Developer: Etter Studio
Publisher: Etter Studio
Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Wii U, PlayStation 4 (coming soon), PlayStation Vita (coming soon)
Tested on: PC
Dreii – Review
Dreii is a new puzzle game made by Etter Studio that’s all about skill, logic, friendship and cooperation. It provides real-time, cross platform multiplayer puzzling with a very simple goal: build a tower. This might sound simple, but it’s harder than it seems… Build a tower, play with friends, speak in 19 languages, dance and look at the beautiful design!
When you’re looking for a story, you shouldn’t look for it in Dreii. It doesn’t feature any story whatsoever throughout the game. There’s no introduction, no cutscenes and nothing else attached, you just get puzzling! However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Dreii is very minimalistic and it’s just fine how it is. It would’ve been hard to fit a story in there that would have made at least some sense anyhow.
Dreii’s graphics pay high attention to minimalism and detail. Everything looks very clean and peaceful with not too much things distracting you from your goal. Everything is in a white or grey tone expect for the players. When players move a block the block also gets the same color as the player, which is pretty cool and also shows you who’s moving what block more clearly.
Just like the graphics, the sounds in Dreii are very minimal. There’s no music whatsoever except for a little slither on the last level, but that’s all there is. The only sounds you’ll hear a lot is when you’re moving around. More specifically, every character has its own “music” when moving around the level. This is surprisingly cool and not annoying at all, it’s even kind of relaxing when you’re with multiple people in the same level.
In essence, Dreii is a very basic puzzle game and therefore very easy to learn. You have a target which is a little light and you have to stack blocks until you cover the light. If your contraption covers the light without you holding on for a couple of seconds, you clear the level and can move on to the next one.
This sounds pretty simple, and it is, but the further you get, the more difficult the levels become. You’ll have to factor in a couple of variables, but the biggest one is physics. Some levels might look straightforward at first, but the actual solution may be nothing like you’ve thought before, which can cause you to get stuck for a long time. This is where another element of Dreii comes in to help: multiplayer. Dreii features a simple drop in-drop out multiplayer system which doesn’t require any lobbies, party invites or other nonsense. Every puzzle can be joined and left by anyone playing. You can also communicate with a limited set of words, which makes for very fun conversations from time to time.
It’s this multiplayer aspect that’s also the biggest annoyance in Dreii. People just able to drop into your levels with no restriction means that some people can really mess up the puzzle you’re trying to solve. For example, there might be this one guy that just goes around every level where he sees other people, and simply ruin the whole tower you’ve been building. There’s also no way to turn off this multiplayer aspect, not even going offline on Steam or running Steam in offline mode. You actually have to turn off your internet connection, which is extremely annoying.
Another annoyance this multiplayer aspect brings is that in every lobby you’re connected to the internet. If you have a bad internet connection, this also means that blocks you’re moving can just lag around all over the place, which is probably due to the game constantly sending its state to the server and back. This is one of the main reasons my internet was turned off through almost the whole game, except for the couple of levels which require multiplayer to pass.
Enough about the multiplayer nagging and back to the gameplay! As said, Dreii is a physics puzzle game where you stack blocks to cover the light. But not only you’ll have to factor in gravity and physics, but later in the game there’s also shadow blocks which don’t count even if you cover the objective with them. There’s weather effects which can knock your built towers over and water levels which require a lot of patience and careful maneuvering. There are also blocks which you can’t move directly, but can push around with other blocks, blocks that explode once they reach the target and fragile blocks that drop when you move them too fast. Once you get to the last couple of levels you’ll have to think a lot more about how you’re going to approach the levels, which might get frustrating for some people.
Dreii was an interesting ride from start to finish. Most of the puzzles are very fun and require quite a bit of thinking to complete, combine that with the great design and sounds and you have yourself a very fun puzzle game. One of its strength is the free to join and leave multiplayer, this is also where its biggest weakness lies however as people can simply join your game and screw you over or make the game laggy by having bad connections. A patch with a simple private/public level switch would make Dreii even more worth it.