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Dreii Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With a simple concept and unique art style, Dreii is a curious new multiplayer-focused puzzle game. While not especially difficult, I had a good time fighting over pieces with online friends and uncovering the mystery of Dreii. Unfortunately, it's not always clear how to team-up with friends online and too many of the best puzzle ideas are quickly abandoned. Rating: 64%
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce Dreii. I'm pretty sure it's like the doctor and rhymes with "play," but it's a little hard to tell. The truth is, that's not the only thing that confuses me about Etter Studio's newest multiplayer puzzle game. I found myself left with more questions than answers, especially when it came to playing with friends and figuring out the story. But if you don't mind scratching your head from time to time, Dreii proves to be a fun new take on traditional physics puzzles.

The goal is simple: Cover the dot with a white object. You do this by flying a randomly-created character around the screen moving the puzzle pieces into place. With only a few things you can interact with, the idea is to stack and move the pieces into the right order and cover the dot. But as anybody who has flown a helicopter before can tell you, it takes a lot of patience and precision to move these heavy objects.

This job is made even harder as Dreii begins to add new rules to the formula. Our hero, along with his puzzle-solving buddies, will need to stack objects on the water, in the middle of a storm and even in the far off recesses of space. These variations not only look different, but affect the gameplay in significant ways. For example, the outer space stages introduce a gravity component, while the water forces you to consider buoyancy.

Although it's possible to complete the puzzles by yourself, it's obvious from the get-go that Dreii was designed with multiplayer in mind. There are objects that are significantly easier to place with a second or third person in the mix, and there were plenty of times when I was thankful to have somebody holding the pieces in place. Best of all, having another set of eyes on the puzzles made clearing each stage that much easier.

Dreii (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Unfortunately, the multiplayer experience is far from painless. For one thing, it's never clear how to meet up with friends. There are no servers to search and you won't see anybody's username when playing. You can't even chat, unless you count the limited one-word emotes that you earn throughout the game. While I eventually located my co-op partners, it required some luck and a Skype call.

With so little information, I got the feeling that Dreii was taking a page out of Journey's playbook. It's as if they want you to meet up with random players and share brief, poor-communicated moments. That's a cool concept, but it doesn't work in this style of puzzle game. What ended up happening is that I ran into a player that solved too many of the levels for me. Worst of all, they looked almost exactly like the hero in Journey.

Dreii (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

But even if you get matched up with your friends, it still doesn't fix Dreii's other issues. For starters, I found the puzzles to be a little on the easy side. And it's not just because we had several brains working together; most of the puzzles were completed in the first or second attempt. The few times I got hung-up on a stage came because of something working against me, like the wind knocking everything over or the water being unpredictable.

I also wish the levels did more with their gimmicks, especially towards the end. It started to feel like the game would introduce a new concept one minute and then ditch it the next. There are a lot of extra puzzles lining the world map, but it still felt like some ideas got short shrift. I wish the game would have added the gravity mechanics much earlier, as that is by far the most exciting wrinkle to the theme.

While it's a little too easy and the best ideas are quickly abandoned, I was won over by the sharp visuals and characters. I couldn't help but laugh while wrestling the pieces away from the two other players, and I can see how this would be a blast at a party. Sadly, Dreii's more obtuse elements keep me from fully connecting with this simple puzzler.
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