Genre:     Adventure

Developer:   Ark House

Publisher:    Forever Entertainment            

Released:    October 2016            

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 900 Mhz
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Graphics: supports all DirectX video cards
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: supports all DirectX compatible sound




By flotsam



Ark House

I can’t make games, and I admire people who can. Regardless, Ghostdream is a very big mixed bag.

It opens with the following script:

“When you die, you normally have only one simple wish - to return and tell them - "Hey, guys - it's OK! No need to feel sad! Cause you know what? It's actually OK on both sides, really." But returning is not easy - the only way would be dreams - "half-dreams" - "ghost-dreams". The problematic part is if you get stuck - you turn into a demon. Hard to say what exactly it is, but we presume it's a painful and useless existence. Better to avoid doing this, really. My personal "problematic part" is that I am already stuck here. No idea how I'll get out this time..."

The “I” is Reader, who (based on the above) is stuck but is on a journey to the other side. He meets Writer, a recurring companion of sorts, and then all manner of ghosts and demons, as well as (among others) Singer, the Mayor (who is also a Clown), and God. Reader is a ghost (I think), but also briefly a tram as a result of losing his body. Obstacles and challenges stand in his way, manifesting themselves in puzzles.

I confess that I don’t think I ever really understood what was going on.

It wasn’t helped by being very wordy, not the words themselves but the way they were delivered. It is one of the very few games that I was glad had subtitles; without them, I would have been struggling. The spoken word has such a strong reverberation, much was indecipherable, and I stopped listening and just read.

What I read was banter writ large, occasionally witty, often quirky, usually bewildering. I mostly enjoyed it, but was no more enlightened by it.

Visually, Reader pulsates, indicative of being an apparition. The rest of the world pulsates along with him, a swirly, surrealistic, sometime almost psychedelic 2D world. It isn’t pretty, not remotely detailed, but it suits the otherworldly events.

Ditto the music.

Then there are the puzzles.

There is one in the middle that just requires you to know the answer to a real world common knowledge question. The fact that the characters joke about the answer being known only because of recourse to a walkthrough is clearly a dig at the hardness of the others.

Most involve identifying and piecing together the clues in the Writer’s ghost book (at least I think it was his) and the environment, and then using them to solve the particular challenge. Now and then you can get information from the character issuing the challenge about the intent. A successful solution will move you on to the next Act. More often than not you will be scratching your head.

I scratched a lot, but enjoyed quite a few of them. Enjoyed in the sense that I puzzled and scratched and thought and tried to understand the puzzle and then worked it out. It is pure brain power – no inventory or anything else. Just work it out. I confess to needing help with one, and the last puzzle eluded me completely. They were hard, so they were frustrating, but I wanted to work them out so I persisted. You will need the same persistence.

Are they too hard? That will be a matter of opinion. Let me just say they aren’t easy.

The hidden light puzzle though is dreadful. I can well see people abandoning the game at this point. It is the most pernickety pixel hunt I have encountered, magnified by the fact that you can’t be sure you have interpreted the clue correctly. You need to find seven lights, and even if you think you know where one might be, the pixel is so tiny you might think you were mistaken, and reconsider your interpretation of the clue. Chances are you were correct, you just didn’t hit the miniscule hotspot. Assuming of course you chose the right curser to start with.

Nothing about this puzzle is fun. In the best Christmas tradition, bah humbug!.

This is also an aspect of the last puzzle, but as I said the answer completely eluded me, so I looked at a walkthrough to solve it.

Some Acts require you to find your way through portals to the right final screen, and along the way you might have to observe things to solve the challenge. God sends you back to do just that. It adds to the hardness.

Made with the AGS game engine, Ghostdream is completely point and click. Left click interacts with the environment, right click cycles through the icons (move, look, interact, speak). You can save at will.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB


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