Happy 2023, darling readers. Got any New Year’s resolutions? Ours is “New year, new us” - and to prepare, we’ve been secretly growing a DNA-accurate clone of ourselves in the office basement. Admittedly, the only words it knows so far are “B2C content marketing” and “cat”, but we’ve all got to start somewhere, haven’t we.
Anyway - lovely to be back from the holiday break, turning a fresh pair of eyes towards some of the fabulous things Dreams creators have themselves been growing. Read on for five of our very favourites.
Mecko: In The Village of the Fish Folk#
Estimated playtime: 4 hours
We’re starting to wonder if Jimmy_Cultist has a clone hidden somewhere, too. One of Dreams’ most ambitious and prolific creators continues an incredible run of fully-featured games - and is still challenging themselves to splash around in as many different styles, mechanics and concepts as possible. Mecko: In The Village of the Fish Folk is a gloriously grimdark 3D adventure through a world of Burton-esque characters, monstrous boss fights and fanciful happenings: as the titular hero on a quest to rescue your cat, you find yourself having to wriggle your way out of a partially submerged village of fish folk.
Your special abilities include the Psychonauts-esque ability to possess and control hypnotised enemies, a cloud-bothering super backflips, a crouch so powerful you disappear inside your own headwear, and… er, throwing rocks and swimming, which while not quite as flashy prove useful for hoovering up every last collectible. Moving around Mecko’s labyrinthine levels can be a tad clunky at times, but any frustrations quickly melt away in the face of the sheer variety of ideas and memorable encounters sunken deep in this eerie little world.
mikineko - KAWAII JERSEY CLUB
Estimated runtime: 2 mins
The auditory equivalent of chugging a cherry soda mixed with pure stardust - that’s KAWAII JERSEY CLUB (so named in reference to a genre of dance music that started 20 years ago in the clubs of New Jersey, and whose evolution is now enjoying huge popularity on the internet). This track is all future bass vibes, with a super sweet popping-candy beat, and a core melody so harmonic that it almost sounds like Dreams’ synthesisers are singing to you. Irresistible, feel-good and funky - a new favourite bop for our in-game mixtape.
Estimated playtime: Replayable
One of the quickest ways for a game developer to fulfill a player’s power fantasy is to put a big ol’ virtual gun in their hands. Brilliantly, KarstenStaack’s VR-compatible shooting range does the complete opposite: presented with a suite of nine realistically-modelled weapons, each with its own custom-designed, manually operated reloading and firing system, we’ve never felt quite so ridiculous. Our first attempt at a tactical drill has us in fits of laughter, as the ham hocks we call our hands happily fail to execute the precise series of button combos needed to load, fire and eject revolver shells. Still, it’s not too long before we get to grips with the puzzle of a couple of the firearms, and are cautiously eyeing up the high-score and time attack scoreboards; KarstenStaack has built a high skill ceiling into this playable FPS showcase, one that is determined to have you truly earn the act of firing a bullet in a videogame.
Community Garden Finale: Sprouts & Saplings#
Estimated playtime: 5 minutes
Two bounteous seasons of Community Garden jams later, and here is the project’s last blossoming. Keen to help populate the Dreamiverse with commonly sought-after nature assets, Nephrendil has been encouraging Dreams creators to sculpt and publicly release a variety of low-thermo flowers, mosses, herbs, trees and more - then specially planting them in interactive showcases, from walkable forests to story-driven platformers. This farewell celebration, set in a greenhouse made with the help of IansaneArtist and featuring some hot stats from across the project’s lifetime, is a gorgeous tribute to all of the creators who took part. There’s something rather beautiful, too, about the final theme being ‘Sprouts & Saplings’; though the jamming may now be done, all of the plants now populating the Dreamiverse for anyone to use in their own creations are the seeds of many potential new beginnings.
Estimated playtime: N/A
CAT. CAT. CAT CAT CAT. CAT CAT CAT CAT, CAT CAT CAT CAT. CAT CAT, CAT CAT CAT CAT, CAT CAT CAT CAT CAT! CAT CAT - CAT CAT CAT? CAT!
[Editor’s note: This is not up to our editorial standards. It’s way beneath the acceptable word count, written in all-caps, and while you’ve hit upon the general theme of this creation, we do usually try to vary our review vocabulary beyond a single word. (‘Doughnut’ was right there, bud.)
Come by the office so we can discuss your personal development - you might have to go back in the primordial goo for a bit. At least until you can form puns.]
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.