Quick Thoughts On: Labyrinthine Dreams

There’s a part of me – the pessimistic critical part of me always lurking for a new victim to verbosely dismember – which feels compelled to scoff at Labyrinthine Dreams’ optimism and sentimentality. Something in my brain tells me that from a literary standpoint this saccharine monologue told within the dreams of a terminal cancer patient on her death-bed is shallow and driven primarily by the player’s emotions. But what I’ve come to find more and more lately as I’ve begun to take steps to break myself out of depression and hopefully come out the other side a happier person, is…I don’t care what that part of me says anymore.

Labyrinthine Dreams’ may lack nuance and come accompanied by some dreadful artwork (those facial expressions are the stuff of nightmares), but its sincerity and earnestness meant so much more to me than what questionable character designs or clichéd plot points could take away.

Perhaps it’s a tired tale; an expected narrative being directed at people like myself who see themselves so easily in the mundane lives of struggling artists forced to give up on their creative dreams under the weight of a socioeconomic machine. Maybe I’m just looking for reassurance that I’m not throwing my life away by not pursuing a more marketable degree and Labyrinthine Dreams is the relatable, consoling voice I’ve been longing to hear. But then, is that such a bad thing to want? Even if it’s at times trite, does that diminish Labyrinthine Dreams’ message of hope to those in need of it?

This isn’t a review. You’ve likely realized that by now. It’s not a critical interpretation of a work or even a basic bullet-pointed list of pros and cons. It is almost nothing, but in what few words I’ve found to describe my feelings toward Labyrinthine Dreams, I hope it’s clear that it connected to me in a very personal way. It wasn’t deep; I can’t describe it in thousands of words dripping in analogical prose and life stories; I find myself struggling to even write enough to feel as if it could serve as a legitimate recommendation.

All I can say is that Labyrinthine Dreams is honest. Honest about what it is, in its characters, even in its fantasies. It’s solemn and optimistic, that no matter how badly it could go wrong and how much everyone tells you you’re living in a dream, your life is worth more than a paycheck and losing the chance to do what you love. A few years ago I’d have rolled my eyes. Now, this simple positivity has come to mean something deeper to me, and I’m thankful every day that there are people who understand that sometimes all anyone needs is encouragement.


"Quick Thoughts" is a subset of my normal reviews for smaller games which might not fit into a full review but I still have something to say about.
Labyrinthine Dreams was developed by Solest Games and is available on PC via Steam.

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