Dream review: discovery at its finest
From the moment you enter Dream, you find yourself wanting to know more. Dream is a game where you enter Howard Phillips' abstract dreams to solve puzzles, find secrets, and decide Howard's future. You'll navigate Howard in and out of his dreams, and even nightmares, to discover who he is.
Dreams make anything possible
Dreams have always been fascinating to me, and a game that explores the nature of them is certain to catch my eye. This game does a great job at nailing down how dreams are sometimes.
One moment you're wandering around a rocky, wasteland, the next you're completing an experiment to trap an aggressive smoke monster. Random objects from Howard's life, such as a robot toy, make their way into his dreams.
Piles of things that don't belong, like computers or wires, appear in the his dreams. This is something that would happen in real dreams and makes you wonder what you'll see next. The scraps of paper you find are interesting as well as they describe what certain things in dreams mean. It is clear that the developers did some serious dream interpretation research.
What Dream does best is make you want to explore the world. There are many side dreams and objects/dream interpretation to collect. You never know what around the corner, and that's exciting! I could spend hours just wandering around seeing what the game has to offer.
At the time of writing, there are some bugs/glitches still around that make it hard to progress, and you might have to start a dream over again, but the developers are taking care of these. The good thing is that these bugs rarely occur, so you might not even run into one.
Nightmares will creep you out
Something I was not expecting in this game is a nightmare, and there are multiple. These nightmares are very creepy because strange things can happen in dreams. This adds a horror element to the game which is, in my opinion, scarier than most dedicated horror games.
Just like in the normal dreams, you never know what's going to happen next. I had to stop to compose myself multiple times before finishing a couple of these nightmares.
The original music composed for this game positively adds to the atmosphere, and the nightmares are no different. I had to turn the music down during some of the nightmares, not because it was bad, but because it was so creepy!
This gives the game even more merit, to have the sense of wonder and exploration in dreams and have a strong horror element present via nightmares.
Puzzles that make you think
You thought this was only about exploring and being creeped out by nightmares? Well, there are plenty of puzzles and achievements as well. Puzzles are at the core of this game and they truly make you think sometimes. Many of them also involve exploring to find the answers.
This game does a good job at balancing the types of puzzles you see, depending on the situation. Again, this becomes a problem if your game glitches. I was wondering around a dream for a while before realizing my game was glitched and had to start it over.
This is a problem, but at least you can still redo the dreams and nightmares, and you don't lose overall progress. This does take away from the game a little, but most are getting fixed constantly so the problems could be gone within a week.
Keep coming back for more
The game has 3 endings yo can get depending on how you play, and you'll want to see them all. If the puzzles in the game are challenging enough by default, there are achievements you can try to complete that make the puzzles much harder.
There are many hidden objects to find that mean something to Howard and the game, as well as dream interpretations. I would explore the game just to find these interpretations because they are so fascinating.
Dream presents a unique experience for fans of the genre and games in general. Even though you could encounter some bug/glitches, it won't take away from your overall enjoyment of the game. Dream is available for Windows PC on Steam.