Class Reunion - Class of 1969 - Liberty, Mississippi
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
Release Date: 5 Jun, 2017
I was pretty excited about this one, because I love dreams and weirdness, and the thought of exploring a dream world from a side view with upgrades allowing you to reach new areas seemed like... well... a dream come true. This is so dull and sluggish that it's frustrating. I wasn't expecting an action-packed dash through an intense world where I'm fighting off legions of nightmares with twin machine guns or anything, but the walk speed was torturous, and you have this sad little jump. I can tolerate this sort of thing if the game is designed around it, but this gives you a big hub world with many entry points into different dreams that's laid out like some kind of Escher painting, and unless you've been in the dream before, you can't use these entry points, so you have to wander around until you find one that you've already entered, and hope that the mostly linear dream sequence you've found has another exit that you've missed, or that it just randomly leads you to a new area.
This is the sort of thing that lives and dies by its artistic merits, and that's not immediately damning; Yume Nikki didn't have very strong gameplay, but it's my favorite Adventure title of all time. The writing comes across in text that just sits on the screen, as though it were part of the scenery. A little obtuse, but fair enough; it's a dream, after all. But what does it say? It's all observations about dreams, which could be quite profound, but they're observations that you'd hear if you'd asked a Kindergarten class to come up with a group poster about dreams. "Sometimes, my dreams are blurry." "I can fly in some dreams." "I don't like dreams that restrict my freedom." There's even one that talks about how sometimes, dreams are weird, and follows it up with how your little blob man has lost his reflection. That's the weirdest thing you could come up with? It comes off as though it's trying to be deep, but doesn't present anything of value.
So, what about the traditional artistic merits (i.e. the visuals)? Those fall flat, as well; much of what you encounter is monochrome, so color is mostly out. The biggest issue, visually, is that the artwork just isn't very good. This might be a personal bias, but while I love pixel art, I don't like the "minimalist" pixel art style used by a lot of indie developers that are trying to make something "artistic". You know the kind: people that look like the pixel equivalent of stick figures that have no facial features, aside from two little dots for eyes. The backgrounds and interactive objects aren't so bad, often approaching something unique and interesting, but they aren't enough to carry the world on their own.
In summary, I like art, and I like games, and I even like art games, but this is an art game that doesn't do well in either category.
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