Bad Dream: Fever is the second installment in the Bad Dream series, with the first being Bad Dream: Coma. Both games are developed by Desert Fox, with the second game being published by both PlayWay S.A and Ultimate Games S.A. A classic point-and-click adventure game, Fever does have some potential but is marred by aggravating gameplay and a story that seems to think a bit too highly of itself. In a genre that is generally light on the mechanic's side of things, these issues make the game feel more like a chore to play than an experience.
Bad Dream: Fever is available on Steam for $9.99
Warning! Below are spoilers for the game's story. If you wish to play the game yourself, please skip ahead to the gameplay section.
Fever throws the player right into the game, with the player waking up in a strange bedroom. After you find a way to break out of the room, you meet a strange woman who warns you about rushing out to the outside world. She tells you that the world has been infected by a mysterious plague that changes their blood to ink, killing them. She has been working to find a cure, and after you agree to help her she gets you ready to go out into the world safely.
Generally I try not to spoil a game's story, but seeing as how this is one of my main issues with it, I will break this rule in this instance. To put it frankly, the game breaks the 4th wall at a certain point, revealing that “oh you were in a video game the whole time!”. And the game really likes to pat itself on the back as being clever for doing this.
While I’m far from against this manner of storytelling, I can’t stand games that act more clever than they really are. After the point where the game enters the 4th wall break, it constantly reminds you “HEY YOU ARE PLAYING A VIDEO GAME GET IT?”. The main concept feels more like the creators trying to throw shade at other game developers rather than trying to make a good story, and it shows in the gameplay as well. The most disappointing part is that before all this the game actually had a halfway decent narrative going on.
Fever is a classic style point-and-click. You pick up items and solve puzzles to progress. As such, the ultimate stress test comes down to the logic used in making the puzzles and how to solve them. Make it too straightforward, and the game becomes more or less a drawn-out visual novel, but make it too obtuse and players will get frustrated and quit. Unfortunately, Fever does not score well when it comes to this.
There are two main issues when it comes to the gameplay of Fever. The first and most glaring is the way items work in the game. When you pick up an item, you don’t equip it and use it, but instead it just switches the reticle image to the item to confirm it is the right place to use it. This takes a lot of the critical thinking aspect away from the game and in many cases, makes the game too easy.
Another issue is the fact that items can only be picked up in a certain order depending on where you are in the story. This may not seem like a huge issue, seemingly done to avoid confusion, but it winds up causing a lot of frustration. When you try to pick up an object that seems like an item but can’t, you wind up ignoring that area going forward, so when you actually can pick up the item, you are busy searching literally anywhere else for what you need to move forward. While some cases certainly aren’t as severe as others, it happens so much it seriously hurts the game.
A positive point of the game would be that it does play around with its concept to make some interesting puzzle solutions. For example, there is a point where you try to find out who created the game and the solution is to actually go into the pause menu and look at the credits. If the game did more things like this it would have been better off as a whole.
Graphics and Sound
The game has a hand-drawn art style with a muted sepia tone. The art style in the game is nice, if not innovative, with things being consistent, even when the story starts to take some weird turns. Probably the best part of the game is the way the ink splotches are used. They contrast very well with the rest of the art and makes it very clear that something is wrong with the people and areas that are covered in it.
Sound-wise the game is fine. It does nothing amazing, but also doesn't do anything bad. Probably the main highlight of it would be the effects used when the 4th wall breaks happen early on in the game, which gives a nice sense of horror. Sadly, this wears off as the game keeps driving the concept down the player's throat.
I wanted to enjoy Bad Dream: Fever, as someone who likes both story-driven experiences and the classic style point-and-click genre. But the more I played the game, the more I just got irritated. Frustrating item mechanics and a story which begins the feel pretentious as you go forward. I personally cannot recommend this game, as there are much better options for players, both on Steam and for free on sites like Newgrounds.
|+Good art style||-Frustrating item mechanics|