So after 100%ing this game and finding absolutely everything that you can do in 2 hours (would be under that if I didn't have issues with bugs, as the game just came out yesterday) I'm going to go ahead and recommend it but tell you a bunch of reasons why you shouldn't buy it if you're on the fence. Hang on while I explain.
I personally think this game is well made. I had a prepaid mastercard with 5 dollars left on it, and I looked at "recently released adventure games" and saw this. Being a fan of Yume Nikki and other games like it (because honestly, it's become a subgenre at this point) I decided to take the plunge. Usually I wouldn't put money down on a Yume Nikki fangame type thing because they're usually uninspired and involve a lot of bad game design, but this looked well made based on the screenshots and sold me with the trailer music. It was 3 dollars on sale, so I figured at the worst I could sell the trading cards and make back ~50% of what I spent on it.
First off: If you've played a Yume Nikki game before, this follows the formula to an almost funny extent.
Looping levels? ☑
Weird Alien things? ☑ Drug references?
☑ Hospital Level?
Creepy Eye Motif? ☑ Viscera Level?
☑ Themes of questioning self and regret?
However, if you haven't or the above doesn't bother you by being sort of done before (and I was ok with it, because it was done fairly well) then prepare for a weird platformer with great music and colourful graphics.
Going to get the thing that might change out of the way: The game is horribly buggy. This is semi-excusable because I'm guessing this is this developer's first major release, and I'm making this review a day after it came out. The developer is in the discussion boards taking bug requests and trying to fix them, so this might change in the short future- but if you're buying this game at this very moment... Be aware!
Dreaming Sarah is about a girl in a coma (which should be the game's only spoiler, but isn't considering it's both in the banner ad AND the description for the game) who is exploring her dreaming state. You walk around areas and find powerups to either help you, interact with other characters, or just to have for completionist's sake. The graphics are very pretty, the controls are fluent and simple (but not really instructed in game- I had to just guess what keys did what which only took a few seconds) and the music is relaxing and at times a bit haunting. As shown by my 2 hour play time and 100% achievement completion, the game is really short. Is it worth the money? Well, for almost 4 dollars you can't go wrong, but for 6? Ehhhhhh...
Most games like this are free downloadable titles or flash games you can play, and if Dreaming Sarah was free, I'd be ridiculously impressed and recommend people to play it a bit more. But for more than 3 dollars? It's a fun experience, and if this is the developer's first game released, it's pretty great for what it is. But my main complaint with Dreaming Sarah is that it takes away the essence of exploration usually found in games like this by making it a platformer and not adding enough content.
There's nothing to find, no quirky secrets or easter eggs that have a 1/64 chance of happening (there are secrets in the game, but all of them are so close to the path you have to follow that I'd put money on you finding at least 80% of them without trying), and no real "wow I can't believe how crazy this was!" moments that is usually what makes playing exploration based walking simulators like this interesting. It plays it very very safe, and while it's enjoyable to sit down and relax with, it's not worth 6 dollars to play a game through to 100% for an hour and never touch it again.
for example. It's 15 dollars on PSN, but it's an hour long. But many people claim it to be a great game for the price. Why? Because there's so much to explore and discover, and even when you're done with that you can meet people and have new experiences every time. With Yume Nikki, the gimmick is that while playing you always feel like there's something new that's happening- something weird that just randomly decided to show up. This game feels like an on-rails shooter in comparison, and while the atmosphere is very good, there's just nothing bringing me back.
So all this being said, why am I recommending Dreaming Sarah? Well, on sale it's definitely worth it just for the experience, and I think the developer has a lot of potential in the future. The graphics are very eye pleasing (no pun intended) and the OST is pretty dang good (and you get it for free with purchase of the game) and if worst comes to worst you can sell the steam trading cards or keep them for a cool looking emoticon or background (most of them being well made, I'm wearing one on my profile at time of writing).