A mysterious illness strikes a quiet village. One by one, the entire village falls into a coma, entire families falling prey to a death-like state. When the hero’s family becomes affected by this mysterious disease, he starts a dangerous journey to find the mysterious sorceress Lady Death who is said to be the one that holds the powers to stop or even reverse the disease.
Available on all platforms. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
Developer: WarSaw Games
Publisher: Fatdog Games
Well, what we have here is a different kind of platform game; just imagine what would happen if Tim Burton made Sonic… simply put, the result would be Dream Alone. This game is a dark adventure which takes the player through treacherous levels with traps and enemies around every corner and with the game being very dark, this makes it all more difficult to see the traps, and soon enough you will no doubt see your first blood splatter across the screen as you fall on your first trap.
The greyscale graphics and original old horror camera effects get you a more immersive experience as you get deeper and deeper into the story and the levels unfold. The levels themselves have many twists and turns and also obstacles that build the frustration levels to top scale quite quickly, but I found myself not wanting to quit as a would normally do with other games.
Dream Alone is listed as a hard and dark platformer and it doesn’t fail to deliver on that moniker; it is by far the hardest game I have come across but still, one that keeps me wanting to play it. By playing it on the Switch, you get the handheld option which enables you to get more immersed in the game, although it looks stunning on the big screen also.
Throughout the game, you unlock different powers that help you through the levels such as switching to another realm and cloning, both of which are very handy, as you will find since you will need certain powers to be enabled in order to progress on the different levels.
Enemies are everywhere and are difficult to defeat, the only way is to avoid and jump over them, although you need to time every jump perfectly or you will soon have a screen full of blood splatters in no time at all. The different powers you unlock in the game are an essential part of how you play the game such as when you switch to the other realm a different path or platform will show up, or you can clone yourself to set a switch, then you can go and jump on a platform. It is all very well thought out and each part of the story interlocks with the other so everything that happens makes sense.
The levels themselves are designed to bend and twist your mind, this isn’t a game you can play as a quick run through, it is more a case of taking your time and getting to know the environment which will then make it easier (not much though) for you to progress through the levels.
The visual presentation is different, the actual graphics are very good and the blood splatter on the screen when you die is cool, but at times, the dark old horror effects can be a bit too dark and make it hard for you to see what’s going on, especially when playing with the Switch in handheld mode. The look of the game ties in well with the sound effects which are very well done, everything has this eerie feel to it and it all blends together with the music and strange background noise to give you a more immersive experience.
To summarise Dream Alone, I actually quite like the game as it’s something different; it takes an age-old formula, “the platformer”, and turns it on its head, spins it around and throws it up and down. It’s well worth taking a look if you want to see something different but you will need patience as, until you get used to the graphics style and gameplay, the frustration will build.