TRAUMA is an indie game developed and published by Krystian Majewski. TRAUMA tells the story of a young woman who is recovering in a hospital after a car accident that occurred late at night. When you start the game you are given four choices for dreams to explore within the young woman’s mind. The dreams are made up of a photographic landscape, meaning that instead of moving around the area with the keyboard, the screen rotates as you pick a different angle. Every time you click to change your angle a camera shutter sound plays as the previous photo fades away allowing the new one to take its place. While moving around her dreams you will encounter smaller photographs within the landscape that are collectible. By collecting these photographs you learn more about the young woman’s past and gain abilities to help you move around the area easier. For example; to zoom out of a photo and get a better look around your surroundings you would draw a vertical line downwards. You can learn other abilities by seeing the symbols inside of the areas on objects. The brush and trees in one dream have an orange glowing Z shaped symbol. By using drawing this symbol you can cut bushes that get in the way of your path.
While you move through the areas the young woman will narrate your actions and recollect memories. Looking at a diner in one of her dreams, she commented on how she used to eat there while she was in law school. When I collected a photo of a teenager staring at a computer screen looking exhausted, the she commented about how this was a picture of her writing her thesis, noting how she barely had time to leave the house that week. The voice acting for this game is great. Although she doesn't say pages and pages of dialog, what’s there is performed very well. The young woman’s voice, mixed with the chilling music captures the mood perfectly, giving you chills at times. Upon solving the puzzle for the dream you’re greeted with a beautiful cutscene showing the young woman in a hospital bed, covered in bandages talking to her doctor about her condition and when she can plan on getting released. Each dream has one main puzzle that you can solve and three optional ones.
TRAUMA is a short game, which can be completed in around twenty minutes and a little over an hour if you try to collect everything and complete all optional puzzles. Although the game itself is quite short, the ride it takes you on and the emotions you feel from it will stay with you. When I first played through TRAUMA, I rushed through it, listening to the young woman talk but not paying attention to the stories and messages she was trying to tell me. TRAUMA isn't a game so much as it is an experience. By traveling through the dreams of this young woman you learn about her life and herself as a person. For TRAUMA, the ride getting to the ending is just as, if not more important than the ending itself. By playing through the game a second time I collected every photograph available and really soaked in every piece of dialog thrown at me. This made for a much richer experience and deeper story, allowing me to learn all the little details about the young woman. TRAUMA is the perfect game for those looking for a short game but very intricate story. Although you might not fully understand all of what the young woman is saying the first time through, or even a second time through, the game is short and easy enough to allow you as many times as you need to understand what the young woman is saying to you.