Into a Dream is the project presented by the hands of Filipe F. Thomaz. The same that also gives hands to the music that serves as the basis for this surrealist title with side-scrolling mechanics and a little exploration.
The player will step into the shoes of John Stevens and embark on an exciting journey through the subconscious of Luke Williams, going through his memories to understand the root of his depression in an attempt to free him from negative thoughts.
This title presents an interesting narrative and although it is presented as having a strand in relation to depression that is very present, it addresses other pertinent themes, such as sacrifice, family problems, guilt, and even death.
Regarding gameplay, it is a very simple game that has a bit of exploration mechanics, puzzle, and a smell of the platform genre, however, these sections tend to be quite short. To progress through the different sections it is necessary to interact with people, or in this case figures, or collect elements that give access to previously closed areas. With regard to puzzles, they are mainly environmental, based on physics, such as the need to find an object that helps to cross the river or to find any missing element, such as a lever or a key.
In graphical terms Into a Dream presents a simple aesthetics, based on silhouettes, reminiscent of titles like Limbo. Although a little bit more detailed and varied since the environments have different colors and lighting.
Helping to create the right atmosphere for the lines of voice and text that the game presents, is the simplistic but effective soundtrack, which features themes produced by Filipe himself. It is important to note that the whole experience is accompanied by voices instead of presenting only lines of text. This point surprised me as it helps to create a connection between player and characters and is really not very common in titles of this kind.
Although John’s own movements are not the most accurate, they do not tarnish the story and message that this title tries to convey to the player. It gives the feeling that certain parts were stretched to the extreme to try to reap some more fruits, but overall a strong and quite adult narrative.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Steam, provided by Neon Bedlam.]