Lamplight Hollow

“Lamplight Hollow” by Luciano Sgarbi, produced and presented by Jennifer Ann’s Group.

“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 role-playing game with a very standard narration: A teenage girl tries to wake up, but not in our reality. Instead, she finds herself in a dream world. Some whimsical characters like the stick shaped wood fairy Wilbur 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, it is all cute and adorable – but that is not what makes this game so special.

There are important reasons why the dreamer is not awake at this point. Very soon some shadow figures will pass her and Wilbur’s way, though their mumbled words do not make any sense in the beginning. One time, one black persona says that they do not 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.

The game combines a non-violent combat system, lovely aesthetics and sometimes humorous dialogues with educating the players about a serious topic. Each found memory will show a situation, which could be perceived as a symptom of the gaslighting; like believing that you made a decision though your ‘partner’ has forced you into it or doubting your own identity. This concept makes “Lamplight Hollow” a wonderful approach of an educational game, where the surface might dislead you at first. [PLAY]