AFTERDREAM, A HORROR-INSPIRED ADVENTURE GAME WITH OLDSCHOOL GRAPHICS.
This game came to us on the blog as a rather big surprise, as before it was addressed to our email but as seen lately – the download key was supplied within the first email and not based upon request, it seems more and more developers and publishers do it this way, especially for PSVR 2 games, maybe this is because of my connections in the game developer consortium or because of the reputation of the blog, I guess this is one of the perks one get for pushing titles via the blog or social media.
AFTERDREAM is out on all “current” formats including consoles, Steam and iOS/Android, the version we got for review is the PS5 version.
ADVENTURING WITHOUT A MOUSE?
The setting in-game is basically an adventure game set in a retro-inspired world where the protagonist is stuck in a lucid dream and is looking for an explanation as to why he is there and a solution to get out of it.
AFTERDREAM is yet another adventure game that you control with a joypad and not a mouse, but for some reason, it just feels natural and “made for it” unlike some other adventure games lately.
YOUR WEAPON IS A CAMERA…
You are set on a journey in a vivid and dreamlike setting and everything is explained by dialogues throughout the game, it doesn’t take long before you get a camera to help solve puzzles and whatnot.
The camera is your tool to find solutions to puzzles, find objects and hidden things through your lens (yes, odd concept indeed), the objects glow white when you find them with the camera and revealing it is done by taking a picture of it, this can be ghosts, pickups to solve a puzzle or even new paths to progress further into the house/story of the game.
Yes, I agree, it does seem odd and not really all that fun to play, but, it won’t take long before you really start to enjoy it thanks to the setting and the pace of the mechanics and gameplay.
The concept of using a camera in games isn’t new but for a 2D game it feels fresh and it fits this game perfectly.
TIMED ACTION EVENTS ARE STRESSFUL BUT STILL FUN.
You will eventually meet a few short “action” events, but none of them are as challenging or annoying as they might sound, they will for sure give you a feeling that you need to rush to find a solution to it, one of the first encounters will be that you need to use your camera blitz to chase something away.
Lockpicking has never been more fun and logical than this.
The puzzles you get throughout the game are far from hard, some are actually very logical, the lockpicking, for instance, is one of the best I have ever seen in a game, it just works and is never annoying.
There are also some “pipe-mania” types of puzzles, yet again very logical and very easy to understand.
I won’t spoil everything but you will also need to find codes, rotate dials adjust pressure to valves etc. to find the solution.
THE REST THEN?
Well, the whole game is well put together, it oozes quality in every aspect really, the sound fx, the music, the puzzles, the graphics and the story feel well thought out, most notably is probably the graphics for most people, yes it may look grainy and unclear, but as soon as you have played it for a few minutes you will eventually forget that and appreciate it for what it aims at.
If there is one thing with this game that is negative then it has to be that the dialogue is only text-based, it works great with text but I honestly think that full speech would have raised the game even more towards being an absolute must-buy title. Speech in games like this can be very hard to fit in really and I guess this is why it ain’t in here either.
The feeling I had at the end of the game was basically that I wanted more but at the same time, I felt it had explained everything I wanted to know, the game feels complete in all aspects and in no way did it feel like it was released too early or whatever. The music and sound fx are mysterious and challenge your senses in a way that not many sidescrolling horror games have done since Darkseed on the Commodore CD32 back in 1994. The graphics with its CRT-type scanlines and “bulb” type framework are tremendously good too, much better than I thought it would be for a game like this on a 55-inch flat screen panel, with no annoying overdone pixelated screens really. Where the game really excels is the story with how mysterious everything is and how it all unfolds throughout the game. AFTERDREAM is simply one of the best retro horror games that I have played in years if not decades – Well done Jesse Makkonen.
The game will be available on the 28th of September 2023 in all formats through their dedicated app stores, at this time the price is still TBA.
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