The gameplay in Lucid Dream consists of typical point-and-click adventure-style gameplay. You’ll select points of interest on the screen for Lucy to walk to, all while looking out for a variety of clues scattered throughout each world. These clues are sometimes easy to miss, but pressing the Spacebar will highlight the clickable items in green, making discovery easier.
With that older era comes a much more vague approach to the story that I actually appreciated. It is strange how little you are given to know, but the entire time through the game I always felt like I was progressing towards something and getting closer to my final destination. And each area of the game itself feels like it’s own thing while still fitting with the game’s overall theme, from a doomed lab to an abandoned cityscape, and a wasteland in the middle of a war.
The enemies stand out to me and are genuinely creepy. The designs are solid, and I think this is the true winning point for Crimson Keep. It helps that the combat is not too hard or too easy. Admittedly, it takes a bit to get used to the style of combat as there is no aggressive block; instead, a dash.
Also, with its limited camera, the game chooses to tell its story primarily through text messages, with only a handful of cutscenes. The plot won’t be spoiled here, but it is both extremely oddball in its storytelling, and also incredibly resonant to our times and anyone who has ever truly questioned if they were happy with themselves for various reasons as J.J. not only seeks to find Emily but also to come to terms with who exactly she wants to be. All of this is done in surrealistic imagery and some surprising revelations.
... the game is a decent starting point especially for being made by a single man. The imagery is gorgeous, and I respect trying new styles to set the game aside from the countless ones being released. However, there are some major flaws which took away from the enjoyability of the gaming experience.
As with most traditional platformers, there isn’t much of a story here. You play as a knight who hears a beautiful mermaid singing. Before you can talk to her, she swims off. You spend the rest of your adventure chasing after her. It isn’t much of a driving factor, but one isn’t needed because the primary focus is on gameplay.
... Blossom Tales stands tall even next to its legendary predecessor. It starts with its storytelling. Zelda games can get slightly repetitive with the “evil entity steals or harms the princess” arc, and admittedly, Blossom Tales doesn’t stray too far from that.
The puzzles involve a host of mechanics, slowly introduced over the course of the game, mainly centering around terrain being reshaped, much like Play-Doh. The character’s dash ability allows the player to mold the environment to a certain extent in a bid to access previously inaccessible areas.
Even with the restrictive hardware used to make this game, Tanglewood prevails in its overall presentation. Having Nymn run through the forest, hop from branch-to-branch and push boulders feels smooth and enjoyable, while chase sequences are filled with a rushed atmosphere to get the hell away from your pursuer.