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Deck-building roguelike Dream Quest now on Steam

You don’t need to know anything about Kadath to dig Dream Quest [Steam page]. Alec’s favourite game of 2014 has been available on PC for some time, though it’s more familiar in its tablet guise, but it has finally landed on Steam. Normally, I wouldn’t be all that excited about a two year old game appearing in a new store but the previous PC version wasn’t all that easy to find. I’d forgotten it existed, truth be told.

When Alec first told me about Dream Quest I looked it up on the Apple store and thought I must have found the wrong game. It looks like someone threw it together over their lunch break. Sixty hours of play later, I reckon there’s quite a bit more to it than that.

The first time you play Dream Quest you might think it’s a crap version of Desktop Dungeons. You choose a class and then explore a tiny randomised dungeon tile by tile. There are themed graphics – you might be in a weird forest or a weird desert or a weird someplace else – but the layout is nonsensical. You’ll find shops and monsters and maybe treasure chests. Monsters don’t move and you can see what level so the obvious tactic is to find ones at or around your own level so that you can kill them first, then level up and take on the tougher beasties, and eventually the boss of that floor.

Creatures have their own abilities and styles of attack, and defeating them requires careful use of your deck. Zombies, for instance, are feeble but if they bite you, you’ll die a few turns later unless you take them out first. Ideally, you’ll want a deck that allows you to deal with all kinds of creeps, but building that deck is tricky. You can buy cards, collect them, and ditch them. That last is very important – if you take every card you see, you’ll end up with a load of tat that you might draw at the worst possible time.

But whatever course you choose, that first impression will probably be underwhelming at best. There’s not a lot going on and that’s because Dream Quest is all about unlocking new classes, new cards and new abilities. Stick with it and it becomes a fascinating, tiny, short-form deck-builder. You can play a round in a short break but the real game spreads over many lives and many hours.

My initial reaction faded quickly and I’m with Alec now. Dream Quest is fab.

Dream Quest is £6.99/9,99€/$9.99 on Steam for Windows and Mac.

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Adam Smith

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