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About the Story
"Outside, the chill wind wails and tears the leaves from their branches. Gusts of wind scour the muddy sidewalks; gusts of wind roar through the alleys between buildings. Before one gust can fade, another swells behind it, and another behind that, flowing in an endless torrent. All the world is awash in wind. The walls of your room groan like the hull of a sinking vessel."
Nominee, Best Setting - 2015 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 5
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All of S. Woodson's games are just amazing- the worldbuilding is dense and rich, and you get the feeling that you're only seeing a tiny piece of the universe the game takes place in. It's the same thing with Beautiful Dreamer.
There's not much I can say about this game without spoiling it, but I really enjoyed playing. The descriptions are vivid and although there aren't multiple endings, you definitely feel like you're choosing your own path.
My favorite little addition to this game was (Spoiler - click to show)the person in the owl-print shirt, who was hinted to be the protagonist of Magical Makeover (especially in the cast section). I'm a sucker for little connections like that, and it made me really happy.
It's a sleepless night for you, and instead of laying in bed trying to go to sleep, you've started exploring the house. You can read books, listen to the radio, or do a million other little things; like Magical Makeover, there is a bit of combinatorial explosion, which lends a surprising but welcome depth to the game.
The breadth of the writing makes for entertaining reading. You can listen to a radio discussion between what we would probably call aliens, disputing the existence of parallel universes. You can catch the lunar moth which has been eating your books. Thankfully, the seemingly arbitrary worlds are unified with a few common themes, and things referred to in the beginning are remain consistent to the end, which stopped Beautiful Dreamer from being bogged down with beautiful but pointless detail.
It is stated in the ending text that this game was meant to be chiefly an exploration game. The order in which you explore partially determines what you experience, but otherwise there is a single ending. This is not meant as a criticism. Woodson creates gorgeously detailed worlds, awash with colour and light, as befits a world meant to belong in a dream - not your dream, but someone's dream.
Beautiful Dreamer is one of the best Twine games to come out so far this year. In this fantasy game, you try to sleep at night during a windstorm.
You slowly realize that the game's world is not the same as your own. The world has a strong internal consistency, and you begin to learn more of its rules and nature.
The game is quite large. I was quite thrilled to discover (Spoiler - click to show)a classic CYOA gamebook near the beginning of the game. I thought the game was quite big already, but when I finished it and read the credits, I discovered that I had missed thousands of words' worth of text, which I went back and read.
The tone is a lot like Howl's Moving Castle (both the book and the movie), with archetypal characters, much talk of dreams, surreal magic, etc.
I also felt there were many similarities with Eidolon: (Spoiler - click to show)exploring a dark and shadowy bedroom, dream-type worlds, and a moth motif.
I strongly recommend this game.
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