Bedtime Stories is a pretty, yet flawed hidden object experience

Bedtime Stories comes with an interesting premise, or at the very least, a unique one. It’s the Christmas season, but you’re the only person in your family that’s in the mood to celebrate; everyone else is in a state of constant depression. It turns out that each family member has been cursed with an unobtainable dream, with the curse only being breakable inside each person’s subconscious. You’ll enter into these dreams in an attempt to break the curses and bring happiness to your family, but will likely lose some of your own happiness while actually playing the game.

 The Lost Dreams

While the graphics in Bedtime Stories are one of the game’s major bright spots, containing cute cutscenes and some environments that are reminiscent of the Drawn series of games, the gameplay itself is incredibly disappointing. It’s a basic mix of hidden object scenes and point and click adventure gameplay, with the occasional puzzle thrown in for length. Unfortunately, most of the in-game text (which disappears automatically, whether you’ve had a chance to read it all or not) is full of broken English, and the hidden object scenes often contain misleading object naming. That is, you may be asked to find a “cylinder,” which turns out to be a top hat, while a “purse” is actually a wallet in the scene, and it only gets worse from there.

Outside of hidden object scenes, the hint system will only show you the hotspots you’re supposed to be interacting with, so if you’ve yet to gather the materials you need to move on, it won’t help you find them. While this higher difficulty level is an option in other, better hidden object games, this isn’t a case where the greater degree of difficulty is appreciated. Instead, it’s a case where you’ll spend far too long investigating the small nooks and crannies of every location, trying to find that final wooden board or pencil that you only have a vague idea even exists. The only saving grace comes when looking at a completely finished environment, as using a hint in these locations will tell you that you’re done with that particular location. Through a series of trial and error, you’ll eventually be able to make your way through the game, but no game should be as unintuitive as that.

 The Lost Dreams

Adding insult to injury, you can freely go back into different hotspots, which is misleading at best. That is, if you’re allowed to go back into a scene, you’d likely believe there’s still something there for you to collect or interact with, but this likely simply isn’t the case. Furthermore, the in-game journal updates after you’ve found items, rather than updating with any clues as to where to go next. All in all, this is a confusing, misleading experience that suffers where it matters most: in the gameplay.

While Bedtime Stories deserves credit for trying something different in a world of gloomy, ghost-filled hidden object games, there just isn’t enough polish here to warrant a purchase. The gameplay feels unfinished, as though the hint system were supposed to be more helpful than it is, but the developer simply forgot. If you find yourself with a desire to play Bedtime Stories, this is definitely one to try before you buy.