Dream – Review
Follow Genre: Indie first person exploration adventure
Developer: HyperSloth
Publisher: Mastertronic
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Dream – Review

Site Score
Good: music, atmosphere, very different dream worlds, subtlety in the nightmares, multiple endings
Bad: effects disturb Howard's model, glitches require restarts, custom keybinding incomplete
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Dreams have always made people wonder. Why do we have them? What do they mean? Can they help you to find answers to questions you have burried deep within your subconsciousness? In HyperSloth’s Dream, some of these questions are answered as you follow a young man into his dreams and nightmares as he tries to find a way to cope with his personal struggles.

Dream menu


Meet Howard, a young man plagued by questions and uncertainties. During his waking hours, life is a drag as he wrestles with the questions we all have to face at a certain point in our lives: what do I want to be in the future, and what do I want to do with my life? In search for answers he can’t seem to find during daytime, Howard plunges into his dreams in hopes of finding clues in his unconscious. Will his discoveries lead him to the meaning of his life, or will he allow himself to be fully taken over by his obsession with his own dreams?

The story of Dream is being told in both visuals and text. Throughout the game, the player can find clues to the lives of Howard and late Uncle Ed. The meaning of several of these items only becomes clear as the game progresses, resulting in quite a few ‘ooo, that’s why’ moments. Meanwhile the text comes in the shape of comments made by Howard throughout his adventures, snippets he finds along the way, and one big memory which shapes him into the person he believes himself to be.


Dream allows the player to take control over Howard in full-on 3D environments. While the graphics don’t bring anything new, there is enough detail to set the mood and give you a good sense of the location. Dreams that stray further away from the more rectangular settings make the best use of the 3D style, leaving you to wander beautifully crafted locations that indeed allow you to dream. It certainly pays off to look in every nook and cranny and take in your surroundings. Absurdity definitely makes for interesting views. The game is also laced with its iconic cubes, both white and black, each representing a building block for either dreams or full-on nightmares. The simplicity of this idea combined with the actual supposed meaning of seeing said cubes within your dreams, make for great symbolism.

Dream 1

While the chosen style works perfectly for the game, there are certain elements that could’ve made the title better had they been smoothed out before release. One of these is the way subtitles appear on screen. While the idea of white lettering on a blackish band isn’t bad, the text they are trying to squash into them is sometimes longer than the bands can hold. This means some subtitles spill out into the -usually lighter- backgrounds, making part of them harder to read. Another point is the rendering of Howard himself. While it is an asset to be able to see the young man’s shadow while walking and his sleepy mug when gazing into a mirror, something funny happens when rooms visually distort. Suddenly it looks like Howard peels off into various parts, until the effect wears off. Luckily neither of these issues break the game.


The highlight of Dream is definitely its soundtrack. The way it dictates the atmosphere and manages to bring over senses of tranquillity and dread alike, is sublime. The way it makes less visual nightmares feel threatening, is a perfect example of this. The voice-acting is also well done, even though we did feel the voices of Howard and Ed were a little too close in timbre to be easily recognisable as separate. Anyone with a fancy for British English will love the characters’ pronunciation however. It’s only a tad unfortunate that the game holds quite a few spoken lines that deviate from their subtitles.

Dream 2


Dream is an Indie first person exploration adventure in which you navigate the subconscious mind of protagonist Howard Phillips and solve puzzles to get further ahead. In the game, you start off on the sofa, half-awake after having fallen asleep while watching TV. Obviously it’s time to move to the more comfortable bed upstairs and so your first mission is to find your room. This part teaches you all the basics in the game, from moving around to interacting with various objects. Once you drag your pyjama-clad bottom to your very own four legged mattress, the real adventure starts.

Once fast asleep, Howard ends up in his very own dreamhub. Around him white and black cubes float about and form structures while strange little pedestals, which will serve as places to stall your collected dream-items, mark a centre platform. Further on, an arch entirely made up of white cubes stands proudly, waiting for you to pass through to bring you to your very first dream. This is where your adventure truly begins.

The game comes with three major dreams with each and every one of them holding one or more side dreams. Every dream looks entirely different from the other and comes with their own puzzles and collectables, Amongst these collectables are Dream Bible snippets, pieces of text that explain certain aspects of the dream you are facing. Be sure to interact with all sorts of items in the waking world, as your experiences in real life can influence the dreams you visit. By completing the main puzzle of a major dream, a black portal will become reachable. Passing through seemingly wakes you up. Or… does it?

Dream 5

Black portals transport you right into a nightmare that needs to be completed in order to be able to move on to the next major dream. These dark ordeals always use the waking world as their palette to paint with and mix disturbing visuals, eerie sounds and actual dream mechanics to create psychologically disconcerting levels. Finishing a nightmare will however present you with pieces of an important memory, giving you more and more insight into the background and psyche of Howard and his relationship with Uncle Ed.

The game mechanics are pretty straightforward. You walk around using the WASD-keys while your mouse helps you to look around and direct your movement. The Spacebar allows you to jump while Shift and Control make you run or crouch respectively. Interaction with items in reality, as with the young man’s subconscious, can be done with a simple mouse click. Anything you can engage with will get a slightly blueish hue as you hover your mouse over it. The pointer also turns into a little hand of which the index finger points out to the object. Items you can pick up will appear in the middle of your screen as a sort of zoom-in. Some of them can be added to your inventory/collection by pressing E and used by pressing F. Getting stuck in the game, whether by your own fault or because of a glitch, can easily be solved in Dream by literally grabbing an old alarm clock from your inventory and setting it off. While we only needed to wake up once, this addition to the game is certainly a welcome gift. The only bad thing about the controls, is that new key bindings seem to revert back to the standard ones. Luckily the developers are already looking into this problem.

Dream 4

Though the controls are easy enough to master, it’s the game world itself that will prove more of a challenge. Maybe not always in its puzzles – as the difficulty certainly varies – but definitely in how you decide to tackle Howard’s inner problems with his past and future. The game provides tons of exploration value for you to move through and monitors your every step. For example, don’t think you can just wake up from a puzzle that locks you in and try to go past it. That simply does not qualify as being ‘stuck’ and thus the game will teleport you right back into the pit when you move back into the dream. On the other hand puzzles always get saved automatically upon completion, so that even when you need to end a session, you won’t need to redo any of them when revisiting. However, simply making sure you aren’t trying to cheat isn’t exactly why Dream is keeping score of your progress…

Dream’s ending isn’t set into stone. It allows for the player to decide, through their actions in and out of the dreamworlds, what Howard will end up doing with his life. Will your actions help him come to terms with himself and set him on a path to glory as a writer? Are his days going to be filled with menial tasks that barely pay him enough to be able to live? Or is he going to spiral further into the depths of madness, taking his obsession of dreams a tad too far for comfort? You, the player, hold the key to his future. Will you like what you find behind the final portal?

An unfortunate point is that yes, the game will sometimes seem to bug out. This becomes more apparent when you are unable to interact with items anymore or certain sounds refuse to play. The problem can however easily be undone by restarting the game.

Dream 3


Dream is a surprisingly fun artistic game that will capture the heart of anyone that is willing to pause and look around. Howard’s story is brought to live in such a simplistic way that it is able to gnaw on your own subconsciousness. In the end, you not only try to understand what is going on in his mind while you investigate his many dreams, but you will also find yourself actively trying to save his future. Allow yourself to be led by the game’s fantastic soundtrack while the nightmares play around with your mind. Note however that Dream definitely isn’t meant to be properly scary, so don’t go in expecting to find a horror title. It also isn’t perfect in any way, but the fact the gameplay keeps pulling you back and subtly plays with your mind, is enough to forget most of its blemishes. So sit back, breathe in the atmosphere and enjoy the ride.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Dream – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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