The Dream Machine is an ambitious adventure game done in stop motion is finally finishing its six chapter storyline after about eight years of development. While it may not have the pixel charm of adventure games like Thimbleweed Park or the modern design of the Telltale series, this is a great adventure game for those who like their puzzles as unique as the setting.
The story of the Dream Machine takes place in an apartment complex. When newlywed Victor Neff discovers his new landlord is spying on all the tenants, he discovers a machine capable of entering a person’s mind. With the residents all under the effects of the machine, it’s up to him to enter their dreams to destroy machine.
The aesthetics of the game will probably be one of the more polarizing elements. Created by hand, if you’re a fan of the works of Laika, you should be right at home. The game is told over the course of six episodes.
Each episode involves exploring the dream world of one of the tenants of the building. Puzzles are logic-based…dream logic-based in most cases. The surreal visuals of the dreams are a great match with the hand-made look of the Dream Machine.
With that said, expect some of the puzzles to make as much sense as trying to examine your dreams.
The Dream Machine has all the hallmarks of classic adventure games; the good and the bad included. Due to the stop motion aesthetics, it makes everything blend into each other. This can make it difficult to find the items you need to solve puzzles.
There were a few puzzles that I had no idea how to solve them, because I missed one item that was required. A modern feature that could help would be the option to highlight interactables in the environment. One interesting element of the Dream Machine is the random nature to some of the puzzles.
There are several puzzles in the game that give the player randomized clues to solve them. I like the idea, but fair warning if you’re stuck on a puzzle. Just like other adventure games, the overall difficulty of the game is going to be based on the user.
I did have to get several hints during my play to get through to the end. The final chapter does deserve a little more detail, as it’s the longest and most detailed in the game.
I wish I could talk more about the game, but discussing the story and puzzles would take us into spoiler territory. With the final chapter of the game, the developers really went all out with the surreal imagery and puzzle design.
Having essentially dream logic mixing with the standard adventure game logic afforded the developers to make some out-there puzzle solutions.
The Dream Machine may not make the biggest adventure game splash in the year, but the interesting story and visual design does make it one to check out.