auto-scroll in the options menu, then there will be zero interaction from you as you ‘play’ this ‘game’.
As I state, there are aspects to enjoy about this experience. The music is pleasant and the different locations help bring the story to life. Not to mention this is the easiest 1000G I’ve ‘earned’ since Avatar. But as a video game, as a product made to drive interaction from the player to the screen, it simply fails. It fails as it provides no options, no different storylines to choose from, and no alternative endings.
Furthermore, there are some incestual jokes which may make some players feel uncomfortable, though I’m sure they are meant purely for humour purposes. As well as this, the narrative goes into far too much detail of who’s who, who’s feeling what, why they’re feeling what they are, how they changed their mind and why. It would be better if the tale was allowed to breathe and let the reader make connections for themselves.
This is one of the greatest gifts that writing can do – allow the reader to understand concepts and relationships to a complicated degree, to emphasise emotion between the participant and the product. Sadly, I did not develop this connection to the characters because of this over-explanation.
A Winter’s Daydream on Xbox One is cheap, which helps in its extremely short length of just 3 hours, but I fear that this low price point won’t cover the expensive mistake that this ‘game’ makes. That is, forgetting to become a game at all.