Everyday the Same Dream is a game about shaking up routines. Wake up, get dressed, kiss the wife, fight traffic, and go to work. Day in, day out, it's always the same. But what if today could be different?
With very little gameplay to speak of, Everyday the Same Dream is an artsy flash game whose substance isn't found in brilliant game design but in a message. We need to break out of our everyday funk. We need to shake up our routine. We need to experience new things and not be afraid of taking chances. Everyday the Same Dream is the video game equivalent of the expression “stop and smell the roses,” only with a far drearier outlook on life than that sentence might suggest.
Drab colors and a soundtrack full of repetition set the scene. With few exceptions, the whole world is presented in black and white. The music accompanying this monochrome world is downright haunting — easily the best video game score I've heard in years. Provided by electronic musician Jesse Stiles, the looped track that fills your ears through every second of play is reminiscent of the better works of Radiohead. It's outstanding – the sort of song that makes you rush out and buy the album.
Each day is the same for the nameless protagonist in Everyday the Same Dream. As the player, you'll guide him through his daily regimen from the moment his alarm clock goes off to the moment he sits at his work desk every day. The challenge in Everyday the Same Dream is to find ways to intentionally break up this routine. You could take a different direction, interact with a homeless man, admire the foliage – your objective is to find 5 things in the environment to interact with over the course of five different days.
The controls in Everyday the Same Dream couldn't be easier – you'll navigate left and right with the arrow keys, and press the space bar to interact with people and things. Everything about this game is intentionally simple and user friendly – again, we're talking about a game that's about a message and not about gameplay. That means keeping everything super streamlined in an effort to get you to focus on what really matters here.
Without revealing any spoilers we can say that the ending is a bit of a confusing let down. While it leaves things open to interpretation it just felt artsy for the sake of artsy, unlike the rest of the game which felt artsy with a sense of purpose. Everything that led to the ending causes a great deal of self-reflection for the player, yet the end fails to do so. It really comes off feeling like an intentionally ambiguous ending in lieu of a good idea. An absolute shame considering how moving the rest of the experience is.
While we were disappointed with the ending, Everyday the Same Dream is an artsy game that we fell head over heels in love with. its simple gameplay made discovering ways to break up the character's day all the more fun, and its visual and audio presentation were outstanding. 'Games as art' isn't a concept that's going to be for everyone, but if you're looking for a game that's going to make you question the way you spend your days, there's no better choice than Everyday the Same Dream.