Dreamo, or comao? – First Sip Review
Dreamo is a combination narrative walking simulator and puzzle game. Developed by Hypnotic Ants and published by Carbon Studio. Dreamo is Hypnotic Ant’s first game on Steam but the second game to be published by Carbon Studio. We received a pre-release copy of the game which is still being worked on and updated at the time of this review. So please note that some elements discussed may differ in the version made available to the public.
Beginning with a rather surreal sequence alternating between a beach, the interior of a plane and bright colors, Jack Winslow (your character), awakens on the beach only to find out that he has narrowly escaped death in a horrible plane crash and is currently in a coma. The voice that explains this to you belongs to Dr. Tara Moreau. Dr. Moreau it seems has been tasked with helping free you from your comatose state by way of a radical new technique. Acting somewhat as your guide within your mind. Dr. Moreau and Jack will discuss symbolism, morality, consequence and more.
It’s a very interesting story and you can learn more about the characters by exploring. As not all dialogue is required to complete the game. However, it is worth seeking out as it does explain more about the characters and situations. As you progress in solving the puzzles you’ll open new areas that represent other pieces of Jack’s psyche. And the storyline will play out over three chapters.
It reminded me a lot of Superliminal at times, however, with the characters explicitly stating the symbolism it lost a little of the magic for me.
Dreamo uses a low-poly art-style, which looks like at first like it may be a limitation of budget or skill. However, it is an intentional choice and suits the world of the game. The game also uses a lot of bright colors which make the visuals really pop. While older games like early N64 and Playstation titles used low-poly art purely because it was the best they could do. The current world of game-design and even indie game-design has far more options.
The fact that Hypnotic Ant’s have opted for a low-poly style instead of using just basic templates available in most entry-level game engines is proof enough that it’s the style they were going for. But if you need further proof all you have to do is look at how well implemented the art is in the game. The world is vibrant and filled with life and it’s at times reminiscent of the game Everything, which is no bad thing.
Additionally, at the start of the game as the company logos are appearing there is a strange glitch effect on them, it’s subtle and works really well. It’s a nice touch that I appreciated.
The music in Dreamo is fairly laid back and fits well with the art style. It also matches the relaxed exploration areas and even puzzle-solving sections. It’s not overly memorable but it fits well and sounds good while you’re playing. The game is also fully voiced and for the most part, the two lead actors do a great job. There are occasional moments where their tones don’t 100% match what I think the dialogue should be. But they are fairly minor especially in comparison to the vast amount of voiced lines.
The main issue I had with the voice actors is during the first part of the game there is a moment where another character delivers some lines. And his delivery is terrible, so much so that it really broke the immersion for me. It stuck out a lot because the other actors sound so much more professional. However, this character only has a few lines before he disappears so it’s not a huge issue.
Gameplay in Dreamo is a mixture of Walking Simulator and Puzzle-Solving. Throughout the world (which I’ll remind you is created in your character’s comatose mind), there are boxes called “artifacts”. Each artifact is a puzzle that can be solved by getting a powered gear to connect to essentially the “on” gear. Solving the artifacts gives you some more dialogue and when you’ve solved all the artifacts in the area you gain an item. The item is placed onto an altar and a new area will open up with more artifacts to solve.
I was fairly interested in the story and expanding the world but after a while, I felt like the artifacts became somewhat boring. They all felt very samey, however, each new artifact did have something new. The first ones being “connect the gears in the right order”. Then the next ones add a movable peg or pegs that push others up or down when you select them. Later still they added unpowered gears that would remain powered when connected. Meaning that you could connect to that gear then take back the other gears to get to the next one. So there was definitely variety and building on the core concept of the artifacts. But it still felt like there was just something missing that could have taken it to the next level.
It’s not bad by any means. I enjoyed solving a lot of the puzzles. And even when I went to stop playing I would just try to see what the next one was like, and so on.
Virtually every aspect of the game reminded me of Superliminal, but not as good. Which isn’t to say that it’s a bad game. Superliminal just happens to be one of the best walking simulator/puzzle hybrid games I’ve ever played. The fact that Dreamo could even come close to evoking the same feelings is a testament to how great a game it is. Dreamo also has the added bonus of being available on Steam right away for all you Steam users out there that don’t want to make the swap or run multiple launchers. I also have yet to finish Dreamo and as I mentioned the game is receiving updates too.
Each element of the game works well and it’s an above-average title for sure. If you’re interested in walking simulators and have a mind for puzzles (or want to follow a guide), Dreamo is an interesting prospect. And in my opinion, it’s worth it even just for the discussions between Jack and Tara.
A solid game that I’ll most likely try to get 100% on.
In Coffee Terms
In coffee tearms, Dreamo is like a flat white. It looks good and tastes good but it lacks the buzz you’d get from a stronger coffee. But if you spend a little time with it you’ll find that the subtle flavors are there and they will make themselves known. Overall, pretty satisfying stuff.
Dreamo Review Summary
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.