NIKO: Through The Dream Looks Like Myst Meets Journey

but seriously why would anyone put a conveyor belt there

Any time I hear any variation on the word “Niko,” I just hear Roman from Grand Theft Auto IV going, “Niko! My cousin!” And then I get really upset about bowling. It is, as they say in the parlance of our time, A Problem. But perhaps NIKO: Through The Dream can help me get over it. It’s a first person puzzler so minimalist, clean, and free of corners that it looks like the world has been scrubbed clean with an Apple iSoap. The aesthetic is a soothing one, though, and it makes way for some brain-ticklingly Escher-inspired locales. There’s a certain element of aged majesty to them, though. An alluring mystique that hearkens back to the likes of Myst and – more recently – PS3 megahit Journey. Oh, and there’s a little hooded figure in there that may as well have been lifted straight from Journey. So that’s a thing too. Rather beautiful trailer below.

Here’s what the game’s about on rather, er, vague terms:

“Niko: Through The Dream is a minimalist adventure accompanying Niko in her return to her world. We will travel through different islands, each of them being the oniric representation of an important event of her past. Happiness, solitude or fear melted with hidden riddles, you will face up dangers and traps and, with Niko, you will confront them with determination, ability and logic.”

“Playability intends to be direct and varied. Each island has a setting and mechanic of its own. Puzzles, riddles, platforms, stealth and exploration are the ingredients of the adventure. Prepare to start a journey which you’ll never know what hides ahead. A journey whose paths must be wisely chosen.”

Colors, shapes, and especially sounds will be key, with music evolving in conjunction with your actions, presumably to aid or obfuscate in the solving of puzzles. Honestly, though, all I can really say for sure is that the trailer makes NIKO look like an intriguing first-person puzzler. The game’s Steam Greenlight page is so sparse and lacking in overt detail that… well, it’s a lot like the game itself, actually.

NIKO is set to come out sometime this year. Between this, The Witness, Myst creator Cyan’s new game, and others, melancholy first-person puzzlers appear to be back on the rise. Who’s excited (and expressing it in a restrained, deliberate fashion)?


  1. Tony M says:

    Good to know that if I ever get captured by time travelling Future Pirates, I won’t have to walk the plank. Instead I will be transported serenely to my doom.

  2. Risingson says:

    Not really excited, just curious. Back then I was more into those first person puzzle games that were about isolated puzzles (Ripper, Black Dahlia, Obsidian) just because the game was a bit more restrained and there was no backtracking. And I tell you: I really hate backtracking. Right now I am replaying Syberia and it takes me a lot to enjoy the good portions of the game.

    EDIT: “Stealth”? If it is as understated and nearly non-important as it was in Countdown or Atlantis Evolution, ok, but if not… we are facing one of those hybrids so difficult to make successfully and so hard to satisfy the players.

  3. Eclipse says:

    seems like they forgot to load textures

    • Terragot says:

      Having just come from NaissanceE, I have to say that while untextured meshes are initially eye catching, it’s a stylistic choice that wears thin very quickly.

    • TimorousBeastie says:

      Every time I switch UnrealEd to Lighting Only mode I’ve always been struck by how clean and peaceful everything looks. Guess I’m not the only one :)

    • maninahat says:

      It does get tedious how many puzzley games resort to all all white monochromes. Your sacrificing so many potential atmospheric elements by removing all colour, just to try and give the game itself a distinctive appearance; one that sadly becomes indistinct from the half dozen other white FPS puzzlers already released.

  4. NZLion says:

    Aesthetically this strikes me more as being like the Unfinished Swan than Journey
    another awesome oddity from the PS3

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I still have to find time to play The Unfinished Swan, so for now this reminds me most (aesthetically, at least) of Against the Wall, what with the windmills, general sun-bleached cleanliness, and isolated areas of interest. The only thing that struck me as Journey-ish was that character and the last two sentences in that dev quote…

      Looks pretty, at any rate!

    • The Random One says:

      Feels to me more like Aperture Presents: Windosill feat. Björk.

  5. Keyrock says:

    Apple iSoap: For just $54.99 you can own the trendiest bar of soap around. It will leave your skin feeling oh so pretentious all over!

  6. loquee says:

    I expect this to play more like KAIRO then myst or journey.
    Hope it is a little more interesting. Kairo was nice for an hour or so but then faded into utter boredom for me

  7. Tomatoboxer says:

    “Playability intends to be direct and varied”
    what does this even mean