Dream Machine is a three-dimensional puzzle game from Game Digits which has been available on the Apple App Store and Google Play since July, earlier this year. Nonetheless, we got the chance to play it for the first time at the Yorkshire Games Festival earlier this month.
To start with, Dream Machine is rather pleasing to look at. Clear-cut artwork immediately catches the eye, drawing you into the world of its robot protagonist. Conceptually, it harks toward escaping the machine — our robot protagonist is but one part in an ever-turning network of gears. When it breaks down, it is replaced with another robot and taken away, presumably to be scrapped.
But that would make for a short game.
After this initial cutscene, your robot comes back to life and it’s up to you to help guide it out of the machine. While the subsequent puzzles do occupy most of your attention, there seems to be an undercurrent of story running throughout and the levels flow along with it (in the short selection we played). It was explained to us — and we found out — that assumptions you make about the world at the beginning are challenged as you help your robot escape further away, which hints at interesting reveals at the story’s end.
We mentioned that the puzzles flow: in the levels we played, the robot keeps moving forward. You can change its direction or pause it while you consider the situation, but you get a sense of perpetual motion nonetheless, aided by the fact that interacting with the puzzles is so simple. Just tap or swipe to stop the robot or change its direction, and draw circles on the screen to spin the wheels which control Dream Machine’s moving platforms. It’s satisfying to solve the puzzles-in-motion, especially when you have to think around your own assumptions.
We found Dream Machine to be an intriguing puzzler immersed in smooth artwork and gameplay alike. From the small amount we played at the festival, it looks to be a good app to add to your collection, subtle story and puzzle entwined along the path to freedom.