Cute animals doesn't stop this puzzle-platformer from being frustrating.
Dreamals is a game that came out of nowhere for me. When I saw that game on the list, I was surprised that it just passed me by. When I looked at screenshots, I became slightly curious about it. Dreamals seemed to feature cute animals, some puzzle-platforming and a whole lot of thinking. As I am interested in all three of these subjects, I decided to take the game head on and see what it had on offer!
The story of Dreamals doesn't really seem to matter. There is a whole lot of text to go through, but it comes down to the following: Three animals fall to sleep, they get trapped into a dream world and now they must collect keys together to get out. Simple enough, but the text is so plainly written that it is uninteresting to go through. After that, another irritation quickly becomes apparent. You will have to manually walk through a lot of doors to get to the stage you want to start playing. It wouldn't be so bad if they were right next to one another, but it feels more like a chore. I understand the desire to be interesting, and the game does look beautiful, but it doesn't really work out all too well.
That being said, the actual puzzle-platforming side of it is really lovely. Each animal can only jump or move in a certain direction. You will have to find the correct manner to use of their powers and find a key in a stage. This key opens the portal and if one of the animals reaches it, everyone advances Dreamals starts easy enough, but it doesn't take long before you have to combine animals together. If you play your cards right, you can freely move around and get through the levels with more ease.
That doesn't mean that the puzzles are always easy however. Towards the end of the first world, I was shouting angrily at my television for not getting it right. Dreamals requires you to experiment in any given way you can. How this will go for you depends on your own skill level, but taking your time is needed to get the long ones memorized. There is no penalty for that or killing one of the critters halfway through. You will be seeing a lot of killing as the obstacles in this game are brutal. You will have to take switches, crates, warp panels and a ton more into account. It makes the puzzles super diverse, which can't be said for some games in the genre. That being said, you just get a dark screen on your Wii U GamePad, which I don't really approve of.
Dreamals is a cute and beautiful looking game, but it does make a few clumsy mistakes. The story is quite a boring one and walking through the menus hurts more than it helps. Besides that, there is no usage for the Wii U GamePad and you can't even play it off-TV. Where the actual game is concerned however, I liked the clean variety of puzzles and mechanics really get the point across. Also, those animals are just too cute.