Making games is hard. This fact is true on two different levels in One Dreamer, a genre-bending pixel art adventure from Gareth Ffoulkes that is finally nearing completion after several long years of development.
Frank is an "aspiring independent game developer" who is struggling to finish his debut creation, burnt out and burdened by life's demands. In order to "rediscover his love for video games," Frank seeks inspiration by embracing "the twisted world of his own consciousness through lucid dreaming. However, the deeper he goes, the more disconnected he becomes from reality and the more he contemplates his own existence." In order to help Frank complete his quest, players will need to "reprogram objects, fix bugs and solve coding puzzles" in an adventure that encompasses two different realities and multiple play styles.
Fully voiced and presented in a distinctive pixel art style, the keyboard-controlled One Dreamer takes place both in the protagonist's "reality state" and in his "dream state." In the former, gameplay consists of "detective style wandering around, interacting with objects and puzzle-solving elements." When Frank falls asleep, the gameplay "drastically changes" to suit the ever-evolving nature of his dreams. Here, not only must you learn how to master "realistic, but easy to understand pseudocode puzzles," you will also encounter a variety of other elements, ranging from light platforming and stealth to character switching and inventory crafting, among other things. Along the way you'll meet a number of different characters in Frank's everyday life, such as "his pet rabbit, girlfriend, parents and associate game developers," who take on "alternate versions" in his dreams that are "heavily influenced by Frank's mental state."
After being successfully Kickstarted back in 2015, One Dreamer is at long last nearing completion. It isn't due to launch on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux until sometime later this year, but a playable prologue is available to download in the meantime.