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Yume Nikki HD...in SPACE!

Miserere is an exploration game made in RMXP. It’s not an RPG in the usual sense, though. The game is set in the future, focused on the lone occupant of an old space station. But in spite of this, the game’s actual setting varies a great deal because you spend most of the time exploring your dreams.

Let’s talk about Gameplay!

This game is heavily inspired by the very well-known 2k3 game, Yume Nikki. In fact, it mimics the play style of that game almost completely. Due to their similarities, comparisons are inevitable. Rest assured, however, any point made regarding Yume Nikki is intended to illustrate this game’s similarities and differences with it.

What do you mean they’re similar???

Basically, the whole game is played in RMXP field mode. There are no battles to be fought or anything of the sort (though there are some hostile entities in your dreams). In a sense, this game is nothing more than a giant fetch quest, but that’s not the core of its appeal, nor was such the case of YN before it. This is not a game to be played, but to be experienced.


The game is all about wandering the dream world, seeing different things, and solving the occasional puzzle. That last point is one area in which Miserere differs from its counterpart. YN had a choice few puzzles to solve, though its potential for it was fairly high. It instead kept its focus almost too rigidly on sheer exploration. This is actually something I would praise Miserere for over YN, as it makes it feel more like a game instead of a semi-pointless dream simulator. I write this at the risk of angering YN fans, but the game lacks most features that would qualify it as one. Such is not the case with Miserere, where items found have applications elsewhere in the dream world, and a certain degree of puzzle solving is involved. Some objects have more obvious uses than others, but over the course of the demo, I was able to make use of all but one of the items I discovered.

Aside from solving puzzles, exploration is the game’s main selling point. Like YN before it, the dream scape offers a wide variety of locales visited through improbable means. The maps are kept small and easy to navigate, making the slow walk speed mostly forgivable. This is another point I would award Miserere over YN, as the latter created many tedious moments for itself with looping voids and vast expanses of nothing to get lost in. This game is built not to waste the player’s time, which is a welcome improvement to the original formula.

This isn’t to say it’s completely perfect, though. There were a few issues I ran into while exploring from map to map, most of which involved arriving in a new area facing a different direction than the area I left from. Observe:

Pressing enter at the base of this ladder will take you to a new map.

If you can find where you ended up on this screen, you deserve a medal.

As is fitting for a dream world, the screen edges have a fuzzy blackness to them. This helps create atmosphere for sure, but in cases like the one above, you literally can’t find your character without bungling back into view. This holds true in other locations where the direction you enter the screen from is not the same direction you were heading from the last one. It’s not a tremendous issue, but having to relocate yourself from time to time can be quite jarring, especially if you end up marauding back onto the previous map while trying to find yourself. It can also be unclear where doors are located if they’re on the sides or bottom of the screen.

Anyway, the only other type of play the game offers is in avoiding the few hazards that can kill you. Most of the dream denizens aren’t concerned with your intrusion, but a handful of them will chase you down and murder you, causing you to wake (no such thing as game over). As may be expected, this means four-directional evasive maneuvers. Luckily, dying isn’t a huge deal. You just go back to sleep and try again.

One last point I’d like to make regarding gameplay is the game’s achievement system. Just like the ones on X Box, completing certain tasks will make an achievement icon pop up and record what you did on the achievement screen. While I can appreciate why such a thing would be implemented, I don’t think it really adds anything to the game itself. If anything, it only serves to remove suspension of disbelief, which isn’t a good thing in a game meant to immerse the player. I honestly think the game would be better off without it, or at least without the pop-ups.

Let’s talk about Visuals!

In a game like this, visuals are what it’s all about! It’s impossible for me to say how much of this game’s graphics are custom resources or ripped from other places, but each map has a unique feel and effectively creates its own atmosphere. Locations visited range from surreal to terrifying, the real world notwithstanding.

This place could’ve jumped right out of Silent Hill.

Where YN tended to have simpler, less detailed graphics, Miserere has everything in higher definition. This makes it more and less effective in some ways. Many of YN’s disturbing images were so because of their mysterious simplicity. Miserere leaves less to the imagination, but paints a more accurate picture, and therefore a more alarming one at times. It’s also a lot more intentionally frightening than YN. While much of what can be seen in YN is indeed unnerving, it isn’t presented in a way that’s meant to really strike fear. In general, I was more at ease in YN’s dream settings than I am in Miserere’s. This could be attributed to the latter’s superior graphic detail and higher degree of atmosphere. All I know for sure is that there were some places I genuinely dreaded to explore.


While the game has a wide variety of impressive visuals, there are a handful I was bothered by. Most of them were only in the space station, though.

A quick glance at this image will give you the impression that the floor is made of green metal plates and the walls are wooden boards. Look more closely; it’s actually all floor. The walls are further back with the curtains hanging on them. Likewise, on this map:

This mossy-looking wall is actually a passage to another room. These were really the only places I had any visual trouble, though (besides what I mentioned in the gameplay section, at least). For the most part, the game’s looks are spectacular and really draw you into the different settings.

Let’s talk about Audio!

The game’s music and sound add to the surreal nature of the dream world. They help inspire in the player the types of feelings our protagonist might have when adventuring through these locales. Also, most NPCs you talk to will make different noises. Only a handful can actually speak. For the most part, the sounds chosen fit perfectly with whatever’s making them. This is consistent with YN as well, since interaction with NPCs in that game was also limited to whatever sounds they made when bothered (and stabbing them, of course).

Let’s talk about Story!

Miserere’s story is intentionally left up to interpretation. Most things about it are not directly stated, and you’re supposed to infer things about the protagonist’s state of mind from the contents of their dreams. This was much more the case in YN, where dialogue was nonexistent. In contrast, our avatar in Miserere has their own internal dialogue. They explain their situation in the introduction, but dialogue beyond there is limited to assessment of in-game objects. For the most part, things are stated matter-of-factly, but other parts offer insight into the kind of character they are. In some ways, this defeats the self-insert intentions of the author for the player (ie it’s supposed to be you yourself playing). It’s not without merit, though. It at least helps the player relate to their situation.

I really had no problem with the story or its presentation, but I was annoyed by the number of spelling and grammar errors I happened across. In several places, it’s just a failure to capitalize ‘i’ when the avatar is speaking. There are others, though, and the game could use a good proofread.

Let’s wrap this up!

Although I brought up a number of problems in this review, I don’t find any of them to be so severe as to really hurt this project significantly. It mimics the game that inspired it while improving on aspects of the original’s design. I wouldn’t say it could ever top Yume Nikki, but it definitely has potential, and it’s well worth a look even in its unfinished state. I’d recommend it to just about anyone, even if you tried and disliked YN. The philosophies of its creation make it much more approachable and playable, though the horror side of it may be too much for the faint of heart. I know I pussied out a few times.

I feel that, in spite of being a mere demo, this deserves a 4/5.


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Great review, halibabica!
It pleases me greatly that you seemed to enjoy it. It also pleases me that many of the problems you had with the game is stuff that is easily fixed, and i actually even fixed a few already (such as the ladder one).
The achievement system is something i was not sure about either, actually. I might remove parts or possibly all of it.

Wow, I actually got creeped out looking at those images. Looks pretty well done!
there are so many games of this type i almost feel it deserves to be a genre

what should we call it? mumblecore is taken
I kinda like "exploration games", myself.
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