The original Yume Nikki had one ending. You had to spend some serious time with the game to get it, earning every possible effect for Madotsuki. Only after doing so and abandoning them in the Nexus could you have her wake up and earn an ending. Depending on your interpretation of Yume Nikki: Dream Diary’s introduction, it may seem like it picks up immediately after the events of that moment. Fortunately for us, acquiring its two endings are a little less complicated and have a very different tone to them.
Editor’s note: spoilers will follow for both Yume Nikki and Yume Nikki: Dream Diary.
Yume Nikki: Dream Diary’s first ending is incredibly straightforward and rather easy to earn. As you go through Madotsuki’s dreams and complete areas, eggs will appear on doors. There is always one locked door that remains locked until all other doors, save the one to Madotsuki’s room, has an egg on it. Madotsuki will be chased by a being after she leaves her apartment in this dream and have to escape. This means using the key to unlock a door and the umbrella effect to engage in some actually challenging platforming to stay ahead of the creature. This is difficult more because it is dark and hard to tell where the platforms are, rather than having to do with jumps being genuinely challenging. Once Madotsuki reaches the Nexus again, she will find a door that leads to her room.
Here is the encouraging part. When Madotsuki wakes, she is in front of the door in her crouched, upset position. Yet, things are different. The sun is shining outside. We hear birds chirping. When she goes to look over the balcony, she looks out and down, then heads back inside. We see a dreamcatcher, a device thought to catch bad dreams, by the door. While she seems a bit uncertain and hesitant, Madotsuki actually opens her apartment door. It is bright outside of it, and she walks out into the light. Considering the original game ended with her stepping off of the balcony and this began with her seeing herself fall from the balcony to the ground below, it feels like a major accomplishment for her. Madotsuki has come to terms with her trauma in her dreams. She has survived them and decided she now has the strength to leave her room.
But, that is only the first Yume Nikki: Dream Diary ending. There are two outcomes here. Should you head back to the game after beating it once, there is an ending I believe is even more optimistic. Once you have beaten the game, you can reload your past save. If you have all your effects, it is now time to go and collect jellyfish. In the original Yume Nikki, we saw two jellyfish after Madotsuki jumped. There are five jellyfish here, with one in each of the worlds. After you find all five, behave as though you are going to the normal ending. Have your lantern ready. As you walk through this hallway, do not enter the elevator and instead go to the second to last room. It will be open and filled with boxes and Venus symbols on the wall. After touching them, head to the elevator. When you reach the roof, go to the left and touch the Venus symbols you see there. Madotsuki will wake up in the spaceship of Masada, a secret character from the original game. If you repeat his song, he will open the door to a room with a bed for her to go to sleep again.
This is an incredibly soothing scene. Seccom Masada is not trying to hurt Madotsuki. He just wants to play music with her. It is a serene moment in a calm, safe space. After communicating with him, Madotsuki gets an opportunity to sleep again. But this time, it is not in a dark area that is enclosed or trapped. It feels like a transition. While many of her other dreams had this element of violence or horror to them, this one is goofy and lighthearted. It is enjoyable and peaceful. It suggests that she has found a place where she can breathe.
The original Yume Nikki ended on this dark note. A character we had followed for hours relived her trauma and seemingly met an unfortunate end. Yume Nikki: Dream Diary feels like a healing experience. It makes it seem as though the original game was one dream leading into others. That Madotsuki has a chance to grow here. And, based on the two endings, she does come to terms with whatever caused these often unsettling dreams of hers. In one ending, she heads out into the world. In the other, she finally enters a peaceful space. Madotsuki gets the endings she deserves, perhaps giving us ones we want for her too.
Yume Nikki: Dream Diary is available for PCs.