NOTE: A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for streaming purposes. All thoughts below are my own.
So whenever you rate or review a game, you always want to consider the "game" itself. The genre or what you're actually doing. But here's the big question - how do you "rate" a game when there isn't a "game" to the experience? That's the question we have for "A Winter's Daydream".
A Winter's Daydream is a visual novel game developed by ebi-hime and published on Xbox One through Sometimes You. As many are aware, Sometimes You is known in many circles as one of the publishing companies putting out shovelware onto the Xbox One Marketplace. They're usually quick experiences that really reward you with easy achievements just for completing the game (or even less). Alongside Ratalaika Games, they have quite the reputation on this site.
A Winter's Daydream takes this to a different level. If you've been paying attention, this game is becoming the "Easiest Completion of 2019!" or even "Easiest Xbox Completion Ever!". Why? Well there isn't anything to do in this game. Just continually hit "A" and you'll unlock all of the achievements. There isn't gameplay here. A Winter's Daydream is really just a digital book. Read it or skip it all and you can get the full 1000 GS very quick.
So that leaves us with the question from the beginning. How do you rate such an experience? As a game, A Winter's Daydream doesn't really offer anything to rate. There are plenty visual novel games out there that offer you a lot more. Just as A Winter's Daydream is coming out, Ratalaika is offering a Visual Novel as well called "One Night Stand". This game has options and choice even within this experience. So even comparing it to games with the genre, it doesn't offer much. So let's step aside from the "gameplay" and examine it separately.
If you knew nothing about the game, here's the basic story. You're a college kid who is going back to his home town from the big city (Tokyo). It's your first time home in a while. Only problem is, your sister hates your guts and is making your time home miserable. So you decide to go to an even smaller and more remote town to visit your grandmother. While there, your grandmother by some work of magic turns back into a teenager. Why? Because she wished upon a shooting star.
Given the setting and this premise, you might expect some really uncomfortable anime tropes to show up. Stuff like uncomfortable relationships with family members or ending up in weird situations touching people in inappropriate locations. Good News Everyone! This never happens. The game maintains a more wholesome vibe throughout the story. But is it interesting?
Overall, I just can't say it is. You know roughly what is going to happen before it does. People make a wish or hope for something good to happen. And guess what? That good thing usually happens. It's just a bit cliche.
So where does that leave us with the game? With a mediocre story and a quick completion. If you're looking for gamerscore, this is definitely a title to keep on eye on. But if you want a story based game, there is plenty out there that can offer more both from a gameplay and a story to get invested in.
If all of this review sounds kind of boilerplate and superficial, that's because the game doesn't inspire much beyond what I've said. Without controls or mechanics or a novel story to tell, it doesn't inspire much.