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Remaining in a dream (PC) artwork

Remaining in a dream (PC) review

"Trapped in a nightmare"

Remaining in a dream (PC) image

At a glance, Remaining in a dream looks to be a surreal walking simulator. It places you in a colorful, cartoony world that's all but abandoned. Whole houses and huts sit vacant, their keys lying in the dirt or on tables. All is quiet and calm, and not even music fills the void. Questions form in your head. Where is everyone? Why am I here? What is this place? As with any first-person adventure title released since Dear Esther, you expect to find carefully placed, symbolic answers as you continue to wander the bright landscape. Eventually, though, you find a ray gun. Gears shift in your head, and suddenly the possibly pretentious quest you were about to undertake transforms into a budget shooter. You only hope that it'll be a frenetic, chaotic type of FPS with plenty of targets to blast and high-speed dodging.

After nabbing the gun, you enter the first proper level. Remaining in a dream's presentation doesn't change at all, except there are no houses here. You rush past a full arboretum and into a clearing, where adorable plant monsters slowly start slithering toward you. You stand poised and ready to evade projectiles, but none come at you. The goons before you are merely haphazardly placed obstacles that pose almost no threat. With a few blasts from your weapon, they wither and fade. You mosey on to the next level, suspecting this experience won't end well.

Remaining in a dream tosses a couple of gimmicky stages at you. The first offers a tricky trial involving lava pits, tiny islands and the wide spaces between them. You have to time your leaps just right while running. Otherwise, you'll land in the soup and suffer a horrible, burning death. You only get three lives, and losing all of them takes you to a confusing Game Over screen. The word "continue" lies at the bottom, but clicking on it takes you back to the title. That's not how we use that word in the gaming world, guys.

Thankfully, you can save scum in Remaining in a dream. That approach removes the game's difficulty rating, though, and renders its finite life system redundant. Maybe the developer thought offering finite lives would inspire people to play without saving for added challenge, but Remaining in a dream is such a thoroughly dreadful adventure that I don't see anyone bothering.

Remaining in a dream (PC) image

The only other gimmick level involves running through a giant hedge maze. There are no foes in this stage, but there doesn't need to be any. The hedges are so tall that you can't see where you're going, and it's easy to get lost. Only by examining the forms above the hedges, such as the surrounding hills, the clouds and the exit gate, can you effectively puzzle your way through this section. After some wandering, swearing, sighing and wondering if you shouldn't stop playing and fire up some other game that's actually engaging, you reach the gate. However, as you press the action key, a message pops up informing you that you need a key.

In fact, you need to exit the whole maze, look for a secondary entrance that takes you to a separate portion of the labyrinth and happen upon the key. Although only minutes pass, the stage feels like it lasts for ages.

Adversaries wouldn't have added any depth or excitement to the aforementioned level, either. If the stages preceding this event were any indication, you'd only end up battling a bunch of rudimentary creatures that simply walk toward you while producing creepy laughter. In addition to the killer plants I mentioned earlier, you battle goblins and anthropomorphic eggs, both of which utilize precisely the same AI routine: walk towards the player. They don't fire any bullets or move side to side or even jump up and down. All of your foes simply walk toward you, awaiting a death that you can easily give them.

Remaining in a dream (PC) image

Remaining in a dream only features about five levels, where you perform the same actions: slay apparently suicidal beasts and locate keys to unlock gates. You might say that the game is average because it's at least stable, but I beg to differ. If anything, its developer set a low bar and almost nailed it. I say "almost" because the game does bear some small flaws. For one thing, whenever I used the Steam screen capture feature, Remaining in a dream's gama rating boosted to an obnoxious level. There's also one segment where I needed to use a springboard to reach a lofty ledge, but I got stuck in the object because I approached it from a unconventional angle. I reloaded my game when this happened, but I was still fastened to the springboard and unable to move. A creature killed me and I respawned yet again on the device. Finally, there were a couple of points that puzzled me because the game required me to grab a key. I searched everywhere for one, but never found it. As it turns out, I actually grabbed the key out of a treasure chest, but the game made no indication I'd done so. I thought I'd only opened an empty chest.

Remaining in a dream is an experience devoid of excitement, offering only the most basic mechanics and gameplay devices. You could say that I shouldn't expect much because the FPS doesn't even cost a dollar. However, there are plenty of quality freeware titles also available, so low cost isn't worth taking into account. It also doesn't diminish the notion that I wasted nearly an hour on a game that played like a programming class assignment. I could've put that hour toward almost anything else and it would have been more worthwhile.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (January 22, 2018)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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If you enjoyed this Remaining in a dream review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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Follow_Freeman posted February 07, 2018:

From the same developer who gave us this game, which is somehow even worse:

Great review that has the reader feel the same discovery of awful poor Joe went through in this strange game on a strange engine; I guess Unity doesn't have a monopoly on bad garbageware FPS games on Steam. I think this review has encouraged me to review a Unity gem soon...
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JoeTheDestroyer posted February 08, 2018:

Oh man, that Face of Hope game looks exactly like Remaining in a dream. Even the menu is the same.

Surprisingly, there are a few good games that were made with Unity. Unfortunately, there are so many awful to meh ones that seeing Unity after launching a title has become a bad omen. However, this easy game maker doesn't seem like it could yield anything more than abysmal. I'm pretty sure I played a few horror games made with that same engine, and they were pretty bad/borderline unplayable. (I want to say White Mirror and AMOK also used the same engine, or at least similar ones).

Thank you for reading!
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Follow_Freeman posted February 08, 2018:

Thanks! And thank you for the entertaining read in this and the other reviews you linked! If the topic interests you, a YouTube fellow named DXFan has a great video titled "The Worst Steam Library Ever" that gives a comprehensive understanding of various low-cost engines misused for these garbageware games.

However, Unity is used in plenty of good games if one knows where to look. Ori & the Blind Forest, Cuphead, Furi, and Inside are some well-known successes which used Unity for much of their development, and there are many low-cost gems to be found, too (such as many games in this bundle: It's a shame there are so many awful games made on the engine, but maybe getting the word spread for some great ones will change things.
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honestgamer posted February 08, 2018:

From what I've read, Unity is a great tool that is accessible to a wide variety of developers. So some of those developers use the tools to make great things, because they have the resources and the talent and sometimes also the experience. Other developers, lacking one, most or all of those things, produce rubbish. And of course, it's the rubbish people tend to remember. So Unity has a bad reputation it doesn't really deserve. If I ever were to make a proper game myself (doubtful), I would probably want to try Unity.

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