One of our favourite things about curating the Dreamview Weekly Roundup each week is the ability to engineer severe tonal whiplash. Play as a sweet little robot battling sentient office supplies! Journey into the depths of your own psyche and come out shivering. Use quick reactions to throw punches as a cartoon tiger! Telepathically control an alien serpent to do your triangle-headed bidding. Pretty spaceships!
It might sound bizarre to those unfamiliar with the variety of creative imagination present in the Dreams coMmunity - but for experienced Dreamsurfers, this is just another Friday. Here are five of our recommendations to help you enjoy an extremely normal weekend in Dreams.
Slip into the dark waters of your own mind in Setrix, a “cryptic test engine” that needs only ask a few questions to transport you elsewhere. A Dreams-made revival of a concept envisioned by its creator back in 2014, the best way to describe this is as a kind of metaphysical personality quiz. You are given a range of prompts - orange or purple? The Cherry or The Alley? Is agony bliss? - and must then move your thumbstick left or right to select your response. As you progress through the test, a range of curious sliders shift according to your selections, branding your aura weak or strong, your frequency high or low, your psi hazed or focused. Some tricks recall certain elements of games such as Until Dawn and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Setrix sometimes combines your previous answers to pose new, even more abstract conundrums, or sets up a choice with what at first seems like the wrong pair of options, forcing an interpretation. At one point, we pick rain over wind, and begin to hear the soft patter of drops in our headphones. Meticulously crafted from its elegant UI touches to its hypnotic writing, fans of Disco Elysium and the New Weird will adore this.
Yousama97 has been on a roll lately. Just a day after the release of the exquisite The Swan came this starry, stylised depiction of two spacecraft hovering through an alien meadow, far across the outskirts of some strange solar system. Best of all, the colour palette is customisable: you can flick through a range of moods, from burnt umber and clay skies to a neighbouring planet that casts a neon-yellow glow onto royal blue fields. Particularly stunning is the effect this has in-game, as each of the three differing preview thumbnails fade into one another and the scene shifts. This is a creator that knows how to sell a dream.
Qubo’s Quest: Into The Wild#
A recent update adds a whole new world to this charming 2.5D platformer, which now boasts a total of eight levels, four bosses and “one giant cat”. Playing as the titular robot, you’ll start in the office world levels, fighting your way past pin-spitting bulldog clips and face-planting folders, before making it outside where the ultimate horror awaits: Mother Nature. Sheer variety and attention-to-detail elevates a simple concept to something that’s a delight at every turn - whether it’s the ultra-satisfying animation of Qubo’s almighty pencil smacks, enemies living their own little lives in the (often reactive) backgrounds, the imaginative ‘vehicle’ sections that help switch up the flow of levels or the dizzying amount of character customisation unlocks up for grabs.
Heavy Bag Beatdown#
Now this is what we call a strong hook. A strong GAMEPLAY hook, that is. (Sorry.) Part training dojo, part almost-rhythm game, Heavy Bag Beatdown’s active scoreboard is testament to a simple, fresh and absorbing core mechanic: press X to dash up within hitting distance of the teleporting punching bag, and Square to deal a blow and extend your combo. So what? Glad you asked: there’s also a two-second timer that resets every time you strike, so your reaction needs to be quick - but if you try to dash when there’s no room to dash, or hit when you’re miles away from the bag, you’ll be instantly shown a ‘game over’ sting and screen. Fast, furious and impeccably presented, this highly replayable score-chaser is a certified knockout.
Triangle Is Sentient#
Heartfelt thanks to schreppybroepke for recommending Triangle Is Sentient to “anyone who is into both thatgamecompany’s Journey and surrealism” - you’ve put us on to what is surely one of our favourite Dreams creations this year. It’s an unforgettable opening: we pad across an ash desert as a triple-triangle-headed being, and clamber onto a fast-moving rock worm in order to reach puzzle totems. These are activated by us pressing Square to 'sing' (it’s actually kind of a cross between a chirp, a screech and a honk). A wave of light ripples through our head. Believe it or not, things only get weirder and more compelling from there, with these totems leading a path through thoughtful puzzle design, soul-chilling sound work and breathtaking environments - pyramid temples, suddenly shifting walls, still-living stone faces pierced through with pillars. ItsMeJuvy maintains the spell throughout a perfectly judged runtime, introduces some narrative questions in an unexpected latter half - and gives us a world that resonates in our bones.
Want an easy way to view all of these creations in one convenient collection? Check out the playable version of the week's Dreamview Weekly Roundup right here in Dreams!
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