Dreamview Weekly Roundup #87
You know, maybe it’s time the Dreamview Weekly Roundup underwent a little bit of a rebrand. A gritty reboot, if you will. We’re a serious blog, writing about serious games made in Dreams, and there’s simply no room for silliness when you’re trying to write Branded, Optimised Internet News and Gaming posts.
That’s our new term for our professional and highly serious posting strategy - otherwise known as BOING. …Oh, no. The weird got in again, didn’t it. Please do heavily engage with our five recommendations for things to check out in Dreams this weekend, while we attempt to chivvy the weird out of the nearest window- IT’S DOING IT AGAIN WITH THE WHIMSICAL IMAGERY! GET RID OF IT!
Estimated playtime: 5 mins
Valentine’s Day is winging its way towards us, so why not get in the mood for love with whinybrat’s pint-size tale of obsession? This mini dating sim-slash-bullet hell casts you as the love interest, shifting between a visual novel in which you must accept or rebuff the advances of your admirer, and a 2D challenge in which you briefly become him, collecting as many hearts as possible to impress your beau. It’s the lo-fi, hyper-stylised art that really stands out here - but also the uncanny, horror-esque, almost threatening energy radiating off of this thing, with its Kubrick stares its unnerving possible ‘wrong ending’ and some of the darkly comic responses you’re able to choose from. From the looks of whinybrat’s other wonderfully experimental creations, they’re an Undertale fan; they’ve learned well to walk the line between charming and unsettling, and we’re excited to see more.
Estimated playtime: 30 mins
Strip-mining random planets in space is, on balance, therapeutic and fun, as long as you don’t think too hard about the ethics of it all. But Frontier: Resource adds a tactical twist that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You start out from your giant bipedal travel unit - visualised beautifully through an overworld at enormous scale - then move further into the environment to drill rocks and collect points before your fuel (represented by a timer) runs out. But you can be canny and make the most of your journey: for example, by picking up power crystals that add to your timer, grabbing powerups that increase your run speed, and even using a kind of space vacuum - a literal, handheld one - to slurp up green goop that adds multipliers to your score. Clever level design ensures you're able to navigate quickly and easily; there's both a compass on the back of your suit that always points towards the exit, and a marker in the world in the form of the giant ship you've emerged from, constantly visible from wherever you end up. The friction in the design adds real tension to the last seconds of each trip: should you turn back in time to ensure you don’t lose your full score, or risk breaking one more rock in hopes of a powerup that might ensure scoreboard glory?
PROLOGUE: INSIDE MY BRAIN#
Estimated runtime: 10 mins
A well-earned bit of artistic indulgence here - it’s a music track with its very own, unexpectedly rich worldbuilding. Forever3kco introduces their new breakcore banger via a mysterious television-faced narrator, who tugs at the neon threads of reality and sets up the story of the ‘Void of Funk’. PROLOGUE: INSIDE MY BRAIN is a short, surreal fairytale told through a persistent throb of colour and sound; we enter a strange space to allow the high-tempo drums and breaks to seep into our grey matter, marvel at the neon explosion of brains surrounding our little character, and wonder what will happen next. It’s always a delight to witness the new ways in which Dreams’ musicians present their auditory work; this is a must play for all those curious about presenting a song as something more than a collection of notes.
Road Trip (Apocalyptic)#
Estimated playtime: 5 mins
It’s always a treat when Tapio_X extends their environmental design talents to interactive scenes. Well, in as far as racing past a burning motel in the midst of an apocalypse can be considered a ‘treat’. But you get what we’re trying to say: this artist’s taste for the visually enigmatic is given space here, as grey mist settles sadly around abandoned houses, dead streetlights. But it’s balanced beautifully against the need to lead the player along this thoughtfully constructed road - along which each turn reveals a newly haunted tableau. In a game where you’re given control of a bouncy, zippy, off-road buggy, it’s worth noting just how often you’re likely to end up hitting the brakes; scenes are so suffused with detail and atmosphere that we find ourselves wanting to drive slowly to soak it all in.
Estimated playtime: 15 mins
Ninja Warrior. Total Wipeout. Takeshi’s Castle. Or, if your childhood was anything like ours, beloved CBBC television series Raven. It turns out that humans absolutely love watching other humans run through soft-play gauntlets - even better if they’re sent sailing through the air by a massive wrecking ball. If you’re one of those people who sat on the sofa thinking, ‘I could do that!’, then Phalangeh’s Obstacle Challenge invites you to try: you’ll leap across moving platforms, dodge swinging hazards and attempt to stay upright on rotating cylinders in your quest to reach the end. One slip, and you’re in the drink. The checkpoints are mostly fair, so the frustration - and the fun! - comes from the slippery physics of your french-fry-headed athlete. You’ll have to balance haste with accurate inputs so as not to fly over the edge and into the drink below. Goofy, nostalgic, oddly rather pretty in its colour selections and obstacle designs - and we can see the speedrun scoreboards getting competitive on this one.
Check out the playable edition of this week's Dreamview Weekly Roundup right here in Dreams!
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