More of this, then. Yes, more! Extra! Additional. Nobody ever wanted less of anything, after all. It’s the age of abundance, baby. Can’t think of a single thing we’d want less of. Apart from active wasp nests. Just punt all of those into space. Bagsy not it!
Anyway, yes, more of this. “This” being - in case you forgot the last one hundred and thirteen times - the Dreamview Weekly Roundup, in which we write five reviews of five excellent creations you can play in Dreams, and not six reviews of five creations, because that would be ridiculous.
But it would also be… more. Oh, we look very silly now, don’t we. Better bring all those wasp nests back, in the interest of fairness, and once again we cannot stress this enough: BAGSY NOT IT.
Estimated playtime: 45 mins
Ball pits are fantastic, no question. But tomt1er has managed to take everybody’s favourite childhood multisensory experience (well, apart from shoving crayons in one’s nose, mouth and earholes) and turn it into a surreal digital platforming experience for all ages. Here, you’re actually playing as one of the balls - and you’ve got superpowers. Different buttons allow you to jump, glow, boost around and even alter gravity, as well as gather your spherical brethren around you like a gang of limbless hoodlums.
Your mission? To use boost pads, giant fans, and your own abilities to collect the five letters of the word ‘BOUNCE’ scattered around each differently styled, unexpectedly gorgeous arena. It’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater by way of soft play - and with an expertly curated soundtrack of lo-fi jams, a playable visualiser that captures all the magic of splashing around in a ball pit without the associated biohazards.
Estimated runtime: 30 seconds
While we’re a big fan of the results Johvork can produce with a tight, controlled sculpting style (remember Crocodile Dreaming?), it’s glorious to see this talented artist deliberately let loose. All sketched out in one relaxed, deadline-free sitting, these portraits are incredibly expressive. In an approach that truly feels close to the spirit of Dreams, with nothing more than roughly stamped and carved shapes and carefully placed light sources, Johvork produces faces that are arresting, memorable and naturally alive - proving that you don’t always need realism to communicate character.
Maybe a bit too much character - anyone else feel like they’re getting a cataclysmic amount of side-eye from this lot? Perhaps we’re just particularly worthy of judgement.
Estimated playtime: 1+ hr
Hot on the heels of a general renewed interest in what we like to call “games where you try to climb as high as you can, before making a small slip-up that causes the developer to set your metaphorical house on fire and laugh as your tears turn to ashes” is danshyboy’s latest. You’ve got a double jump, a run button, several hundred pieces of floating trash and a dream, as you try to guide your understandably worried-looking avatar to the summit.
The premise is well-trodden ground: if you’ve played Only Up or Bennett Foddy’s Getting Over It, you’ll be familiar with the struggle, and recognise danshyboy’s sneaky level design tricks to increase the platforming challenge the higher you climb. But Fumbling Up also brings its own point of view to the table. The creator’s distinct, neurotically fuzzy art style lends a visual kind of nervousness to proceedings; crunchy sound design makes us hyper-aware of our movements - paranoid, even about making certain leaps of faith.
There’s a subtle narrative woven throughout this junkyard scramble, perhaps… Well, alright, there’s no need to throw things at us for doing our job, just because you’ve fallen off a pizza peel for the 87th time. Relax. We’re sure you’ll make it up on your next go. Or the next one. Or the next one. Or the next. Or the next. Next one.
Catcher In The Sky#
Estimated playtime: N/A
When you’ve put so much effort into creating a scene stuffed to the space-gills with animated charm, why not give everything its own personal close-up? Thankfully, NearRivers knows we want to poke our nose into every part of this scene, so you can hit a bumper to access a new camera angle - and a new view on the story.
Big picture: a gaggle of space cadets are cheerfully working away, mining a planet of its resources. A couple of them, however, haven’t yet noticed the massive flying saucer that’s about to cause a health-and-safety incident. Things get even funnier as you start to flick through each view of this toylike animated setup, each reveal a new gag: every cadet has their own hilarious agenda, from the one using the giant hovering distraction for a cheeky five-finger discount, to the poor soul having a mini-meltdown in the rocket.
STEEL WARRIORS 2023 - Robo Battle
Estimated playtime: 30 mins
“Happy upgrade”, indeed. STEEL WARRIORS has come a long way since its first outing in 2021, and even its 2022 instalment: this is now the definitive mecha fighting game in Dreams. While it’s always felt satisfying to throw a truck-sized punch in this rowdy Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots challenger, the finer details of the experience have now been brought up to the same standard - including a camera that you don’t have to wrestle into submission.
The fundamentals remain as compelling as ever: your rig is nimble, with rangey melee attacks to poke away at your Centauri opponent’s health bit by bit, while the Centauri is slower but capable of flattening the soft part of your skull with a single swing of its axe. The disparity in your and your foe’s HP is great, but nonetheless well-balanced; you really get a keen sense of playing the scrappy underdog, making it all the sweeter when you finally bring the Centauri to its knees. Huge visual and quality-of-life improvements make this a triumph two years in the making - a reminder that even the biggest targets fall with enough persistence.
Check out the playable edition of this week's Dreamview Weekly Roundup right here in Dreams!
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