December has arrived, the festive season has officially started, and all bets are off. It's carnage out here. Two days in, we've already forgotten the taste of everything except mince pies, and it's impossible to go three steps outside our front door without hearing jingle bells and crooning. It's like we're living in our own personal version of It Follows, but if Michael Bublé were the monster. Truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Ready to unwrap a few gifts early? Course you are. Dive beneath the pine-scented branches of this week's Roundup, and have a look at what we've brought you.
WEB OF METAL#
Estimated playtime: 15 mins
Ever taken a look at some of the stuff living at the bottom of the ocean? It’s messed up down there. Intrattackout captures the latent horror of the deep sea in this spine-tingling firstperson underwater adventure, made for ProjectGenesis’ recent horror jam. This is a masterclass in creating atmosphere, as level design and careful lighting leads you deeper down into the watery abyss: from the imposing metal skeletons of the sunken architecture, tech somehow still blinking its sore red eyes, to the terrifying groans and howls of platforms moving as you half-swim, half-creep across this place. The highlight of it all is the conflict at the heart of this story, as you attempt to ward off the eldritch, writhing tentacle creature stalking you by using only a kind of spiky walkie-talkie (walkie-spiky?). New Weird in a curiously ideal setting, executed with thrilling precision - this might be a short experience, but the tale it tells may echo in your bones for far longer.
Estimated playtime: 2 hrs
We here at The Impsider famously have a bit of a weakness for venwave’s art; their general philosophy around making unabashedly weird, earnest, human stuff is very much aligned with our own. Well, they’ve done it again - this time, bringing together their detailed 2D animated painting work and gleeful 3D platforming in a whole new way. You play as sweet seed-bug Fin (who, in a meta twist, is waiting impatiently for the release of promised venwave project StoryWorld), donning a variety of superpowered costumes with which to explore a fantasy world of giant frogs, magical catwalks and staircases only revealed in the light of the moon. Tides is a joy at every scale. Tiny details sing loudly, such as the subtle but helpful reminders in the environment of controls for Fin’s movement and costume abilities, and the hilarious Puppycat-style musical dialogue that elevates every quip (Fin squeakily declaring something “mid” nearly had us under our desk laughing). But the big picture here, as ever, is even more beautiful: from the usual delightful chaos, venwave weaves a touching narrative about what can happen when you swap obsession, fixation and frustration for noticing what you have in the here and now.
Sipping Tea With Your Judgmental Aunt#
Estimated playtime: Replayable
We guarantee you’ve never played anything like this before - you may have already experienced it, however. Orionvalentine gives us a taste of true horror with this… disassociation sim? We don’t even know what to call it, really. The concept goes thusly: you’re at a diner sitting opposite your aunt, who’s enjoying a hot beverage while running a literally endless stream of passive-aggressive commentary on anything and everyone she deems worthy of judgment - including you. Fortunately, you’re able to sort of unfocus your eyes and tune out your ears by holding down a button, your vision blurring and the audio dampening as you desperately wish you were pretty much anywhere else. Maybe on a boat. Pushing your aunt over the side. Spot-on voice acting and cringe-inducingly accurate dialogue make the most of what is a truly original idea - and that, as they say, is the tea.
Sooty's Flower Shop#
Estimated playtime: N/A
If you’re feeling chilly this winter - and hey, even if you’re not, although be aware that we’re incredibly jealous and maybe even slightly resentful of you - then here’s the solution. Sooty’s Flower Shop is one of the cosiest sculpts you’ll ever fly a camera around, every cubby and corner formed with warmth and soul. What really makes this an evolution of Sooty’s excellent previous work is the level of detail, from believable wrinkles in rugs to hidden graffiti. This time, there’s even a living area above the shop, with a record player spinning the Pudazuka backing track for the creation - and a skylight propped open to provide another angle through which to peep at this gorgeous diorama.
Estimated playtime: Replayable
Streaks in your favourite apps and games can be a great thing - if you’ve got a goal you’d like to hit, this kind of mechanic can help keep you committed to it, encouraging you to log in every day lest you “break your streak”. But, as is often the case with these things, there can be a dark side to this manipulation of user behaviour - something that Jimmyjules153 subtly seems to want to explore with this virtual pet, which we’ve affectionately nicknamed Guilt.Trip Runner. Bot Buddy is an adorable fellow designed to keep you engaged with the game it lives inside, having you play genuinely entertaining minigames (with more on the way) to keep it in a positive mood, and recharge your new friend on a wireless pad to top up its energy.
A threat is looming, however, always at the forefront of your mind thanks to the giant clock on the desk, the cute custom name you’ve painted on the side of Bot Buddy’s head to really make it your own: thanks to the creator’s use of the Date & Time gadget, this game will detect if you’ve come to visit at least once every 100 real-time hours. If you haven’t, well, Bot Buddy isn’t long for this virtual world. Hoo boy. Add public scoreboards into the equation, and you’ve got a terrifyingly compelling reason to keep your little guy alive, lest you be branded a monster by your fellow Dreamers for all eternity. We imagine the engagement numbers on this will be… killer.
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)
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