The world is getting dark and black in Into A Dream. Luke sees everything bleakly and it doesn’t seem that you can make him feel better. Depressed he is. He’s having a hard time with it, but so are you. Slowly you become his friend and you, John stevens, has to support him in this difficult time. How? By penetrating his dreams and learning all about this sad man.
A depressing story
Into a Dream tells a moving story in an eye-catching noir setting. In this story-driven platformer, you will follow the story of Luke Williams, a man who lives on the edge. You are his last hope to keep it from fading away. That’s why you’re wandering around in his dreams and trying to figure out why he’s feeling so sad. You will meet Williams close friends and family and you will dive deep into a story about love, hopelessness, and depression. That story will definitely get you hooked.
The game was developed by an independent solo developer: Filipe F. Thomaz. He managed to write an interesting story, which it is also told with a lot of atmosphere. Into A Dream is a game for people who like storytelling games. You can’t call it a visual novel, but it comes close to it. Everything is just a little more interactive. This interesting game presents very simple platform elements that are combined with an in-depth story. You regularly speak to characters and you get to know them.
Solve story-driven puzzles
Every now and then you have to solve some story-driven puzzles. The puzzles sometimes are a bit annoying. The platforming sometimes feels a bit clumsy, for example in parts where you have to swing over some lianas like your Tarzan. Puzzles are not very challenging either. They are simple in design and you often see the solution immediately. For example, you have to push with boxes or jump over holes. The puzzle elements provide variety within the gameplay. Still, Into A Dream would have worked perfectly without those platforming elements. The mechanics slow down how you immerse with the story.
Into A Dream stands out on his storytelling. The strong story elements of Into A Dream are s precisely what makes the game so good. Into A Dream is also imparted a lot of atmospheres because the game looks very good graphically. Into A Dream consists of all shades that are provided with beautiful color effects. As John Stevens, you are dropped within the dark dream world of Luke Williams. Shadows nicely symbolize how Luke Williams is increasingly drawn to the dark side. The music completes the dark tone.
Into A Dream as a total experience
Into A Dream is a total experience in which your senses get a lot to last. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into how to express Luke Williams’s depression in the game. Visually everything looks beautiful and the story is well thought out. Clearly a lot of work has gone into this dark yet very impressive game. It is like an exciting interactive book. You always long for more. Still, Into A Dream isn’t perfect. While I loved the story and the beautiful noir setting, the game has some flaws that took the blood from under my nails.
The game is fully voiced. While this might have brought the game to a higher level, the voice acting sounds very amateurish. I did not believe the acting. Especially Luke Williams was very hard to listen to. While hearing the written dialogue there were a lot of awkward silences between words. It often felt as if sentences were being read. Voices felt monotonous. I didn’t always believe the emotions.
Some side characters were also implausible from my part. For example, there is a wedding scene where you can go no further before performing a certain action. There’s a watchman who says you can’t go any further. The one line of text that the guard says sounds emotionless, read from a piece of paper. In the Into A Dream preview, I also indicated this problem. There are some voices that feel very good, but in general, the casting could have been a bit stricter. In the current state, it degrades the quality of the game for me.
Should you play Into A Dream?
In the end Into A Dream turns out to be an interesting game you should definitely give a try if you like story-driven games. The story and atmosphere work out really well for an indie game. Developer Filipe F. Thomaz definitely put a lot of effort into this game and should be praised for that. I would definitely recommend the game. Still, I would rather prefer to play the game without the voice acting and probably without the puzzle elements. Those elements broke the immersion too many times.
Into A Dream is available now on Steam for £11.59/€11.49/$13.99, there is a 15% discount for the first week of Into A Dream’s release. At launch, the game supports Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
For this review, I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion.