The Dreamerz is a point-and-click adventure game where you play a cute little astronaut who is tasked with collecting "dream spheres" filled with "dream ingredients" to fix a "dream machine" on a little planet oozing with wonderment. And if that sounds trite, treacly and unappealing, you are in for a very pleasant surprise.
Your friend the cursor, guided by his buddy the mouse, controls everything in the game. Click to move your astronaut, to select items, to use items, and to otherwise interact with the environment. You will soon find that the little planet you are on, while nice enough to visit, doesn't have everything you need to repair the dream machine, and you will need to activate the gray metal transports to hop to different worlds. Ad astra per aspera! Explore, collect, think, and try to repair the dream machine before bedtime. The fate of the world's Dreamerz depends on it!
Analysis: The Dreamerz is a game for people who don't think they would like a game called "The Dreamerz." Rather than indulge in saccharine, Robot-Unicorn style indulgence, The Dreamerz conjures a mood that's a small part mystery, a tiny bit whimsy. It's almost like Samorost, not so much in the design, which focuses more on clean lines and colors rather than rich textures; but in the quiet way it encourages you to explore. Apart from the intro and from a diary you find early in the game, there are few verbal cues to tell you what to do, and along with surreal set pieces and a cool ambient soundtrack, it's quite absorbing.
The puzzles are just what I like: clever, logical, and varied in difficulty. The sort where you bask in the satisfaction of a puzzle well solved, not where you yell at the screen in frustration. I did fiddle around a bit trying to figure out how to get off the rock you start on, but after that, it was smooth planet-hopping. The game is fairly non-linear, so if you are stuck in one area, you can try working on a different puzzle to give your brain a chance to ruminate on something else.
The difficulty is not stupendous, though I did have to consult the The Dreamerz Walkthrough for a few puzzles, which turned out to involve simple oversights on my part. I say this not so you all can gawk at my puzzle-solving infirmities (though I suppose that's now assured), but to point out how excellent the developer's walkthrough is. It's like a big map, with rollover directions for all the elements in the game. It's very intuitive and quick to consult. I get why developers use video walkthroughs, since they are quick and easy to produce, but a little extra effort at something like this shows consideration for the player. I appreciate it!
The Dreamerz is a great little point-and-clicker with fine puzzles and sense of exploration. It is not a cotton-puff excess about the power of dreams. If you find yourself put off by that sort of syrupy exhibitionism, then The Dreamerz is the game for you.
Thanks to Chiktionary, Bscott, and Rob for sending this one in!