First 48 Minutes – Dreambreak (Impressions)
For gamers, their chance of finishing a game is cut in half if they don’t get engaged in the first 48
hours minutes. Well, maybe not exactly 48 minutes. Maybe 60, maybe 30, maybe 90. The fact is that the beginning of a game can make or break a game, especially in this day of Steam refunds. In this installment, we will take a look at Dreambreak from Aist Studio and Digerati Distribution.
Dreambreak is a point and click adventure/action game set in a cyberpunk version of the U.S.S.R. You play as Eugene, a normal everyday janitor, who is suddenly thrust into the world of spies and espionage. When the story begins, you are going about your daily routine, taking the train to work, which happens to be a dive bar. After completing a few tasks, a patron of the bar asks you to pick up something he has dropped, a digital pad. As you pick it up, it turns on and recognizes you. It turns out to be a CIA communication device and gives you a specific message, “Get out. Now.” The man turns and leaves the bar, you decide to follow. As you exit the bar, the CIA operative has just been killed and the assailant pushes past you.
You inform the authorities and decide to leave for the day. Instead of going home, like any normal person would, you decide to visit his hotel room to search for clues. As you are leaving the room, you are spotted and have to run for your life. After a few shootouts with some cops and taking down some police drones, you eventually make your way to a strip club in order to see a stripper named Maria. As it turns out, Maria isn’t a stripper at all, but a member of the underground resistance set on overthrowing the oppressive regime. They have enlisted you to help kill the leader of the U.S.S.R, whether you like it or not.
I gave the beginning of Dreambreak two goes, once by keyboard and mouse (well, built in trackpad) and once with controller. When I played it the first time, there were no clues or indication where to go. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. You can either use the keyboard to move or, in true point and click style, click on where you want to go, interact with objects, etc.
When you use the mouse, you basically move in a grid-like fashion. Once you are in the bar, you are tasked with turning on the lights. For some reason, there is a hole in the ground that you must jump over. Clicking the tile past the hole does nothing. Running and clicking the space does nothing. To jump you have to click the tile above you. Apparently, all the controls are given to you in the hints menu, which I never noticed alerts you that you can open it.
After escaping from the hotel and stealing a taxi, you find yourself fleeing from a swarm of police drones. During this segment, you must line up a spinning reticle with the drone and input a series of directional inputs in order to take it down. You have a limited amount of time to do this before the drone disables your car. I seriously spent around 20 minutes on this segment before I gave up. It was probably one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve played, and this was the beginning of the game. I almost stopped playing right there. I knew it had controller support, so I decided to hook up my 360 controller and give it a go. While playing with a controller, the game loses the point and click aspect, but made the game so much more playable. The first time I played, I clocked in one hour before I gave up. After playing with a controller, I finished the same portion in one-third of the time. When playing with a controller, the controls are a bit clunky, but serviceable once you get the hang of it.
Dreambreak is a throwback to the old 8-bit, DOS games of the 80s and 90s. For being pixel art, the backgrounds are surprisingly detailed. The people, not so much. The soundtrack is good and fits the style and mood of the game. The only problem I had with the game, graphics wise, was the text. There are times where the text is so hard to read, I can’t tell what it says. That problem aside, for what the game sets out to do it does well.
So, does Dreambreak have enough substance to hold one’s interest past the first 48 (or so) minutes? If you can get past the controls in some of the mini game-esque segments (or in my case, play with controllers) and enjoy cyberpunk, future dystopian stories, then yes. So far. Whether the story can keep my interest, we shall soon find out.
Dreambreak Launch Trailer
Dreambreak (First Impressions)
So far, Dreambreak seems to be a solid action/point-and-click games once you get past the clunky controls. Well, I guess the controls fit the style of game they are imitating. The story, so far, is interesting enough, to keep me interested. Review score might change once I get a bit further, but for now, I’d say this is still a game worth checking out.