Play this beautiful game about the passion behind the creativity

A beautiful sunset surrounds the two main characters of One Dreamer.

Screenshots: F2House

When I play One DreamerDemo of June, I think this might be something special. It looks like a game about a failed game developer, presented using a combination of point and click puzzles and coding, but in an accessible way. And that’s what it is! Acclaim! In fact, it’s much more adorable, attractive, and amazing than it looks.

Frank is a game developer who has had an indie hit, a VR multiplayer MMO called ProxyLife That’s a big deal in the short term. But now it is struggling, the player count is dwindling, and the lack of a constant feed of new features is weakening its player base. At the same time, Frank is doing some soulless freelance work (a situation familiar to most indie developers), helping an AAA game implement DRM more closely or reduce the chance of a statistic getting player’s in-game money.


However, none of this is outspoken. Instead, through what appear to be sequences of dreams, we learn the history and motivations for creating ProxyLife, in extensions, where Frank can edit the code of objects in the world around him. Here, using the game’s pseudocode (a simplified version of C# that even I can understand), you can – say – reprogram a duck to meow like a cat, or More usefully, control a lever so that it opens a locked gate in the distance.

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This article originally appeared on Buried treasure, a hunting site for excellent unknown games from undiscovered developers. You can support the project via its Patreon.

In parts of the real world, where Frank’s work is surrounded by overdue bills and threatening letters, such programming is restricted to his computer. Here, you are tasked with making these mercenary changes to the AAA game, while trying to pick up your own pieces. As someone who has never had access to games that require me to learn and implement code, I’m happy to report that’s not the case here. This is so cleverly designed that it behaves like quizzes, while surreptitiously teaching me the basics of code structure. But amazingly, it mostly taught me how to dodge.

Only one so many so smart about One Dreamer, from the narrative structure to the stunning pixel graphics, but the way you need to solve puzzles using coder bodging is amazing. Need to remove the feature that gives new players 100 coins? Change the value of a small CoinRewardTier from another part of the game code, then copy and paste it into NewPlayerData so that startCoins = CoinRewardTier.Small. Sure, that will probably break something else somewhere else, but it does the job for now.

The idea of ​​execution, cutting corners, permeates all the intricacies of the game, makes it fun to be honest, teaches bad habits brilliantly. Lots of well-deserved coding games that act as if they are benefiting players with great knowledge – not here. Here, in this wonderfully crafted game, even the coding puzzles lean to the nasty tune of trying to stay afloat during disaster.

A party in a bungalow in the woods, with everyone in their video game costumes.

Screenshots: F2House

The story is told in a very orderly manner. The opening I gave you at the top is where it all seems to begin, but as you play, you jump back into the timeline in a way that is very poorly explained. For the most part, this works great, but there are times when I find myself confused. There’s also a pretty pivotal moment that’s somewhat limited to the cutscene, leaving me pretty uncertain about what just happened. I mean, I figured it out, but it would be nice if it was explained in a better way.

My only gripe with the game is how slow Frank moves up and down stairs. It’s something you do with him a lot, as he watches the 2D side-scrolling scenes, and it allows for those beautiful moments of the game where the position changes as you walk in the door or climb the stairs. But you really took his time, and it started pulling. But, damn it, when this as my main complaint, you know you’ve got a cracked game here.

A metaphorical representation of the aborted experience, as the game's audience turns to the game's developer.

Screenshots: F2House

The art is breathtaking, especially the lighting and blooms on those pixelated characters, which is made even better by the amazing voice acting and a really lovely soundtrack. This is a damn solid.

It’s also a lot longer than I expected. At the point when I realized that things were turning around, I watched a YouTube playthrough (to review the puzzling scene I mentioned above) and knew I was halfway there. So at this point, I’m not done yet, but I’ve played enough to know that I wish you would too. It’s something special, a fascinating and moving exploration of the driving forces behind so much indie development, and how it can become incredibly unhealthy and toxic. . And it also feels full of hope, full of the potential of creation. And, somehow, it even has a doofus like me solving coding puzzles.

One Dreamer is out now On steam and GOG.

This article originally appeared on Buried treasurea site dedicated to highlighting great unknown games by great unknown newbies so please consider helping Patreon is here.

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