By Karoline Castillo-Troncoso
There’s something about completing puzzles that has always instilled a sense of determination within me; it’s the satisfaction of figuring out a puzzle’s solution after indulging in its perpetuity and then asking yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”
DayDream: Prologue, one of two free demos currently popular on Steam, is a great example of such occurrences. DayDream: Prologue is an atmospheric puzzle game (developed by Frozen Line and published by Ravenage Games) where the protagonist, Little Griffin, is trapped in an ominous new world with his faithful teddy bear companion, Birly, as they embark on an adventure that involves solving clever puzzles and encountering terrifying creatures.
This game offers puzzles of various difficulties with jumpscares every now and then to keep the player on their feet. But oftentimes, the player is unable to complete these puzzles on their own. With an added feature, Little Griffin is able to “command” Birley to help in doing so. I often overlooked the objective of some scenes throughout my gameplay, but if you look closely, throughout every scene Birley hints at an essential aspect of the puzzle’s solution.This encourages players to perceive certain puzzles from different perspectives.
To add to the game’s thrill-factor, it’d be cool to see creatures which the player has to fight in order to access the next scene. I believe the current, included chase scenes are appropriate for the beginning of the demo, but the creatures ight should intensify as the plot progresses to complement the game’s fluidity.
The atmosphere/scenery of DayDream: Prologue is phenomenal! I especially enjoyed the scene where Little Griffin and Birley were inside of a cylindrical building with stairs along one side. The flooring contained a glass window that allowed view into a body of water. A whale is shown passing by, and it cracks the glass. This offers a sense of intentionality that I admire – and quite a thrill.
The near-absence of music almost added to this game’s uncanny nature – leaving the player on edge and with a sense of waiting for something to happen. This tension only adds to the overall experience of this game and enhances the player’s gameplay. The characters themselves are adorable, which may throw many players off considering this game’s underlying essence, which is for lack of better words, not adorable. I also find how when Little Griffin experiences what many may call “fall damage” he collapses and his body falls into a state of entanglement – something I find rather comical. But I think there could be more and different animations when Little Griffin falls for the sake of the game’s realism.
In summary, DayDream: Prologue is only a preview of what’s to come – but its potential is evident and its plot is one that combines adventure, horror, and fantasy genres. I recommend this game to individuals who have indulged in the Little Nightmares franchise because it possesses aspects that are similar to it, but also to more general audiences that enjoy heartwarming plots with a twist at every turn.
At one point in our dream lives, we’ve all experienced that one nightmare where you’re being chased and no matter how fast you believe you’re running, the distance remains the same. There’s a sense of fear, but also a sense of thrill that arises in these types of vivid fictions, and it reminds me a lot of the game: Halls of Torment: Prelude, a retro dark fantasy game developed and published by Chasing Carrots.
The plot begins in a cave-like scene. At this point, only one protagonist is available but as the story goes on, players are able to unlock new characters as well as new weapons. Once the character has been acquired, they must walk through a large door and into a crowd of skeletons accompanied by other creatures that will soon begin to surround the player. This experience, viewed and played from a bird’s eye perspective – left me on edge, yet with a sense of determination to remain as far away as possible from the monsters.
The objective is to kill/fight off as many creeps as possible. Every time a player successfully eliminates an opposing force, it leaves behind blue shards which (when collected in a specific quantity) will allow the player to select power-ups that will help in battle. There will be times when the creatures get a little too close for comfort and therefore cause the player to lose health; you win some, you lose some. Once a player’s health has run out, they will be given an overview of the character’s stats: survival time, damage dealt, kills, damage received, character level, etc.
In summary, I would recommend Halls of Torment: Prelude to audiences who wish to relive nostalgic episodes from earlier decades: many say it is a combination of the 1997 phenomenon Diablo as well as the beloved Vampire Survivors – both exciting and memorable action-oriented experiences. Halls of Torment: Prelude provides a retro/old-school feel to a modern-day videogame, one that shouldn’t be missed when the full code drops.