Alice & Smith has certainly been busy lately. First there was the paranormal alternate reality thriller The Black Watchmen. Then came the announcement of the first TBW spin-off, the story-based hacking sim NITE Team 4. Now the Montreal-based developer has unleashed on Steam Early Access the oddly-titled Ahnayro: The Dream World, yet another facet of the Black Watchmen shared universe, though the exact relationship to these other titles is apparently being kept a mystery for now.
Ahnayro takes a slightly more relaxed approach to Alice & Smith’s reality-bending game formula, although the studio’s familiar research-heavy mechanics appear to be firmly in place. Rather than the high-pressure world of espionage and cyber-warfare, in this story-based puzzler players assume the role of someone capable of exploring their own subconscious through lucid dreaming. You are haunted by “mysterious figures from the Victorian era,” tormenting you at night for reasons unknown. In order to end your suffering, you must piece together the meaning of these strange dreams.
Each dream is broken into multiple “fragments,” containing pictures and items that share a common idea or theme which must be discovered, then the connections between fragments pieced together as well. Each fragment can be explored in any order, meaning that if you get stuck on one puzzle you can work on others in the meantime. Audio narration provided with each fragment advances the story and provides further clues to the fragment’s answer. By solving all the fragments and piecing together their connection to each other, you can finally summon up the tormentors and confront them to end your suffering.
While mainly controlled using the mouse, players can expect to Alt-Tab in and out of the game’s client for online research into each puzzle’s clues to find all the information needed to solve them. Such information promises to span real-world topics like “art history, mythology, historical events and figures,” as well as the “hidden connections between them.” In a nod to the game’s alternate reality gaming roots, when its full release arrives, Ahnayro will only be playable at night, though during Early Access this feature can be disabled. The opportunity to solve ARG-related content is also being teased for those who make it to the end of the current Early Access release, though the exact nature of this content has yet to be determined.
Ahnayro: The Dream World is slated to release in its final form on Steam for Windows and Mac sometime this fall. Those interested in gaining Early Access in the meantime can snag a copy for $5.99, a 50% discount off the expected launch price. For more information, cruise on over to the title’s official website.