Another Friday has snuck up on us, like a thief in the night. Friday, what are you stealing away in your big bag of crime? Is it our will to write emails? Could it be our resolve to eat vegetables? Or might it be the apple of our eye - our gold-plated 106-piece cutlery set, complete with snail tongs? PLEASE NO, FRIDAY, WE NEED THE TONGS TO LIVE.
While we prepare to bargain for our valuables (we could really do with the veggie-eating impulse back, too, seeing as though we have the vitamin D levels of a Victorian child), why not check out five of our most prized creations in Dreams this week?
Estimated runtime: 1+ hour
Sometimes - not all the time - playing an EntropyTamed game is like being patted on the head with one hand and punched in the face with another. Few other Dreams creators combine the rough with the smooth like Entropy; Plonkt is no exception to this, a tile-sliding puzzler that is as tactile and joyful as it is intellectually gruelling. You must shift, turn and flip directional blue tiles onto each other to create pink tiles, then line them up and set them off in a satisfying chain reaction to hit numbered goals in the least amount of moves.
It’s almost a blend of Sokoban and 2048, and there’s even a hint of match-3 to its dopamine-dispensing cascades - but there’s an elegance to the entire affair that helps keep you keep a cool head as levels get progressively more diabolical. The build-up in difficulty is considered, introducing new layers of challenge as the shape of grid arenas change and specific tiles are locked from the get-go, meaning solves become increasingly elusive. If the gleeful friction of the Jankbot games meant you struggled to drag yourself over the finish line, try this - the audiovisual rewards for closing out every part of each puzzle might just inspire you to glide through all 23 levels before you even realise it.
O V E R S T E E R#
Estimated playtime: 15 mins
Driving supercars at face-ripplingly high speeds not exciting enough for you? Do you find your focus drifting while drifting around corners? Adrenaline junkies, listen up: this is a racing game in which a car crash is somehow the least of your worries. Script-Kit’s luxuriantly detailed car is a treat to run laps in, the sheer weight of its handling a reminder of what a dangerous piece of machinery you’re in charge of. But the outside threats are infinitely more so: the further you go around this course, the more actively you’ll be hunted by outside forces. Lasers, explosives, entire jet planes - your foes will stop at nothing to keep you from reaching the finish line, including destroying the very track you’re skidding along. You’ll have to move fast and use repair kits strategically to mitigate damage and survive until the finish line - if your heart isn’t thudding after all that, then we advise you see a doctor for your clearly chronic levels of chill.
Estimated playtime: 10 mins
This curiosity might well have swum under our radar, were it not for its creator sending it directly to us (tequilavodka8989, if you’re reading this: do place ‘Scenes’ into a ‘Dream’, so that players can see your creation while DreamSurfing!). Having made an emergency landing on an alien planet, you’re moving around your spacefarer looking for chunks of uranium with which to refuel your ship. Your main tool? Whirling a fishing rod with a gigantic magnet bobber around your head to sweep up said chunks and slam-dunk ‘em into your waiting engine. That alone is a pleasant exercise - and then the competition arrives.
When an alien craft suffers its own setback, URANIUM FISHING turns into a kind of weird comedy sports showdown, as you twirl your magnet to attempt to steal resources from under your opponent’s nose, or straight-up snatch it out of their hands. Suddenly, each ship is a kind of goal, the anxiety of potentially being stranded forever like a crowd roaring in your ears - and trust us when we say the humiliation of watching the other team sail off victorious into the sunset while you’re left gasping in the dirt is worse than that of any missed penalty, so try not to lose. Fresh, silly, short and brilliant.
A Cat in the Box#
Estimated playtime: 45 mins
It’s been a bit of an intense Roundup so far, hasn’t it. We get it: it’s Friday, and you probably just want to chill out. We’re told furry animals can reduce your blood pressure - so why not boot up the latest Infinidreams collaboration? A Cat in the Box is a purrfectly packaged anthology of 3D platforming puzzle-adventures, with self-contained levels set inside their own giant cardboard boxes and the four-legged hero the common thread between them all. With plenty of talented French creators on the bill, it’s a real variety show from level to level: you’ll jump between see-sawing shelves, play life-size music synthesisers, sneak around obstacle courses while trying not to wake huge hounds, star in stage shows and - possibly most ridiculously of all for a creature without opposable thumbs - row a boat. If you loved feline PlayStation adventure Stray, but wished for more free-form platforming challenges or an extra layer of surreality, you might just find this collab to be the cat’s whiskers.
Circle to quit.#
Estimated playtime: However long your patience lasts
Alright, enough fluff - back to hell. What’s Friday without a little danger? A bit of intrigue? Irreparable psychological damage? Okay, maybe not that last one. But we’d be lying if we said you weren’t going to suffer at least a little bit while playing this self-styled ‘rage game’, a clear homage to the excellent (and infuriating) Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy. Still, the suffering’s all part of the fun. Instead of using Diogenes’ hammer to hook onto obstacles and swing yourself skywards, you’re pointing an arrow at your desired trajectory, then pressing X to launch yourself. To balance the slightly more predictable movement system, its creators have not only included tricky hurdles, but have lavished their brain power upon devious platforming puzzles - the cruellest of which are timing-based, and have sent us skidding down to the depths of despair many a time.
It’s a treat if you’re a glutton for punishment - but, as with Foddy’s game, the real substance of the thing feels like it’s elsewhere. The avatar you’re hauling up to the heavens is an Impy trophy, one of the well-known symbols of achievement in Dreams. Taken in conjunction with the game’s description, ‘This game is easy to quit, and hard to finish’, there may be bigger questions being posed here: what does it mean to reach the top, or win the game? And if the process of making it there lasts so much longer than that moment at the summit - whereupon we’re immediately looking for the next mountain to climb - what is it about trying that we find compelling enough to not press circle to quit?
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.