I can’t make games, and I admire
people who can. Regardless, Ghostdream is a very big mixed bag.
It opens with the
“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
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
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
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD Radeon
RX 470 8192MB
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