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(based on 18 ratings)
About the Story
Aliss can control her dreams, but will this help her when she's stuck in a galaxy on the brink of destruction?
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: July 12, 2012
Current Version: 2
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual NPC - 2012 XYZZY Awards
1st Place - The Andromeda Legacy Competion
"Andromeda Dreaming is the most engaging new IF I've played this year. It makes a virtue of strong linearity by expressing its meaning through its structure."
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Sparkly IF Reviews
"It takes place simultaneously with the events of Andromeda Awakening and suggests answers to some of the human questions that the other game does not directly address. Because it takes place in a social context, it also sketches in such elements as culture, educational styles, even types of slang, which are not covered in Andromeda Awakening. The cumulative result is that each story feels more meaningful because of the other."
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Number of Reviews: 4
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The excellent Andromeda Dreaming shares a universe with and is set immediately prior to the events depicted in Marco Innocenti's sci-fi adventure Andromeda Awakening (The Final Cut). Awakening saw the player take on the role of a scientist exploring an alien underground in the wake of a planetary disaster. In Dreaming, a new character, Aliss, wakes to find herself quarantined to a bunk in cylindrical space pod 19-Q, bound for somewhere. As Aliss, you're unsure of where you came from or where you're going, and so you begin to engage the other bunk dwellers in one cryptic-seeming conversation after another, sliding in and out of a sleep in which dreams reveal fragments of unsettling memories.
Dreaming has a wonderful structure, a nervous-making and palpable trajectory, its own very funny slang language (sported by the loquacious NPC Kadro) and extra frisson for people who have played Andromeda Awakening, though doing so is not a prerequisite. Extra frisson can also be derived retrospectively by playing Awakening after Dreaming.
Dreaming uses the quarantine pod as a hub location, a necessarily sparse and isolated one. Even if there was something in here to fiddle with, you couldn't reach it as you are strapped down in your bunk. All you can do initially is talk to the other pod inhabitants or go to sleep, yet these are the only actions needed in this location to drive the story forward, as it is your conversations and dreams which fill in the blanks of your predicament. Through just a handful of changeable features in the pod – different bunks being open or closed at different times, different characters being awake or asleep, a TV screen being on or off – the author is able to convey that groggy sense of time passing in a hermetically sealed space that anyone who has flown will recognise.
The conversations are managed by the same menu-based quips system Joey Jones has used effectively since his sci-fi adventure Calm. Aliss mostly has hesitant queries at her disposal, and they're mostly hesitant queries that are similar to each other because they all have the same goal of trying to elicit any and all information from the other party. Thus the interest is carried by the other characters' responses. My only technical quibble with the game is that it's possible to lose your bearings a bit if you UNDO during a menu conversation.
The various dream locations Aliss finds herself in demonstrate different levels of vividness, with temporary restrictions on the parser working perfectly to deliver an aesthetic of the intangible or incomplete; dreams with holes in them, or in which forgotten details are replaced by familiar ones. Another good trick on display is the technique of describing specific details before the broader ones, as if the memories are like close-ups that are stuck on certain things. In purely mechanical terms, the dreams are simple and linear, but their effect is entirely involving. The transitions from dreams back to the now are also well executed. Crucially, the returns to consciousness aren't announced. All the game has to do to achieve this is not reprint the room description, resulting in the player inevitably bumping back into the present with a command that doesn't work because the location has changed. It's a simple but totally effective aesthetic trick achieved with the parser alone.
To speak on the game's revelations about the situation it presents would be spoilerage. Instead, I'll just say I think Andromeda Dreaming is one of 2012's best IF games. It makes a virtue of its strong linearity by expressing its meaning through its structure. Trickiness is conveyed simply. Limitations turn out to be assets. The game is funny, unsettling and affecting.
If you complete it once, you may then wish to read the following: (Spoiler - click to show)There are many endings. Not several – at least twice that.
This game was written as part of a competition to extend the universe of Andromeda Awakening and Andromeda Apocalypse, two of the best sci fi games out there.
This game plays with constraints in a very effective way. As the game opens, you are strapped into a bunk, unable to move. The setting will make much more sense for those who have played the first Andromeda game.
The game is mostly conversation based. It has a Gostak or For a Change feel, where you have to try and decipher what other people are saying. This part was a lot of fun, developing a new slang.
The game is quite short; I finished without a walkthrough in less than twenty minutes. However, it is very well crafted. There are supposedly many endings, but I have only reached one, and it was a good one,
This possibly has the highest fun-to-time ratio of any game I have played, so I recommend it to everyone..
Since I only recently discovered the Andromeda games, I had no idea about the competition, or about the supposed controversy the original game had generated. I played through this piece only after completing Andromeda Apocalypse, because I wanted to play through them all in what I thought was the proper order. Looking back, I wish I had played this immediately after Andromeda Awakening, because parts of Apocalypse would have made a little more sense, like the reference to Gettare Rinors.
Progress through this story is very much like Photopia, only you play as the same character the whole time, going in and out of dream sequences. Choices you make during conversation will affect the final outcome though, so there is a little replay value. The story takes place concurrent with the events of Awakening, but with a different character in a different place. Overall, the story adds a nice backdrop for fans of the Andromeda games.
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