In order to achieve four of the five endings, you'll need to understand the process of collecting memories. When Al Ree goes to bed, he will fall asleep and appear on a randomly selected path (or no path at all, if he has the Devil dream). These paths hold no specific significance but merely serve to transition out of the real world and into an arbitrary dream chosen by the game.
These dreams act as mini-games and most can be completed a number of ways. Depending on how the player plays the game, Al Ree will wake up with either a memory, a memory and a change in the real world, or, in certain cases, no acquired memory at all.
There are four kinds of dreams:
- Illusion (the screen fades to green)
- Happy (the screen fades to blue)
- Cruel (the screen fades to red)
- Rage (the screen fades to orange)
Collecting five of any kind will earn that respective ending (see Endings for info), except in the case of the fifth ending, which will be discussed in its own section.
When most memories are collected, you will receive a notification, "Memory Added," when Al wakes up. Memories are viewed through the menu screen, where you can read Al's annotations for them.
In alphabetical order:
AlleyEditAl appears on a gray street with three Skull Men standing idly by. The player can move to the far left/right exits or to the left and right alleyways.
Illusion: "Urban magnificence, in all its glory." Take the right alley. Al finds himself in a room filled with rainbow butterflies before waking up.
Cruel: "I never liked going left." Take the left alleyway. Al will wind up in a room full of red eye-like targets. When he wakes up, a similar target will be on his wall, which plays a sound when interacted with.
Rage: "Going on wasn't the right way. That was... enraging." Opt out of taking the alleyways and go either all the way left or right.
ButterfliesEditAl finds himself on a path leading to a pillar circled by butterflies. Approaching this pole fades the screen to green before Al wakes up. Interacting with the blue button "escapes" the dream, showing one of two ambiguous quotes ("It's clever, but is it Art?" of Rudyard Kipling or a section of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven) before Al wakes up without a memory.
CatEditThe player control's Al's white cat. A number of savage brown dogs are rapidly multiplying, and the only means of escaping them is interacting with the park's only tree from the front.
Happy: "All is well that ends well... I guess." Escape the dogs via the tree.
Cruel: "Good-night, sweet Prince.." Get captured by the dogs. Al's cat will be dead when he wakes up.
Al begins in a room where the player sees an enclosed, long space with Dad panicking helplessly on the far left and a Grim Reaper advancing towards him via the far right.
Illusion: "Music tamed the savage Death." Al is required to interact with all six read buttons, the first five of which appear on the left and right sides alternatively, and the final in the center. This is a task made much easier if the player leaves through the entrance through which they came, thereby entering a new room filled with more Reapers, and interacts with a flute on the ground. The background will change to music notes and the Reapers will begin to peacefully move towards Al. Returning to the room, the music will have changed, and the once ominous foe now happy follows Al from within its fence. Fortunately, even if this Reaper comes close to Dad, it is too interested in the music to kill him. Finish it off with the buttons.
Happy: "Not even Death. Not in MY dreams." Defeat Death without use of the flute.
Cruel: "When we figure it out, it's often too late." Let the Reaper reach Dad without activating all the switches. Alternatively, leave the room without finding the flute and come back. The Reaper's location will have reset, but heading towards the button mid-progress will often end the dream anyway ("Shortcuts are Devil's ways!").
Dad and CandiesEdit
Al is on a path heading right, surrounded by walls of orange blocks with Dad's face on them. There is a red button blocking the entrance to a room full of candy. Turning around and interacting with the new blue button wakes Al up with a happy memory.
Rage: "In my refuge, blocking out joys so slight..." Interact with the red button.
Happy: "Dad wouldn't have done that without a reason." Interact with the blue button.
Al wakes in his bedroom. Notably this dream does not have a randomly selected path preceding it. By going outside onto the looping cloudy map and left or right (going up and down does not work), a number of purple devils begin to appear, slowly increasing and closing in from all sides.
Illusion: "To die, to sleep..." Get back inside and reach Al's bed without being captured.
"Cruel: Not even courage can save from those..." Let the Devils attack you. The ghostly visage of a Devil will appear in your room, and more will be lined up in the previously empty alley outside the house.
Al is in a Famicom-styled world, filled with a number of floating terraces and ladders suspended over water. You have one minute to find the correct exit through the labyrinth of decoys.
Illusion: "Good game, reach the skies..." Take the first ladder, head left, then right onto the highest platform, and climb the later that leads up into the sky for the illusion memory.
Cruel: "That depth was not worthy looking into [sic]." Take the short ladder that leads to the water. Note that instead of "Game-like," for the memory title, it is now simply "Game."
Rage: "There is nothing as annoying as getting lost." Fail to find the exit in time.
Happy: "The only winning move is not to play!" Turn back at the very beginning, choose "Yes" in the appearing choice window.
Al appears on a large black looping map with four red box outlines. Inside each box is a copy of Mom, panicking beside a flaming stove. Al's head is now a bucket of water. You have forty seconds to extinguish the fire, ample time if you know what you are doing.
Happy: "I don't even want to think what could have happened [sic]." Interact with all four stoves and save Mom before time is up. The stoves are arranged in two rows of two each. Put out two fires, then head down and sideways to find the next two.
Cruel: "..." Fail to save all four Moms in time. When Al wakes up, both Mom's now dead body and the stove will be covered in blood, with Dad left to wonder what happened.
Mom and crowdEdit
Al emerges on a large map filled with obstructing Skull Men. Upon moving, a timer appears, granting forty seconds.
Happy: "The way to the loved ones is often the longest." Reach the bottom and find Mom.
Cruel: "Shortcuts are Devil's ways." Head for the top-right and go up. A demon will dash forward and attack Al, waking him up. A blood stain will be on the bed. Notably this monster is different than the established one of the Devil dream, implying it could be simply a proxy used to dish out bad karma.
Rage: "It was over before I could find anyone. Hate that." Run out of time before you reach an exit.
Al emerges in a lit, balloon-filled space park, which he must navigate in forty seconds. The labyrinthine carnival has a large number of dead-ends, most with traffic barriers, some with Skull Men.
Happy: "At least no one died." Go almost all the way to the top, then right (avoid the dead-end), then up towards the park exit. If you run out of time while standing in the park exit without interacting with the exit, you will still wake up with a happy memory. A blue balloon will appear on Al's bed-post.
Rage: "So many ways, so little time..." Run out of time without reaching an exit. Notably Al will not wake up as soon as time reaches zero, but rather when the interact key is pressed. The former exit at the top will now be literally locked and guarded by Skull Men.
Al starts on a path surrounded by intense patterns. Standing amongst them though obstructed from the player's reach is the Skull Man. Interacting with the blue buttons by the doorway displays a quote, but does not give you a memory.
Illusion: "Real life was put to shame by those patterns." Interact with the blue fence.
One of the trickier dreams. Al appears on a map featuring a multitude of crossroads. The panorama is various galaxy-like shapes.
Illusion: "A road to a happier place, perhaps..." Somewhere on the map, in the lateral spaces between crosswalks, is a number of what seem to be green boots blocking your path except for the one empty space in the middle. This will usually be beside a crosswalk with three Skull Men, if you happen to find it from that direction. When it appears, the crosswalk will disappear. This entrance's visibility is fickle at best, but if it disappears before you reach it, don't worry, as a new crosswalk will spawn somewhere else for you to activate. Walk through the space to enter in a rainbow room, which is traveled in order to attain the illusion memory.
Happy: "At last, a place to rest." Find the empty parking spaces located somewhere in the vertical space between crossroads and enter one.
Cruel: "Ran over... Myself?.." Reach a certain intersection where can be found an Al doppleganger and walk on top of him to obtain the Cruel memory. Unlike the other cruel memories, this one provides a notification.
Rage: "An obstacle as mere as that... Ridiculous." At a number of intersections, there may be gray puddles towards the right side. Walk over one of these for a rage memory.
The last of the notorious troika of Illusion-or-die dreams. Al approaches a building marked with a large blue spiral decal, similar to the print on his home's wallpaper.
Illusion: "I wish I stayed there forever." Interact with the spirals.
Al is taken to a rapidly ascending elevator with a perimeter of ladders. He stands on the left side of a red button. As soon as the player begins to walk, a 30-second timer appears in the top-left corner. Al must make his way around the ladders (presumably difficult for him, albeit an easy task for the player) so the button turns blue, and interact with it in time.
Rage: "I didn't have the courage to do it in time." Let time run out before interacting with the blue button.
Illusion: "New ways, not obstacles." Complete the walk successfully.
The First Four EndingsEdit
Once collecting five of any kind of memory, Al will wake up to changes in his room.
The left wall of Al's apartment has become a source of gleaming light. Al enters it and presumably ascends to a higher state. The player is returned to the title screen.
The Fifth EndingEdit
Arguably the most profound of the endings (some of which can be dubbed downright nonsensical), the Orphan Ending defies the previously established method of beating the game. In order to obtain the last ending, regardless of how many and what types of memories have been collected, you need to let Mom and Dad both perish in their respective dreams and consequentially in real life. Note that the Cat's death does not affect this.