Today, we’re taking a look at Into A Dream, a new indie adventure game from Filipe F. Thomaz. This one was something, so let’s just get right into it.
Into a Dream takes the player into the dream of Luke Williams. Williams has been diagnosed with depression, with the player said to be his only hope. Through his dreams, you must unfold the story of his life and prevent him from fading away.
Into a snoozefest?
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this one. I wanted to like this game, I really did. The game handles mental health in a way I personally haven’t seen before. It’s not a horror, no ghosts are representing your issues haunting you. It’s all memories and experiences. The idea has so much potential, but that’s where it ends. Potential. I think that is what I found most disappointing about this gaming experience. There was this base idea about finding the route of this guy’s depression and saving him, but it didn’t go much further than that.
Here’s the thing, I ALWAYS try to find the silver lining in everything. With Into A Dream, I couldn’t find that. Throughout my playthrough, I was bored. I would put it down, take a break and come back with a fresh mindset. However, that changed exactly NOTHING for me! It was just an absolute snoozefest, and it shouldn’t have been.
Let’s Get Techy
Now, it should be noted that indie games can’t be compared to AAA games. There usually tends to be a pretty big difference. Into A Dream can’t even really be compared to other indies, but we’re gonna try.
We’re given a 2D side scroller, with honestly pretty simple graphics. Stylistically, it’s very similar to the likes of Limbo and Inside (both from Playdead). However, the look is where it all ends. Even at that, there are issues with the look. I can completely understand using darker lighting to set the mood, and to create a darker tone. But there’s a difference between setting the mood and making things so dark that you miss something. Example: early enough in the game, I got caught unable to move forward without knowing why. Wandering back, I barely noticed the prompt to interact. Why, you might ask? Because the setting was so dark and the prompt is also dark that I had no clue there was a person there until the dialogue started.
My other issue on the graphic front was character movement. For the most part, it looked okay. When climbing/jumping/falling, it’s like a ragdoll. And it looked every bit as odd as it sounds.
Now, the gameplay… Controls are not something I normally talk about. They’re pretty much all the same across the board for the most part, with few differences depending on the game. But for whatever reason, Into A Dream kind of flips all of that. Yeah, we have the basics, but the mouse is useless. For some people, I doubt that would be a problem. For me though, I found it uncomfortable. When gaming on PC, my hand ALWAYS rests on my mouse. It was very weird to not use it at all.
Some other thoughts
One of the biggest issues I had with Into A Dream comes down to something very simple. Dialogue. Now, I suck at writing dialogue. I always have, and I’ve always been okay with that. I would rather describe how a fresh rose looks after a light summer rain than write about what Tom, Dick and Harry said down in the pub the other day. Imagine that same struggle but in game form. Now imagine the most basic voice for each character. Maybe give it a slight accent to switch things up.
Probably not the nicest analogy, but genuinely the easiest way to phrase my thoughts on this. The dialogue was so boring that I didn’t pick up much of the story, and had zero desire to know what I was missing. Now, pair that with voices that in some cases may be calming. Not in this scenario though. Generic “calm” voice paired with boring dialogue? Major YAWN. I’m not even going to get into the one lady who repeats the same lines over and over but is the only person or thing you can interact with at a certain point.
I wanted to like this game, I wanted there to be a silver lining. But there simply wasn’t.
Side note: the name makes it awkward to find trailers and the such.