Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow PC Review

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow puts you into the mind of a scared child running from their fears.

By Elysian, Posted 12 Jun 2023

Children’s nightmares can be some of the scariest parts of growing up. The divide between reality and fiction can feel especially blurry and waking up with memories of being chased through fog or hunted by living skeletons can be horrifying. This is a sensation that runs through the heart of Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is the first game from indie developer Frozen Line, and has taken both story and design influence from great works of fiction like The Little Prince and Winnie the Pooh. Despite the child-like materials the fame was inspired by, it is not a particularly child-friendly story. On the contrary, Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is a challenging and twisted foray into the mind of a traumatised child.

The story follows a young boy called Griffin and his sentient teddy bear sidekick, Burly, as they solve puzzles and outrun monsters in order to stay safe in a dark, nightmarish world. From giant spiders to looming, ghostly hands reaching out for him from the darkness, the obstacles to avoid aptly feel as though they have been taken straight out of a child’s nightmares.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Fantasy, Frozen Line, PC, Griffin, Burly, NoobFeed

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow throws players in at the deep end with no explanation of what is going on. Within seconds of starting the game, Griffin is running for his life, forcing the player to act first and ask questions later. It is the kind of game that you can play with no regard for the story if you are the kind of person who would rather just enjoy the platforming and puzzle-solving elements. However, if you are someone who values background knowledge and you want to know what is happening and why, it is possible to unlock more information by completing small, hidden tasks to unlock achievements and finishing the game.

In short, according to a post on the Steam page, the narrative follows the young boy as he faces many of his fears, including spiders. As a homeschooled boy, he struggled to make friends due to a lack of interaction with other children. His best friend was always his teddy bear, Burly, who he valued as being an excellent listener, and the bear would bring him comfort. Burly’s listening skills play a key component in some of the puzzle mechanics throughout the game.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is a puzzle platformer which shifts through various different environments and sceneries, mimicking the ever-changing nature of a dream. One minute you are exploring your bedroom, then your father's study, then a spider-filled forest. The sceneries are all well-designed, and unique and each area comes with its own unique puzzles and nightmarish elements.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Fantasy, Frozen Line, PC, Griffin, Burly, NoobFeed

The way in which the game jumps between fantastical yet somewhat peaceful scenes to more nightmarish ones is interesting, however, can come across as a bit disjointed. This works in favor of the daydreaming aspect but can make it tricky to follow. It also works against the less memorable sections as looking back on my time with the game while writing this review, I would have forgotten entire sections if not for having made notes. Constantly shifting between new environments quickly draws attention away from the less exciting ones.

Graphically the game is appealing, reminding me of children’s cartoons, which makes sense given the fact that the developers stated they took design inspiration from Pixar and the animated show Star Butterfly. Even so, while Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is interesting to look at to a degree, there is nothing especially unique about the designs. People follow the large head, small body style popular in animation and assets do not stand out as particularly special the majority of the time.

One genuinely lovely aspect of the game is the music and soundscapes in each area. The soundtrack perfectly captures the mood of each different section, setting the emotion of each region and whether it is a scary or relaxed area. The added effects that tell you an obstacle is about to fall into your path or that spiders are around you help to build the scene up into something genuinely pleasant to listen to.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Fantasy, Frozen Line, PC, Griffin, Burly, NoobFeed

The star of the show when it comes to Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is the wide array of puzzles which players will encounter as they go through the game. There is a lot of variety in the puzzle levels and, to me at least, it seems clear that some inspiration has been taken from games like Little Nightmares and Limbo.

The game is able to explore several different types of puzzles. There are standard puzzles that require players to complete a small task like finding an object and returning it to its correct place, a series of puzzles that require you to use fire sticks to move spiders, and a particularly memorable puzzle for me, due to the shameful number of times that I died to it,  which tasked players with hiding behind objects to avoid being seen and killed by a skeleton. A particularly fun puzzle involved taking to the skies on a flying bicycle and avoiding objects as they came crashing down around Griffin.

However, to an extent, it felt like the number of puzzle types almost came at the expense of quality. There were a few puzzles which were very simple, consisting of making Burly do one thing while you do something else and, compared to the obvious effort put into some of the more interesting puzzles, they fell quite flat. Other types of puzzles that were more area specific felt like they were overused, relying on one mechanic for several rooms which removed the need to figure out how to move forward.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Fantasy, Frozen Line, PC, Griffin, Burly, NoobFeed

The stand-out mechanic in Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is the ability to instruct your teddy bear companion to help you when you need an extra set of hands or a place is out of reach. Burly puzzles often consist of throwing the bear up in the air and asking him to drop down a ladder or pull a lever for you. While I can appreciate the mechanic adds a new element to an otherwise standard puzzle platformer, the majority of the time the puzzles are uninspired and seem to just be thrown in there for good measure.

In my opinion, Burly’s role as an emotional support and companion should have been played into more than his role as an assistant. There are some really charming scenes where the bear is riding on a train or acting a little bit goofy, distracting Griffin from the scary elements surrounding him. There are also parts of the game where Burly is not with you, either because he has gone on ahead or for a more nefarious reason. These parts of the gameplay are typically the most interesting, as puzzles are forced to rely more on Griffin and the environment he is in as opposed to whether you can ask the bear to pull a lever at the same time as you.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Fantasy, Frozen Line, PC, Griffin, Burly, NoobFeed

I also struggled with some elements of the platforming. Whether it was the darkness of the levels or the set camera direction, I found that it was quite difficult to gauge the distance between some jumps or obstacles and at times, was forced to die over and over again while hoping that a jump would eventually work. There were also several points where I noticed that Griffin was clipping through the floor which did not help with figuring out exactly where he was in relation to the world around me. This was extremely frustrating for me. Some levels relied solely on you moving quickly through a platforming space and not being able to move efficiently because of not being able to tell how far away an object is made me want to turn the game off and walk away more than once.

Despite this, dying in the game is by no means the end of the world. There are seemingly unlimited deaths and no real punishment for failing an area. The most irritating aspect of dying in the game is that you will reset to the most recent checkpoint. The majority of the time, this was fine and, on some occasions, even reset me slightly further along than where I died. Other times, the checkpoint would be at the very beginning of the room, meaning I often found myself having to redo entire sections just to die again at the very end.

Taking account of my lack of platforming skill and the several deaths that I had to endure, the game is a good length, not too short and not too long. There were points where I was ready for it to be over but each changing scene and new goal reignited my interest in the game. I found my biggest issue came with areas that were slightly trickier as redoing the same puzzle over and over grated on me more than it should have. A quick save button would not have gone unused.

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Fantasy, Frozen Line, PC, Griffin, Burly, NoobFeed

Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow has the potential to be a really interesting exploration of fear and moving past childhood traumas, but it falls short of the mark in its attempts to do so on a mechanical level. I found that my frustration with difficult puzzles or not knowing how to move forward in an area hindered my desire to know what the purpose of the adventure was, though this may not be an issue for players who are more skilled than I am.

Ultimately, Daydream: Forgotten Sorrow is an interesting game with some good narrative elements if you are looking for them. If you are a fan of puzzle platformers then it is probably worth a go, the mechanics are not especially unique but there are some truly enjoyable moments in there. If you are not a fan of the genre, the game is probably not for you. It sticks firmly to its roots very rarely deviating from the model of solving the puzzle and moving to the next room.

Megan Cooke (@mcooke_journo)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Ravenage Games
Developer(s): Frozen Line
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Horror, Fantasy
Release Date: 2023-06-14

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