The Endless Dream becomes real on Early Access
Demo also available for first-person 3D psychological puzzle-adventure on Steam for Windows PC
Ever been in the middle of a lucid dream and felt yourself right on the cusp of understanding but always tantalizingly out of reach? That pretty much describes the premise of The Endless Dream, a first-person 3D puzzle-adventure available now through early access.
Players assume the role of a young father who suffers a terrible accident and falls into a coma. You awaken, subsconsciously, inside a “timeless world where memories and reality merge in an enigmatic labyrinth.” You don’t know where or who you are at first, experiencing only fleeting flashes of familiarity as you encounter fragmented scenes from your life. Gradually, as you unlock new environments, solve puzzles and interact with the “mysterious characters” you meet, you’ll come to recognize the significant ghostly figures motivating you onward. You’ll also need to make key decisions on occasion, each with major consequences in your effort to “piece together the shattered life of the protagonist, break the cycle of uncertainty and make sense of this never-ending dream.”
Presented in first-person, free-roaming 3D, The Endless Dream features a semi-realistic aesthetic, stylized just enough to contribute to the game’s surreal, dreamlike feel. At first progress is fairly linear, but before long things opens up via a hub world with portals to important settings from the past, such as a visit to the beach, a sports match at the stadium, and the protagonist’s wedding day. Clues and items from one scene may be needed in another, so you’ll need to revisit previous areas, though the locations are confined enough that backtracking never feels onerous. Success is largely dependent on solving a nice variety of puzzles, with simple auto-use inventory obstacles interspersed between the likes of an algebraic code combination, Concentration with family photos, and a colour-based keypad linked to clues found elsewhere, among many others. Scattered notes will fill in relevant details along the way, but clear answers will remain elusive throughout, requiring uncomfortable choices at times about how you wish to “explore the boundaries of consciousness.”
The complete version of The Endless Dream is still about a year or so away, but the first of three planned parts has been launched through Steam Early Access for Windows PC, with the remainder to be released as free updates when finished. A playable demo is also available to download, offering a sample taste of what to expect from the full game.