I’ve been entangled in a few British point and click adventures over the years; the most recent of which whisked me away to an island to investigate a murder alongside a talking giraffe named Lord Winklebottom for a rather spiffing time. I was left longing for another similar experience, but now my luck is now in as developers Tall Story Games have brought their game, Lucy Dreaming, across from the PC.
While Lucy Dreaming is another British offering, it appears much more down to earth as it focuses on a young girl in a small town who has frequent nightmares. Well, looks can be deceiving because there’s far more going on in the comedic point and click adventure that awaits.
So, grab a brew and a couple of biccies as I get stuck into Lucy Dreaming.
Lucy is just a typical young girl living in a small British town known as Figgington. And by typical, I mean the kind often left home alone with a sadistic twin who likes experimenting on animals for fun. She also suffers terrible recurring nightmares that subsequently cause a lack of sleep. All Lucy wants is to figure out how to end the sleep deprivation and what trauma caused the nightmares in the first place. Perhaps the answer lies within the dark secrets kept under wraps by the residents of Figgington.
From the very first moment, to the last, Lucy Dreaming nails the pacing of the narrative and unveils just enough to get your mind ticking. You might not pick up on the correlation between the nightmares and the dark past of the town for a while, however it’s quite clever when it all comes together. Despite the seemingly gloomy premise, you’re most likely going to be chuckling to yourself, or grinning at the very least, every minute.
A lot of the humour comes straight from the mouth of Lucy commenting on her current predicament and the inanimate objects nearby. The rest arises as a result of the cavalcade of compelling characters she’ll meet throughout the adventure. Expect amusing conversations with regular folk like a vicar, a pub landlord and a tit watcher, as well as a scouse troll, a variety of talking crabs, and a big cuddly bear.
As for the gameplay, it’s obviously a setup inspired by the fabled LucasArts Monkey Island series. There are instant retro vibes with the cursor crosshairs, on-screen options to look, pick up, talk and use, as well as an item inventory. Fortunately the options can be switched between at will through pressing the bumper buttons, which saves having to select it manually with the cursor each time. The idea is to move Lucy around, interacting with anything and everything in order to further her quest for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Naturally, inventory-oriented puzzles are at the heart of Lucy Dreaming and so you need to grab any items you’re able to. You just never know when a pair of pliers, a toilet brush, or some beetles will come in handy. A large portion of the general problem solving here is fairly logical, but occasionally it’s a bit beyond the realms of normality. For example, it took trial and error to realise I could fix a tire puncture using a pufferfish after it had been de-spiked on a door mat.
Rather creatively, there are also puzzles involving a dream box, which decides the setting for Lucy’s slumber. Depending on the items placed within the box, and other ingenious factors I don’t wish to spoil, the dreams can be altered in order to help you solve issues. These dream worlds also hold the keys to escape the different nightmares Lucy ends up having. I love the idea, but it can certainly prove to be a stumbling block and it’s very easy to be baffled by the alterations required. Much like every puzzle though, paying close attention to what is being said and casting a keen eye on the environment is usually a step in the right direction.
In doing so, you’re more likely to garner further enjoyment from Lucy Dreaming as you notice tons of Easter eggs embedded within the dialogue and lovingly crafted pixel art world. These could relate to hugely popular franchises such as Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or cultural staples like Jammy Dodgers, Calpol, and Tunnocks Tea Cakes. There’s something strangely warming when noticing these; especially if you remember them from your childhood.
On the audio front, the voiceovers are largely great and Lucy is endearing thanks to a broad Northern accent that matches well with the script. My only criticism is that the sound is a bit off for some characters, coming across louder than intended and echoing. The background tracks don’t do much in terms of enhancing the experience, however there is one that sticks out, in a good way, as it reminds me of a bread advert.
Overall then, Lucy Dreaming is a throwback, laugh-a-minute, point and click adventure that’s going to really test your logical and out-of-the-box thinking. It’s packed with dry humour, quick-witted retorts, and, ultimately, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The shed load of popular references and nods to British culture ensure that even in the most surreal moments it’s still relatable. Sure, you might get stuck at a few junctures and become a tad frustrated by the faffing about needed to solve the dream box problems, however the ideas are darn clever on the whole.
If you’re a Brit then you’ll certainly feel at home with Lucy Dreaming, but there are also plenty of reasons for others to embark upon the humorous adventure.
Great read James. I do love a good point & click adventure, the staple diet of games on my Amiga 1200 back in the day.
I’ll be checking this out at launch.