You again, Thursday? We must stop meeting like this. Our regular Friday Roundup appointment is bound to get jealous.
Still, there’s something alluring about a Thursday. All the anticipation of a Friday on the way, none of the pressure of having to vicariously enjoy it. Leonardo da Vinci was born on a Thursday! Pac-Man launched on a Thursday! The day is named after Thor, god of thunder, for Pete’s sake. Who wouldn’t get hot under the collar at the prospect of a Thursday?
Alright - just one more Thursday Roundup, then, featuring five excellent Dreams creations for you to check out this coming weekend. Don’t tell Friday.
Estimated playtime: 1 to 2 hours
No relation to fellow box-based indie wonder Patrick’s Parabox, as far as we’re aware. 3D puzzle-platformer Para-Box’s clever, and mildly macabre, core mechanic is presented in delightful fashion. Press the triangle button, and your sweet little cube character is able to stamp into a level the empty shell of their own body - the light even leaving their eyes as they do so! - before respawning. You’re then able to use this past remnant as a platform to clamber to higher ground, to hold stairs up or doors open, and more besides across 20 levels. The catch? You’ve only got a limited number of clone-corpses to use per level, so you’ll have to be savvy about when and where you use them. Breezily paced, and with several smart twists on its engaging central concept, this challenge brings new meaning to the term ‘boxing clever’.
Estimated playtime: Replayable
Pool: great game. A classic. No arguments there. But you know what’s not great about pool? Having to play it in a busy pool hall filled with hollering punters, TV screens as far as the eye can see showing distracting, horrible sports that aren’t ‘the beautiful game’ (pool). Thank goodness, then, for loarchie, who’s solved all of those problems by creating this stunningly rendered pool game set right in the centre of the open ocean. Bliss. Waves lap gently at the sides of the arena as we line up shots, and seabirds swoop by; there’s something very zen about feeling out the perfect strike, having to move the thumbstick not just backwards but also forwards in our attempt to hit the ball at just the right velocity.
Estimated playtime: Replayable
PLAYZONE exudes what you might call ‘peak Dreams energy’, and is something we might best describe as an extra-haunted Garry’s Mod. You’re plonked in front of four doors leading to four discrete arenas - a swimming pool, a suburban neighbourhood, a circus and a non-descript cube. These places are painted with huge lettering advertising ‘NPCs’, ‘OBJECTS’, and of course, ‘PLAYZONE’. Underneath, red orbs with various labels line the walls; you soon find that walking into them causes a variety of things to occur, such as colour palette swaps, musical accompaniments, or skeletons that follow you, hovering over your shoulder like anxious soap-shop employees as you interface with more orbs. The result is a kind of demented horror-comedy sandbox that produces endless surreal anecdotes. Ever tried to lead a 20-foot-tall T-rex into traffic while dodging scorpion stings to a soundtrack of light jazz? We have, and it was hilarious. And it gets better the more you poke at it. As our own content curator Jacob so eloquently put it, “There's a uniquely horrifying pleasure in sprinting through all the red orbs at once and the entire map having a rabid freakout”. A brilliant change of pace from PickleWickle0’s more linear horror releases - this is a whole different, much funnier flavour of scary.
Neph’s Plants (fictional)#
Estimated playtime: N/A
Nephrendil is known across the Dreamiverse for their high-quality, remixable assets - you really don’t have to go far to find a game, scene or piece of art that features one of their creations. They also do an excellent job of grouping their work together in handy collections, one of the most recent being this assemblage of the more unusual, magical or impossible flora they’ve designed. There’s dizzying variety among these fictional plants: a topiary trimmed into the shaped of a wyvern, a purple alien plant that encloses its own stamen in a kind of shimmering bubble, mushrooms with intricate wrought-iron patterns in their caps, an enchanted lantern tree that looks straight out of a fairy tale, and much more besides.
Estimated playtime: 15 mins
It wouldn’t be a Wargarble creation without some kind of content warning. But while we’re usually cautioning against twisted body-horror, this time we’re giving you advance notice on something else you may want to mentally prepare for. WORDS. A lot of ‘em. We know, we know - take all the time you need. While there’s a lot of text to read in this visual short story, it is all of quality: fans of creepypasta will find much to love about this tale of a neighbourhood going through an unsettling metamorphosis. It’s told via one character’s journal, and another character’s discovery of that journal - plus the black-and-white photographs tucked inside of it. While the silence throughout is fittingly eerie, we can’t help but wish for some ambient sound design, music or even narration to help augment the text portions. Still, they say pictures are worth a thousand words - and the haunting still-life scenes that punctuate this story are just as descriptive as Wargarble’s writing, as trees grow from within bodies inside pressed suits, and heads melt into black ooze. (Okay, yes: there is also a lot of surreal body-horror going on in this one.)
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 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.