By Chris Picone, 14 November 2022
A fascinating and high quality modern point and click full of British humour about a girl named Lucy, her highly dysfunctional family, a series of nightmares, an unsolved murder, and the mysterious link between all of those things.
I find the protagonist a little off-putting but I think that’s just a personality clash between Lucy and myself. Lucy Dreaming looks great; the pixel art’s gorgeous and has an inarguably retro feel but is detailed in a way that only modern point and clicks can manage. There are a huge range of scenes as we follow Lucy across town from her house and school to a church, the town centre, and even a fete. Better: Lucy’s dreamscapes – a comedy bar for plants, a world made out of bread, and a series of nightmares – are all full of quirky characters, loaded with detail, allow for fantastic variety in both scenery and puzzles, and really make for a fantastic, unique game. Lucy Dreaming is also fully voiced, which helps to really make it feel alive.
Controls are standard for a retro point and click: Look, pick up, use, and talk, but Lucy Dreaming does a better-than-usual job with its modern quality of life features. For example, clicking use on a person will still prompt a dialogue and repeated tasks are often simplified – the first time you try to leave the house, Lucy won’t go unless you dress her first. Later, you get a map for fast travel, and if you try to leave while she’s wearing her pyjamas she will just get dressed and then go. They’re simple features but prevent the retro interface from becoming frustrating. Lucy Dreaming is surprisingly large in its scope: There are far more and bigger locations than I was expecting, you can click on almost everything, and while there are a few red herrings (it wouldn’t be a point and click without them), there’s no filler content. You’ll gather the expected assortment of oddball inventory items, which can also be used in combinations in many scenarios. I think the game’s best feature is that the items from your dreams carry across to other dreams and your dreams are also influenced by your actions in the real world. The interactions are quite clever and make for some really enjoyable and memorable gaming moments. Most of the puzzles are fairly easy – there are a few challenges but they’re all solvable logically and none require pixel hunting.
Lucy Dreaming is predominantly a comedy, although being British humour it’s rather dry and subdued so you probably won’t laugh out loud but you will find yourself chuckling quietly throughout the game like I did. I can happily recommend Lucy Dreaming to anyone looking for a modern point and click adventure. It’s a great entry game for those new to the genre but also offers plenty for us point and click veterans.