Creative novelty wears off fast. You hardly saw the dynamic uses of the changing platform rotations come into any effect.
One could argue the style of the art was deliberate but I felt it could've been worked on, especially since everything from player to platform were just black blobs. Visually, nothing felt dreamy; it was more that I was on an alien planet.
The NPC lines didn't attribute anything substantial to the atmosphere; you got repeated edgar allen poe references (literally just saying "edgar") and other lines that fail at being cryptic.
I guess the objective is forgivable since a dream's logic is screwed up. But the overall planning of designing this game felt like it was a "first time flash project"; many more elements of making a successful game were lacking which I'd rather not go in depth about.
I DO commend the smoothness and tightness of the movement mechanics though. VERY solid coding on that. Gave great control especially for the flipped screens. Obvious kudos for the coding in general for the game.
I hope your next installment will outshine this one.
Firstly, I won't spoil anything about the game, but it's ending made me... well, speechless. Honestly I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe it even now. I think my only thoughts after finishing it were literally:
"Ah, man... well played."
Nothing too articulate, obviously, but it was a feeling (rather than thinking) moment.
In any case, here's the part of the review that matters. I'll try to organize it for everyone's convenience.
- I don't know how fair it is of me to criticize this, as the game is (hence the title) a dream, and dreams are illogical by nature, but I felt a distinct lack of artistic unity in some cases. For example, I still don't know whether I'm supposed to know who Edgar is. Is "Edgar" merely a meaningless figment of a dream? Is it something that you overlooked following up on? Am I too dim to have noticed it? I just don't know.
- Crucial to all puzzle-art games, of course, are the puzzles. They seemed to control the game at perfect difficulties. In other words, as I was playing, I always felt that I could progress through the game without stopping for long, but I also felt rewarded when I solved each puzzle. In fact, it was a good feeling to realize what the next step to take is and wonder how in the world you didn't notice it before.
- The art and ambiance were very pleasant. Beyond that, they felt convincing, and by that I mean they lent a genuine curiosity and appreciation for the simplistic environment the player finds himself in. It's surprising how much one's perception of each screen can change just by changing its orientation. I personally enjoyed the look of the whole game, especially the semi-monochromatic landscapes and their enormous suns. It's also nice to see a good looking game that doesn't fall into the trap of becoming "yet another melodramatic art game."
Have I forgotten anything? I can't think of anything else to discuss, so I suppose not.
Finally, I tend to like playing these made-in-X-hours games; in my opinion they offer a good opportunity to make use of every aspect of the game, to make the small things (which is often all that time allows) really stand out.
It's not too bad. The visual style and gameplay style is extremely similar to Knytt and Knytt Stories, even down to the orb power-ups and what they do. That's not a bad thing. I liked the simple gameplay and graphics of those games, and it works well here too. It makes a nice atmosphere and easy to pick up gameplay.
Mostly, anyway. It's not always clear what certain things are. I couldn't initially tell what had happened when I got the speed up power, so I was lost for a minute on what it was supposed to do. I only noticed because I was stumped and just started jumping at the platforms you need to get the glasses and got lucky.
The switch puzzle is also a bit of a problem because the on/off position colors for the switches are the same as the symbols. Because of that, it made sense to me to have all the red symbols be red and blue symbols be blue. The actual solution makes sense too, but the color usage makes it confusing.
Overall, it's very nice. I wouldn't mind seeing it fleshed out into a bigger game. It can be a little confusing, but still fun.
What are the orbs for?
A lot better than most Ludum Dare entries. Maybe not the most original or interesting game ever, but I've certainly seen far worse. This one at least had an interesting world to it!