Six months ago Xiness released Dreamals that saw thee bickering friends need to work together in order to leave the dreamworld that they now found themselves in. Diving back into this world under darker circumstances are three different animals who while they may not know each other, know what it feels like to hurt both physically and emotionally. Binding together for comfort and the promise of being healed, these three set out to acquire what is needed to fulfill a bargain in the dreamworld that they now find themselves together in.
One question that can revolve around sequels is what exactly has been done in order to make it “more” that its predecessor. There are cases in which more of the same would result in a pleasurable experience especially if the original was indeed pleasurable. Dreamals was a very well constructed puzzler with basic yet challenging restrictive controls. One animal could move left, one could move right, and the other could only jump. Being a dreamworld when one would come into contact the next they could combine their abilities by becoming a newer animal with the abilities of both or all three. Dream Quest takes these original controls and adds the new ability to split the animals back apart when needed in order to create even more intriguing puzzles.
Like the original, Dream Quest’s tutorial stages should be explored in order to get a grasp on the new concept because it is used very early on. The one thing that Dream Quest does not do as well as its predecessor is the smoothing into its puzzling concepts. If anything, it really felt as if this sequel requires that the original be explored, and be explored recently, because it feels more like a continuation of where the other one leaves off gameplay wise with how high the bar is set out of the gate.
While the animals have changed the name of the game is still the same. Each stage requires a key to be obtained which then opens up a portal that must be passed through in order to complete it. With the ability to now separate back into their individual selves there are three controls that are now accessible. The first and most prominent is the left thumbstick which controls both the left and right animals. Jumping is then done with the “X” button and the newer separation is done with “Square”. Three buttons are the only controls that are needed so from this standpoint there’s still no need to worry about complex button sequences in order to perform anything.
Learning how to separate is what may take a bit of getting used to as there’s more than one way that this can be done. If all three are merged together then separating will place the three animals one next to another. This is easy enough but what takes some getting used to is that if the jumper is not in the mix the space for them is still required in the middle of the other two. This principle is only changed however when there’s an obstacle nearby. If for example there is a wall when the separation is triggered then the two animals closest to the wall will remain together with only the third split off. This new feature becomes a good part of the focus for Dream Quest and unfortunately it is not exactly smoothed into.
While there is only one new addition to the controls, the first set of stages alone have act at a higher difficulty than what would be normal for having players settle into the way of things even if they are returning to the dreamworld. There were many cases in which some of the puzzles required to be done at least twice and not for a lack of trying. This was because the portal that appears after obtaining the key would appear in a now out of reach location which would have required splitting your animals in mid air when making the jump over to where the key was. In a lot of cases it felt like the concepts being used for the first series of levels would have been set perfectly nearer to the middle or end stages as they require a good understanding of both the original concepts and the newer one.
Dreamals Dream Quest is a difficult puzzler that requires good knowledge of its predecessor and even then could be hard to get into if it has not been picked up recently. It’s not to say that Dream Quest isn’t a good experience, but it’s an experience that could have a steep entry fee mind wise as even the first set of stages will already have your mind thinking as to how something can be solved instead of easing you a bit more softly into it.
Article by Pierre-Yves