“Join this dreamer as they undertake a journey through their dreams — exploring the unexplored, examining the unexamined, and befriending the not-always-friendly. Explore the dreamer’s world and consider its implications. You will be joined by a motley group of characters who might or might not be helpful, will find treasures that might or might not be treasured, and might even recall those memories that were seemingly too-easy-to-forget.”
At first glance, “Lamplight Hollow” seems to be a RPG with a very standard narration: A teenage girl tries to wake up, but she doesn’t wake up in our reality. Instead, she finds herself in a dream world. Some whimsical characters like a wood fairy named Wilbur in the form of a stick helps her out, so that they can escape the Tutorial Dungeon together. There are some puns, instead of attacking enemies you talk with them, you can heal yourself with soft drinks instead of potions, so yeah, it’s all cute and adorable, but not really something special in the end, right? Wrong.
There are important reasons why the dreamer is not awake at this point. Very soon some shadow figures will pass the way of her and Wilbur, though their mumbled words don’t make any sense in the beginning. One time, one black persona says that they don’t know who they are anymore, another time that they might be too sensitive. It all slowly comes together, as the dreaming girl dives deeper into this odd world: She realizes that her best friend suffers under a bad relationship, where she gets gaslighted.
“Lamplight Hollow” combines a non-violent RPG fighting system, lovely aesthetics and sometimes humorous dialogue writing with educating its players about a serious topic. Each found memory will show a situation, which could be perceived as a symptom of the gaslighting: Believing that you made a decision, though your ‘partner’ has forced you into it, doubting your own freedom as well as your identity, and so on. That way, “Lamplight Hollow” is a wonderful approach of an educational game, where the surface might dislead you in the first moment.