One Dreamer: Prologue

“One Dreamer: Prologue” by Gareth Ffoulkes, Ben Quinn, Johannes Johansson, Yloisa P., Nathan Sharp, Elsie Lovelock, Lizzie Ray, Kirsten Candelore, Octo, Lizzie Freeman, Kurt Ramjan, Mari Starkiller, Stacy GeekRemixaALot, DontWatchMePlay, Dalfairy, Brian Long, Jack Hawkins & Dottovu.

“[This is] the story of a failed [virtual reality] game developer who inadvertently inspired two young kids to follow in his footsteps. Program objects, solve coding puzzles and discover the reason why Frank became a game [developer in the first place.]”

“One Dreamer: Prologue” acts a promotion for the upcoming game “One Dreamer”, but it may not act as the first real chapter of the title. As Garath Ffoulkes states, it “can be played as a short, conclusive story on its own”. Indeed I must say that this story-driven love child of the programming game and adventure genre is quite an experience on many levels for itself. Audiovisually it is a delight, as it features wonderful pixel art, a suiting soundtrack and a wide cast of amazing voice actors plus voice actresses, that fill not only the main characters with life, but also each single non-player character and even an arcade cabinet.

Gameplay-wise, “One Dreamer: Prologue” shines with its programming puzzles, which follow an intuitive design, but a quick look into the plot is needed to properly explain what I mean by that. We play as Frank, one of two aspiring game developers who both want to make a game in honor of their personal hero Jumbo. Jumbo invented a laterly cancelled virtual reality game called “IsekaiVR”, of which Frank and his friend Luna were very fond, so they also wanted to create such a title. The youngsters get onto it and develop a prototype, but they are not sure what to call it. Luna wants the game to be called “LlamaVR”, while Frank is in favor of “ProxyLIFE”.

To settle this problem, Frank challenges Luna to a “P/\DDLE” match inside their game world. Suddenly Luna disappears and Frank must find her, so that they can finally make a decision. However, sudden paths are blocked, but as it is a virtual world which Frank created, he can also change it. That gets done by solving programming puzzles, which are based on pseudocode and thereby fairly easy to understand, even for people who do not code at all. For example, you can interact with a roller door and see that the variable “state” has the value “close”, but you want to open it, so you give it the value “open”. While there are some more challenging riddles, they are managable overall. This intuitive puzzle design in combination with a point and click based interface makes “One Dreamer: Prologue” a wonderful game.

What is also special about “One Dreamer: Prologue” is the final scene, as it explains so much about the storyline and the background of each character in the short time span of only a few seconds. It is a bit of a tearjerker, a bittersweet end for a promising beginning. Do not worry, I will not spoil it to you. That is for you alone to experience. [PLAY]