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About the Story
You are in a dream but if you stay you'll miss out on a great birthday!
20th Place - 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2013)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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(The original version of this review was split over two blog posts I wrote upon this game's initial 2013 IFComp release.)
Dream Pieces is a friendly-feeling bedroom adventure of word puzzling delivered via the Quest platform. It has semi-rhyming (and semi-straining) prose and some nods towards helpful production values – for instance you can choose whether the presentation is delivered to suit a desktop computer, a tablet or a mobile phone. The goal in Dream Pieces is to manipulate domestic objects in your bedroom to create tools and methods to further manipulate domestic objects in your bedroom, but it's more fun that I just made it sound. Tools can split the names of objects into constituent letters which can then be rearranged to create new props. The game uses some features of Quest well, like being able to right click a wordlet, click 'Mix', then click the thing you want to mix it with from a menu.
When I initially apprehended this mechanic, I felt my interest prickling, and since the game gives the impression of being easy enough for a child to complete, what with its child-like font and enthusiastic outlook, I figured I was about to power through the whole thing for some simple satisfaction. I ended up abandoning my first playthrough due to a moment of inflexibility that I mistook for a bug. Other IFCompers cleared me up on this point and brought it to my attention that there was a colour-related mechanism in play that I hadn't noticed. I then powered through to victory like I'd thought I'd been about to the first time. The game has apparently been significantly updated since I played its original incarnation.
Dream Pieces certainly offers easy word-chopping for an adult but would probably be more outwardly satisfying for a kid. It was also the first word game I'd seen released for the Quest platform, and it came out after a year that birthed a decent number of sophisticated word games in IFdom.
I played the most recent version of this game.
It's a fun wordplay game in Quest, where you click on different items to take and break them.
Breaking an item splits it up into different letters. You combine the letters to make new words.
It's fairly short, but I enjoyed it. There was some slowdown on textadventures.co.uk
I tested Dream Pieces for IFComp 2013 and remembered enjoying it, so I pulled it out again. It wasn't a hugely complex game, but it has a premise it was hard to dislike. You are in your room and need to get out, because it's your birthday, and there's a party waiting for you. There are items in the room you can break up. For instance, a desk breaks up into a DE and a K. You don't use the S.
Some things, you can't break right away, and you need an item that can destroy them. Building such an item is the first puzzle. Another is for destroying really big items. I enjoyed this whole process of building and destroying, and if it's a bit on rails, I think that's better than being too arbitrary--I found the puzzles challenging without being too frustrating, though there's a small risk they may be not challenging enough or not user-friendly enough either way. But on the whole, I like the balance. There are limited items, and if you understand the conventions of parser games, you know what you need.
What I'm really impressed with is the stuff I didn't remember. The author has done some neat work to improve DP post-comp. Rhymes are optional--I remember some reviewers bemoaned the rhymes, which I think are good for a non-native speaker. There are cheery sound effects when you do something right, and color coding may help you figure what goes with what. Quest allowing drag-and-drop or clicking for verbs is a big help, too, and this is one area where it might be better than Inform. You don't have to guess the verb.
DP feels like a neat wordplay game for people who enjoy the genre but might not be really hard-core. After many years, I was glad to come back to it, and I enjoyed seeing the features I forgot, some I now remembered the author saying "I can sneak that in before IFComp" and others he said he might like to try post-comp. He did.
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