Even in the busiest of seasons, smaller games deserve some attention. In that spirit, welcome to Month of Coverage Club. Come back each day in November for a full-length impressions piece based on a hidden gem you've probably never heard of.
When it comes to dreaming, I'm one of those people that either remembers every detail of a totally whack and strange dream or remembers nothing at all. I've heard of lucid dreaming before, but as a whole, it just seems like a weird concept that'd take a bit too much work to get into. Thankfully Radiant One exists, allowing me to think about the strange world of lucid dreaming without actually doing it myself. So is it any fun?
The game follows a man called Daniel, who attempts to start lucid dreaming so he can do whatever he wants. At first, it's successful, and he has fun flying around with birds. However, things begin to take a dark turn when Daniel starts encountering monsters in his dreams. Soon, the injuries he receives in dreams start to carry over to the real world. Unable to work or sleep, Daniel needs to find out what these monsters are and how to stop them. It's a simple enough plot that manages to entertain, though there's not much in the way of depth or surprise.
Gameplay is rather simple in Radiant One. You can click to move your character around, and there are interactive points in the environment. Usually, they offer nothing more than flavor text that gives a look into Daniel's life, though a few do advance the plot. Sometimes the game will break into a chase sequence where you'll have to rapidly click on the floor to get moving. You'll also have to make sure you're going the right way, and don't do something like lead Daniel into a dead end. They don't happen very often, but it's a fun little way to break up moving around.
Eventually, clicking on things brings you to the other gameplay system: quick time events. When Daniel gets attacked by monsters, he has to follow some simple actions. You'll see a circle on the screen prompting one of four reactions. You either click the circle as quickly as possible, click and hold, click in time with a rotating circle, or drag the circle somewhere else. It's all rather simple, and I never had difficulty performing these actions. This is for the best, as there's really not much else to these quick time events.
All told, the game will take you about a half hour to play through. In fact, Radiant One compares better to a short story or film. It has a very specific thing it wants to do, does it, and gets out. In a way, this is a blessing, as any longer and Radiant One would risk getting annoying. It doesn't quite have the gameplay style or content for much more than its 30 minutes. On the other hand, I would have liked to see things expanded on more. It certainly feels like the concept has good ideas behind it, and it seems a bit of a shame to wrap it up so quickly.
All of this puts Radiant One into a really weird spot. It's a pretty good choice if you're looking to quickly play through something quickly. I'd almost say the best idea is to grab the iOS version and play it between classes or on your way somewhere. In that situation, Radiant One is a good way to kill time. Outside of that, it's a harder sell. The game is a little too short and a little too basic to be worth much, but I think some people will still get a kick out of this short story.
TechRaptor covered Radiant One on PC via Steam using a copy provided by the developer. The game is also available on Xbox One and iOS.