Happy Friday! The day of the week that heralds the glorious return of the Dreamview Weekly Roundup. Yep - that’s the unmistakable whiff of Friday, clear as anything, fragrant as a cartoon pie sitting temptingly on a windowsill. Big wiggly stink lines coming off it, the works.
It’s Thursday, you say? Well, that’s embarrassing. Another calendar issue at The Impsider HQ, perhaps? Oh, no - it’s actually just because it’s a UK bank holiday tomorrow, so we’ve been told to publish the Roundup early this week.
Anyway, whatever this smell is, it’s probably got to do with the five meaty recommendations we’ve got for you - there’s gameplay galore to keep you well occupied over the long weekend. Go ahead: huff that delectable pong right up your nostrils and allow yourself to float, like a cartoon goofball, towards its gamey source.
Sammy Seal: The Sky High Potato Murder#
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a well-constructed detective game. Sure, it helps if they’re lovely to look at - and Sammy Seal: The Sky High Potato Murder is definitely that, painting cel-shading over 3D models to create a sharp, colourful and characterful art style. It’s a plus, too, if the characters’ style and personalities compel you to pump them for info - not just to solve a mystery, but to learn more about a grinning loan shark, a worm wearing a turtleneck, or a stitch-inducingly funny turkey artist. Oh, and a killer soundtrack helps (props to ElDavisimo for the playfully jazzy tunes).
Even after all this, however, Sammy Seal’s most impressive feat is just how much it manages to make you feel like you’re actually deducing the crime for yourself. An open-ended structure allows you to collect clues and interrogate at your leisure, before deciding when to call all the suspects to the parlour for your Poirot moment. Incredibly, there’s a canon ending cutscene for every single accusation you might want to make - meaning that, much like in recent Kaizen Game Works whodunnit Paradise Killer, the truth is what you make it. Fans of Frog Detective, Professor Layton, Tangle Tower and Dreams’ own Pig Detective series will want to inspect this one closely.
Sega and SNK, eat your hearts out. The first iteration of JackyPrower’s isometric space shooter is a thrilling callback to the glory days of the arcade - press touchpad to insert coin, indeed - and although this is just one slice of the full game to come, we’re already hungry for more. As the screen scrolls and our ship glides like a hot jet through butter, we hold the square button to unleash regular fire on enemies, and tap the cross button for double shots. There’s an element of risk to holding it down to charge a more powerful shot - but you’ll need to chance it, as a variety of inventive mini-boss enemies enter the fray. There’s a fluctuating arena to contend with, as hexagon barriers pulse up and down, requiring you to time your movements. And if you think the setting is changeable, wait until you meet your final foe.
One of our very own Molecules, a twisted genius capable of constructing a solid-gold pair of puzzle-based handcuffs? It’d almost be concerning if it wasn’t so entertaining. GRIPGOLD is an inventive first-person escape game: you play as a naturalist who finds herself in a curious cavern with a strange device strapped to her hands, mirroring your grip on the controller in real life. (If you’ve ever played PSVR game Statik(opens in new tab), you’ll be familiar with the idea.) To free her, you must use gyro controls to aim beams of light at crystals, tap out musical codes, ignite a lighter and just sort of wave a gun threateningly at a puzzle at one point. Fortunately, you’ve got the heroine’s own narrated memories of her adventure to guide you through each action in order, and a robust optional hint system ensures you’re never stumped for too long. Still, this is no walk in the park - more a sit in the dark - and it turns out there’s something trapped in here with you, too. Gulp. Remind us to never ignore Andy’s emails.
It's a breeze!#
The Impy-nominated Breakthrough Dreamer goes from strength to strength with their jam entries. Their latest interactive folly, created for the Idioms jam, has the player trying to keep a balloon afloat while guiding it through a maze filled with pointy (and sometimes fluffy) hazards. The controls are slightly complicated, but that’s exactly what makes this so fun to contend with. You’ve got four wind nozzles, one for each edge of the screen and activated by pressing the corresponding D-pad button; you use the left thumbstick to move them into position, and then R2 to blast some air at the balloon. The whole thing becomes a frantic, Flappy Bird-style game of keepy-uppy, as you finesse your inflatable hero through levels with various idiom-inspired threats (storms in teacups, anyone?). Contrary to its title, it’s a challenge just to make it through unpopped - trying to do it fast enough to place on the scoreboards is another thing entirely.
Chip Off The Old Block#
Sokoban, but with butts. SOKOBUTTS. Alright, it’s a bit more involved than that - but from the moment we select ‘start’ in Chip Off The Old Block’s menu and watch a bright little block cheerfully moon us, it’s clear we’re in for a treat. Now-regular collaborators Vince and ghost make for a formidable team, combining their design chops to produce a puzzler that is as thoughtfully paced and devilishly clever as it is brimming with charm. The gradual introduction of new mechanics means it’s easy to follow along with the game’s logic: trigger zones good, holes bad. Having a buddy is useful to avoid holes - but best to ‘stick’ to them in exactly the right order if you need to activate a trigger zone with a particular block formation. On it goes - with level titles often providing subtle clues as to solutions, in a similar manner to fellow Sokoban title Baba Is You. Was Baba’s backside so lovingly rendered as those of these saucy squares, though? Was it heck.
Check out the playable edition of this week's Dreamview Weekly Roundup right here in Dreams!
Which creations caught your eye in the Dreamiverse this week, and why? Tell us about your personal picks over on the official Dreams community forums!(opens in new tab)
The Dreams User Guide is a work-in-progress. Keep an eye out for updates as we add more learning resources and articles over time.