puzzles are your thing, this game may be for you.
described by the website thus:
Howard Phillips, a young man whose waking hours are filled with feelings
of dread and despair, but whose dreams are clear, lucid and powerful. Do
these dreams hold the key to Howard’s future? Journey through the
subconscious mind in a quest for self-awareness and truth”.
website also says this:
free to explore dream environments where puzzles can be completed in
different orders and the story progresses according to your choices. The
paths you choose affect which dreams you experience and how the finale
also find collectables, unlock achievements, and will (apparently) play
through one of three storylines depending on the paths you take.
ending unlocked an achievement called “worker”, which was on the basis
that I “finished Dream with a moderate outcome”. I am not sure whether
that relates to my puzzle efforts, my collecting, my achievements, some
combination of all of them or something else entirely. I did however
come back to these things and some of the other elements of the game,
but whatever the other bits, the attraction in this game to me was its
great big puzzles.
are the sort of puzzles where you need to work out what the puzzle is
before you can solve it. Arrive on an island and start investigating
cabins. There are bridges to other islands, all but one of which are
closed to you. How to get them open will depend on recognising and then
solving the puzzle that is the island across that open bridge. If you
are like me, you will spend quite a bit of time opening the doors to
cabins which look a lot like each other and a lot like the cabins on the
initial island, wandering around and poking into the other environmental
locations (there are beach facilities and changing sheds) until,
perhaps, you have an “a-ha” moment, brought on by your meticulous
observation and prodigious exploration. It probably won’t be “a-ha I
know the answer” but it will be “a-ha that must be important” and it
will start the pieces falling into place.
slow-moving tropical American mammal
likely take a long time. It did for me. But that is part of the
attraction. If you want the answer to fall into your lap, play something
puzzles are bigger than others, and some you may recognise in their
mechanics. Some may not be to your liking (there are four mazes early
on which involve some running around and away from things, and one near
the end involves sound and some more running around) but don’t let that
put you off. If you find one you aren’t keen on, grit your teeth and
focus, like you would for any puzzle, and you will get through. You may
even find you end up liking it (I was convinced I wasn’t going to be
able to crack the sound one – once I worked out what it was – but was
pretty pleased with myself when I got it done).
some repetition in some puzzles (the four mazes is probably the
pinnacle) and lots of searching through buildings or environments that,
in themselves, are a lot the same (an office building for instance has
lots of very similar offices and bathrooms, spread across several
floors). This almost mundane similarity and the less than
photo-realistic graphic style does not make for interesting eye-candy or
enthralling locations. It does however put the puzzles front and centre.
one loved the puzzles. I would play it for them alone. Chapter three was
probably my high point, which, given it came at the end, provided a good
pay off. One very big environmental puzzle I referred to above, one
involving a conveyor belt which seemed at first to be a lot harder than
it was, but which turned out to be simple and fun, and then the
(ultimately) satisfying sound puzzle. Followed by a nightmare.
game description says, you are exploring dream environments, and as
everyone knows, dreams can occasionally be nightmares. These nightmares
are not horrifying but they are somewhat freaky, and were very well
done. One involving an attic full of dolls was especially good, and
while it would spoil it to tell you too much, I did have the odd “hair
on the back of my neck stand up” moment.
dreams, the nightmares are conundrums which need to be solved, in order
to wake up and be able to move on to the next dream. Or rather, dream
reluctance to work or make an effort
point let me say I am not completely sure of all the little details, and
will need to go back and play through again to sort them all out, but
here is how the game works.
in your house, a little bleary eyed until you wake properly, and then
you can look around. Some things you can pick up and look at, and turn
around and upside down to examine properly. Some things you can open,
and you will make comments as you go. Turn on lights, or not, ditto the
tv, decorate if you find that opportunity, but ultimately it’s off to
bed, perchance to dream, and then we get going.
“awake” in a blocky lego-like chamber, with floating cubes everywhere
and a central area with a number of pedestals and stands. Some of the
items you find as you move through your dreams will end up displayed
here. I had about half empty, suggesting there were many things still to
there, three concourses lead to what will eventually be three dream
portals, although only one is available at the start. Enter that world,
and get puzzling.
I can tell, one main puzzle will ultimately allow you to have the
nightmare which will be the trigger for the second dream portal to be
available. At least two secondary puzzles are there to be done, or
I say at
least two, because if I missed one I obviously don’t know about it. I
say perhaps because in the first dream, I know I didn’t do one but was
still able to enter the nightmare, but in the third, the nightmare was
only available once I had opened the last bridge, and solving the puzzle
to open the others were precursors to being able to do that.
didn’t do at least one puzzle, I didn’t fill about half the pedestals,
and I unlocked 13 of 20 achievements. My assumptions about my “moderate”
end are based on those results.
having reached the end, I believe I could still go back and enter all of
the dream worlds, to look for things and do remaining puzzles. All the
portals certainly remain available and open at the end, and had I
chosen, I could have re-rentered a world before finishing.
Unfortunately I can’t do that now, having chosen to start a new game.
There is only one auto save slot, and starting a new game erases
everything that went before. Why that needs to be I don’t know. Perhaps
it can be fixed Mr Sloth?
of the seven deadly sins
pretend to have mastered the nuances of the autosave. The spinning cube
bottom right is an indication saving is going on, but I was never
completely sure it was saving mid-puzzle. There were times when I wanted
to exit, but was determined to finish a puzzle in case my progress was
not saved. I confess to being overly cautious, and certainly exiting to
the main menu and not direct to the desktop generates a spinning cube
that suggests whatever you have done will be saved. But in the absence
of an answer to the email I sent the developers, I continued to err on
the side of caution.
alarmed when you choose to continue the game from the menu, and you
start in the bedroom rather than wherever you exited. Just go to sleep,
and then make your way back to wherever you were. It does involve a
modicum of backtracking, but maintains the notion of needing to go to
sleep in order to dream.
played in the first person, although you will see your hands and
forearms at times, perhaps your knees if you crouch, and your toes and
some of your front if you look down. You cast a shadow that is visible
where shadows would be, and you will see your reflection in mirrors. Use
the WASD keys to move, and the mouse to steer, and mouse buttons to
interact with the world.
I had a
very small inventory (not including the items on display), which
included a map or pamphlet relevant to each world, but used none of it.
If there was a purpose to the clock I carried I never worked it out.
mentioned the graphics before and I hope I didn’t do them a disservice.
They were well suited to the creation of a surreal dream-like
environment, and were sharp and crystal clear. As I said, they weren’t
eye-candy, but what they weren’t didn’t matter.
keeping with the dream world, you will also find little scraps of dream
interpretations floating in bubbles as you go, explaining the
significance of where you are or what you are looking at (what does
dreaming of the ocean mean for instance) but you can’t read these
anywhere once found, which is a shame. Can we fix that too please?
respect to the storyline, Howard’s search for self-awareness and truth
escaped me. It was secondary to the puzzles, which took all of my
attention, but I will definitely be going back. The somewhat lengthy and
repetitive discourses were a distraction this time; next time I will pay
closer attention to that aspect.
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB
GameBoomers Review Guidelines