If you like watching Kyokoon on youtube, you probably have already seen her Let’s Play Dreamtalia series, which was completed recently with a sequel game in the works. I have recently finished watching the last video of her let’s play, so, because the goal of this fan game is to be the “next HetaOni”, I believe I need to give a review. I’m saying this right now, the creators of Dreamtalia have successfully achieved their goal to, not only meet the standards set by HetaOni, but surpass it.
I guess I should start with a summary. Taking place in WW2, the game starts when Italy runs away from Germany to find a pasta plate hidden somewhere in the shrubs. The pasta turns out to be a trap and Italy gets captured by England and America, getting hit on the head so hard he got a concussion. Germany goes to save him and takes him home, where Italy goes to bed to ease his headache. Italy never wakes up. Germany takes Italy back to England and America, demanding them to apologize for causing his concussion and putting him in a coma-like state. However, while there, Germany learns that other people are just dropping in a dead sleep out of nowhere and entering sudden coma states. England explains that it’s the work of the Dream Reaper, and convinces Germany, Japan, America, France, Russia, and China to enter Italy’s dream (via magic) and save all those who have fallen victim. Now the allies and enemies must work together while setting aside their differences to beat the clock and save Italy, and all those who’ve fallen victim before the victims slip too far into their dreams and lose sight of reality; never to reawaken again as their body decays and their minds ascend into their literal dreams-come-true.
Quick side-note: this is your one and only spoiler warning. Watch Kyokoon’s Let’a Play before continuing or continue to read and be spoiled (and no, I’m not making a “spoiler free” version. If you’re looking for a recommendation, then just decide your own opinion from my summary). Also, I’ll be comparing this to HetaOni since this is, again, trying/succeeding in being the next HetaOni.
First, I want to look at the concept. In Dreamtalia, it is life threatening, since all injuries gained from the dream would affect the physical body. That makes it easier to raise stakes while also making it possible for everyone to live. For example, Japan freaks out and the blood vessels near his eyes pop, making him cry blood, both in the dream and in real life. Though it’s ignored by the group in the dream, he is tended to by the Taiwan and Hong Kong and he’s able to be in perfect physical condition quickly. This technique allows the emotional impact of harm or death of a character without really risking the consequence of not being able to use the character anymore. Something else that makes this work is that the real world isn’t seen that much once the characters enter the dream world, so, though the characters talk about the real world, the game doesn’t show what is going on on the outside until it reveals that Prussia abandoned the role of nursemaid and called Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Korea, and I think a few others to fill that role while he enters the dream world after them to help fight.
Next, let’s look at the story. As opposed to HetaOni, where the whole thing is just boring in the beginning, sad in the middle, and just a jumbled, confusing mess at the end, Dreamtalia has a really solid plot. All the detours are realistic, for example, one detour they take is they have to save all the victims even though they’re there for Italy, which get’s Germany more and more irritated the more people he has to save before he can even get a confirmation that Italy is alright. They spent most of the time trying to rescue Finland from his endless Christmas, Canada from his false brother, China from the illusion that he’s only loved because he’s high as a kite, Russia from a freaking stabbing, Austria from (…well, actually Austria is apparently a lucid dreamer so he didn’t need saving from anything), Romano from…you know, I think you get the point. A lot of people are in need of help, who they just so happen to come across while on their wild goose chase for Italy. While there are a lot of detours, they all are natural and force Germany to need to be tactful and patient while searching. All the while, it builds the team together and forces Germany and Japan to have more trust in the Allies, specifically England, Russia, and China.
While I’m on it, let’s go over the character interactions. In HetaOni, all the characters already treat one another like long-standing friends, and in some cases, broke character, especially Italy and Germany. In Dreamtalia, however, all the characters are very natural and don’t trust one another at first. It’s even pointed out quite a few times, in the beginning, Japan questions why they’re even at a meeting with their enemies, then again, later on, England asks Germany if he trusts him and the answer is a blunt, “No, I don’t”. However, if you go the bad ending, then when they all wake up except for Italy, England apologizes to Germany.
All of the character interactions are very believable, however…when it comes to Japan’s miniature character arc…he’s a little out of character. After seeing all the damage they are doing to this world, and watching the Arcana, servants of the Dream Reaper who take forms of their friends and family, all die, Japan breaks down making an unnecessary detour. He begs them to kill him and has to be held down by the German Brothers to calm down. However, because he turns into a zombie and just does whatever he’s told, China and Canada keep Japan away from Germany. It actually feels like a-whole-lot-of-pointless (I do admit that it is a little humorous when they meet the Arcana who masquerades as England and his head get’s literally turned around and Japan blames it on the fact that his eyes are playing tricks on him).
Another thing I want to talk about it England’s antagonistic behavior. Though most people think this is out of character, I actually believe his character is still unbroken. Let’s take a look at everything going through England’s mind throughout the game. In the beginning, England is dealing with being at a major disadvantage, trying to save Canada without knowing he isn’t the host dreamer. After calling a meeting, he’s made fun of for giving a magical answer to a supposed medical problem. Then, once they enter Italy’s dream, England has to talk sense to Finland, who is currently not in his right mind and in a dream of Christmas every day. At the same time, he has to keep Germany from destroying their chances to get answers from the Dream Reaper (which Germany does anyway). Then, when they get to China Town, England has to be partnered with Germany, someone who he doesn’t trust at all and doesn’t trust him one bit. By the time he starts being irritable, antagonistic, and short, England is simply done with doing things slowly. To him, they’ve wasted enough time with China, Japan, Germany, the Arcana, and freeing all the other victims while the host, Italy, is still in need of saving; if ignored for too long, not only would Italy be lost, but (as far as I understand) all the other victims would be more likely to fall victims again. So yeah, I understand England being a little short-tempered half way through to the end.
To sum it all up, Dreamtalia is one of the best games I’ve ever seen a Let’s Play for (since as of writing this blog, the complete game is unavailable for the public to play). I think it’s not only as good as HetaOni, but it’s better. It’s got a few tear jerkers, and unsettling ideas and themes, but it’s one of the most solid stories I’ve seen in a fan game. I wish God-Speed to the creators to finish the sequel. I’m simply excited to see what happens to the characters and how they fix the problem that snuck its way from the dream world. As of now, there are just a few hints in the epilog and a preview for the sequel. It looks like it’ll be centered around America, but I’m excited and hyped to see how they make it right.
Watch the Let’s Play (link at the top) yourself or play it on DeviantArt. Though I’m sure it isn’t the full version, the full game would show up there eventually, I’m sure! If you’ve already seen/played Dreamtalia, then what’s your opinion? Did you love it? Hate it? Do you think the creators succeeded in surpassing the HetaOni place, or is there still something to be desired? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!