Game of the Week: The Dream Machine

So I’ve sort of been on this whole love of foreign country games, and rightfully so. I think it has something to do with spring break [ and that thing I’m not usually acquainted with – sunshine ] I’ve just been musing – thinking about how glorious it would be for me to just be lounging somewhere peaceful. Perhaps I’ll think about going to a small little island somewhere off the coast of nowhere and just get lost in my peace and serenity – and then I realize… it’s just a dream, and I wake up.

Ahh... all alone. Now where's my hammock?

Well, if any of that made you think of the many maddening moments we all have during dreams, I’d invite you all to check out Swedish developers Cockroach Inc. and their delightfully mysterious indie title called The Dream Machine. It’s unique design, deeply interesting storyline, and odd enchanting characters make The Dream Machine a must check out. The game is divided into chapters and you can easily purchase each piece individually, but what I love is that they let you play through the whole first chapter for FREE.

Now, why do I love this game?

Well first of all – there’s the art style. Anders Gustafsson and Erik Zaring made this whole game out of clay and cardboard, which is why it charms it’s way into my heart as one of the most enjoyable artistic experience I’ve ever had in gaming. They have some fantastic little flash game experiences on their website, but The Dream Machine stands out. It’s a dark, yet engaging little art piece. The gameplay is point and click adventure game, but there’s a sense of narrative and mystery novel that I haven’t seen in games in a while. It may be simple gameplay, but it’s such an intriguing experience that you won’t let go.

Can I help you? Look into my eyes!

Gustafsson and Zaring made some very distinct choices that I feel makes The Dream Machine such a far reaching accessible title, and I hope that my fellow gamers appreciate them:

  • No audio needed, except music is great, which is a shame for deaf gamers.
  • Point and Click for mobility impaired gamers.
  • Easy gameplay with difficult puzzles and problem solving.
  • An above screen inventory setup
  • Slight highlight and wording when you glide over clickable objects.

There were only a few issues that I found with the game in terms of accessibility, but it’s a stylized deal – not necessarily gameplay issues:

  • Difficult puzzles, while great overall, problematic for cognitively impaired.
  • Color scheme may make it difficult for colorblind gamers to play areas.
  • Text is rather small so it can make for issues for vision impaired gamers.
  • The game is filled with a rather deeper, darker, mature sort of storyline.

Now while that last one really isn’t an issue with the gameplay, it’s more of a warning for players. The game is a deep cerebral experience and it often mentions disturbing mysterious dream sequences and I’ve encountered a few slews of curses within the text so far [ I’ve only played through Chapter 1 ] but the game is amazing with all things considered.

Now, currently, their website is selling the FULL game [ All 5 Chapters ] for € 13.00 [ but more chapters will be added later ] It will require you to make an account with The Dream Machine‘s website to actually buy the game, but the game is entirely allowed with Cloud save access and allows you to play from any computer anywhere! It’s truly a dream game and a special little experience. I highly recommend checking out Chapter 1 and seeing what you personally think, but Cockroach Inc. has officially made a warm spot in my heart for noir/mystery art games. They’ve not only made an artistic masterpiece, they’ve also made it a highly accessible experience that any gamer should experience at least once.

The Dream Machine

Thanks guys – I can’t wait to see what the remaining chapters have to offer!