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DreamBreak Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . By taking the best elements from games like Another World and Flashback, DreamBreak is an intriguing adventure game with fluid animation and plenty of colorful locations to explore. It's also a captivating mystery full of action and intrigue. Some will be turned off by the clunky gameplay and simple puzzles, but DreamBreak is a journey I won't soon forget. Rating: 71%
DreamBreak
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  • Review Score:

  • B
Not long ago, I reviewed a game called The Way. It's an emotionally stirring 2D adventure game that was more than a little influenced by games like Flashback and Another World. But despite evoking the spirit of those old rotoscope masterpieces, it managed to update the formula and actually improve the gameplay. Now comes DreamBreak, a game with very similar goals and influences. It's a thrilling adventure that manages to bring something new to the formula, even if it keeps the clunky controls from the 1990s.

You play Eugene, a simple janitor who gets mixed up in a political struggle when he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. This sets up a compelling cyberpunk thriller set in a futuristic U.S.S.R. where robots patrol the streets and Big Brother is always watching. With no good options and even fewer people to trust, Eugene decides to fight through the neon city in search of answers.


This is the type of adventure game where you'll arrive in a new location and then proceed to solve puzzles to advance the story. The good news is that most of these puzzles are pretty simple and require little more picking up obvious items and using them at the right spot. You won't need to combine items or carry a large inventory, because each area is self-contained and none of the brain-teasers are very challenging.

When you're not solving puzzles, Eugene will need to kill a small army's worth of armed guards. We're introduced to the combat mechanic through a western-themed arcade game, teaching us how to shoot and block oncoming fire. This becomes an invaluable resource as you battle our robot oppressors.

DreamBreak is at its best when it's mimicking Flashback. I enjoyed exploring the diverse areas looking for useful items and outsmarting the guards. It's when the game veers away from its roots that it starts to run into problems. There are a number of lengthy car chase scenes, each with a slightly different gimmick. Instead of breaking up the action, I found these to be long and boring diversions. I couldn't wait to get back to searching for clues and solving puzzles.

DreamBreaker (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

And it's not just the flying cars that are a drag, but also the needless tile-swapping puzzles. These completely out-of-place challenges remind me of Pipe Mania and involve rotating tiles to redirect the water flow or electrical current to the proper spot. It's not that these puzzles are poorly executed; they're just easy and repeated too many times.

I was concerned going in that the sluggish gameplay would take me out of an otherwise compelling journey. That didn't happen, for the most part. DreamBreak does a good job of sidestepping this issue by keeping most of the action to the brief shoot-out scenes. You don't roll around or need to get running jumps like past games, Eugene's moves are extremely limited and easy to pull off. Players can also opt to play through the entire quest with a mouse, effectively turning it into a point and click adventure game.

But even with fewer moves and less reliance on action, the clunky gameplay still got in the way. There are a few obstacles that require perfect timing, which is just not something this type of game is good at. Thankfully, there are only a few of these sections spread across a two hour game, but they do have a bad habit of wrecking the momentum of an otherwise exciting adventure.

DreamBreaker (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

One thing that didn't let me down was the visuals. The game employs a stylish throwback look that uses a lot of pixels to tell its story. There's just enough detail to bright this cyberpunk world to life, and I was impressed by how vastly different each area looks. This is accompanied by a killer chiptunes soundtrack full of catchy songs. There's a lot to like about the presentation.

By taking the best elements from games like Another World and Flashback, DreamBreak is an intriguing adventure game with fluid animation and plenty of colorful locations to explore. It's also a captivating mystery full of action and intrigue. Some will be turned off by the clunky gameplay and simple puzzles, but DreamBreak is a journey I won't soon forget.
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