Dream Quest, My Favourite Game Of 2014, Is Out On PC

I muttered my Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name for iPad roguelite/CCG Dream Quest a couple of times last year. It’s the ugliest game, but it’s the best game – think Hearthstone re-imagined as a singleplayer dungeon crawler in which new cards for your deck are accrued purely as you play. It’s really elegantly-designed and monstrously compulsive, fusing two genres in a way which seems entirely natural, enjoying remarkable balance despite containing so many card and enemy types, and it’s a game you learn organically over a long time without ever being punished in the process. I know its Windows Paint-style art is an affront to all that is good in the world, but it honestly is worth swallowing your aesthetic pride, because what’s underneath is truly excellent.

Turns out there was a completely promoted PC version too, but you needed a very specific URL for a Humble widget in order to find it. It’s $10, but it’s also available from Vodo (a new one on me, if I’m honest) for a few dollars less.

I’ve put in dozens of hours on the iOS version, primarily played one-handed while nursing a whimpering child with the other arm, but today was the first time I ever got to play Dream Quest on PC. For the record, it’s a straight-up port (made in Unity) which simply translates touch control to mouse control. That means no keyboard support, which is a minor bummer – clearly you want the mouse anyway for the card-battler side of the game, but WASD around the dungeon would have been welcome.

Still, it’s there, it works, it’s just as smart and absorbing as it ever was, and yes, it’s just as butt-ugly too. There was dark irony in selecting the ‘Beautiful’ option in Unity’s pre-game settings menu.

One thing I will say in Dream Quest’s graphical favour is that it makes good use of high resolutions. It has a lot of information and UI elements to present, and does it rather neatly.

Dream Quest is $6.49 on Vodo for pretty much the rest of the month. I promise you it’s worth it.

12 Comments

  1. Gothnak says:

    This is also my favourite game on the iPad, started playing it months ago and still often have a couple of goes in bed before sleep every night.

    If you liked Shandalar (the old Magic the Gathering Microprose game) or Mage Knight (The Boardgame) or Dominion or any other fantasy card games or deckbuilders, you’ll love.

    If you need decent graphics, steer well clear!

    I doubt i’ll buy it on PC mind you, as i dunno if they are improving it in anyway, but if i didn’t have the iPad version, i’d snap it up.

    I’m with Alec, best game of last year!

  2. Mr Coot says:

    Haha, yes, it is fun. Attention to graphics, a slider for music volume (interesting music, but I don’t want to adjust my master vol to enjoy it), keyboard mvt and it would be perfect.

  3. NelsonMinar says:

    The iOS version of this game really is quite brilliant, I thank RPS for pointing it out. The card mechanics are really nicely done, the game balance delicious. I sure wish the developer would work with an artist to make a game that wasn’t so horribly ugly. It’s not even ironically funny bad graphics, it’s just bad. But the gameplay is some of the best I’ve had all year.

  4. woppyce says:

    There are demo versions for PC and Mac available on another very specific URL (scroll all the way down).

  5. Flavorfish says:

    Gave it a shot and I can’t say I’m a fan of the games design. I love good rng rougelike but my choices feel too limited and my fate too dependant on chance. I’m pretty sure many levels I’ve come across have been mathematically impossible without a great deal of chance and I don’t feel that I have much agency over the card system. Generally combat comes down to what cards the rng throws at me.

    If people are looking for a great mobile fantasy game and don’t care about graphics, I reccomend HyperRouge. It’s a very simple yet strategic fantasy rougelike with minalistic graphics through a cool fish eye lens and a focus on tactical movement.

    • Flavorfish says:

      You can check out a video of HyperRouge here: link to roguetemple.com

    • Gothnak says:

      It’s very FTL-Like in that the more you play, the more you unlock and the better you get. Also you learn what abilities are coming up for each class and then you start to stop picking up every card you find and only grab the ones that are actually synergistic to your current deck. Took me months to finally beat it, and i’ve still only finished with 3 of the characters. Sometimes you do end up in impossible situations, but i often realise it was my fault for going down a certain route that game.

    • Excalibur101 says:

      The developer has said that he has testers that can beat the game on a fresh save in a few tries. The game seems stupidly hard when you first try it, but it is winnable. Dying a couple times will unlock a few things, like Gothnak said, but skill and experience are more important, like any good roguelike.

    • MirzaGhalib says:

      I prefer ochrelikes to rougelikes.

  6. Morph says:

    Yes! My favourite game of last year too. Am still playing it, and I think I’ll get it on the PC just to give the developer more money.

  7. therighttoarmbears says:

    Holy cow, this game is glorious. There was a 48 hour period after I initially found it (I think after a short mention by Alec once, thanks!) in which I am not sure that I even stopped to breathe. Yes, the art. But let the art be in your imagination and try and thrash that dungeon! One criticism: perhaps I haven’t figured it out perfectly (have beaten on normal difficulty with 5 characters), but there are some occasionally viable strategies that are completely hosed by the RNG after an otherwise perfect play through. If you can overlook that and the art, this game will hook you. Bonus – on an iPad, it’s perfectly playable while doing some sort of aerobic exercise machine (like an elliptical or stationary bike or something), thereby assisting with the tedium of personal upkeep.

  8. dglenny says:

    I adore this game, although I still haven’t killed the Lord of the Dream. The most important piece of advice for new players is this: stop taking every card you’re offered.