The puzzle game genre is always a fun one for me to dive into.  The concept of getting to see what crazy contraption someone’s mind has developed and trying to solve their work is thrilling to me.  Something about it is more enjoyable on average compared to going through a game with a story that I may or may not be invested in. On top of that, the wide array of styles each puzzle game that is developed from person to person is staggering.  That trend has not stopped with DREAMO.  But what has it brought to the table compared to the past?  Well, you will have to find out below.

What does it look like?

To go along with the 3D based puzzles,  the art style is a low poly 3D design to compliment the puzzles.  When playing through it though, you will notice that the puzzles themselves are not low poly by any means.  So how does each style compliment each other? As you solve your way through the game, no matter what setting, it is obvious the puzzles stick out like a sore thumb.  Naturally, the game devs, Hypnotic Ants, gave the puzzles a style to make that stick out even more. 

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Not to say the settings are bad, they actually look quite nice.  Colors are vibrant and life is flourishing on the tropical island.  The dungeon(?) is gloomy and smoky. There are more settings throughout DREAMO, and all of them are appealing to the eye.

But I could just be reading into it all too much.

Don’t Think About It

From the moment you awaken on a beach,  you and your character are told by a disembodied voice not to think about the setting.  It is just there because it is pulled from your memory. Or is it?  

Throughout the game, your character, Jack, and the disembodied voice, Tera, interact through natural conversation.  At the beginning of the game you and Jack are told that you are in a machine that will help you recover from a plane crash you were in.  Said crash left you with amnesia and you are tasked with finding who you are through solving puzzles. When a puzzle is solved, you gain access to a new area and a new memory told through an item.  And after some dialogue between the two characters explaining what the objects could represent, you are left with a little insight into who Jack is. But as you are told, “Don’t think about it” for just about everything you see.  

So what is real?  What holds meaning? Where does all of this lead to?  Well that is for you to find out, I don’t want to ruin all of the fun 🙂

For the most part, the dialogue is solid outside a moment or 2 where it doesn’t flow naturally, though.  It also had a point where it just makes a logical leap that caught me off guard.  

It’s Nothing Without a Good Puzzle

At the end of the day,  how do the puzzles stack up?  Amazing actually. The puzzle archetype that shows up throughout DREAMO is based on a simple archetype of placing some gears on a cube and making the origin gear spin the final action gear.  While it is very simple in concept, the amount of variations is impressive. With being able to add on a slew of layers, ranging from different dimensions to gravity to other active gears that need to be activated first.  The amount of depth offered is amazing.  

Difficulty scales comfortably as well,  backing off a bit when introducing a new concept, but coming right back on once you are settled in is dynamic in the overall scheme of each puzzle.  I also love how every aspect of all 3 dimensions is used, really pushing how far your mental imaging can go.

One thing I do want to talk about as well is the final puzzle.  JESUS.  That singular puzzle took up two out of the five hours I sunk into this game.   Hats off to you guys at Hypnotic Ants, that was one of the most impressive puzzles I have seen in a while.  

Outside the main game, there is a portion called “Challenge Mode”.  Personally, as of the time of writing this, I have not taken a dive into that portion just yet.  I don’t doubt it holds more amazing puzzles within it. Honesty is the best policy.

So Where Does it Stand?

It should be obvious DREAMO, gets a solid recommendation.  With its intriguing story and skillfully crafted puzzles, it is a no-brainer.  Outside the couple of hiccups with the narrative, I enjoyed my time playing the brainchild of Hypnotic Ants.The only thing that I think could hurt this game in the long run is the price tag.  DREAMO is sitting at $18 as of the time of writing this article.  I don’t know how many people would spend that much on a puzzle game, but I would feel more comfortable seeing it somewhere around the $12-$15 mark.  But that may just be nit picking from me.

Top notch puzzles
Narrative is strong
Solid amount of gameplay
Activated almonds
Dialog its awkward at rare moments

Review Summary

If you like puzzles, you will love DREAMO. The puzzles are amazing and the narrative will play with your mind just as much. Just have a heads up for the price tag and the rare quirky dialog.

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