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.