Awake like sleep: 2 Dreams is the first video game from the designer of Attika

By Owen Faraday 13 Jan 2014 0
Like a cloud his fingers explode Like a cloud his fingers explode

In the post where I named Device 6 our 2013 Puzzle Game of the Year runner-up, I bemoaned the difficulty of keeping genre labels affixed to the thing. Well, we're going to have to come up with something, because Device 6 has got some company in... whatever class of game Device 6 is.

"Dreams are fascinating," Marcel-André Casasola Merkle tells me. He's a board game designer behind some quite respected titles like Attika, Taluva, and Verrater, but we're not talking about those. We're talking about 2 Dreams, his surreal new iOS game -- his first video game -- and 2014's most inventive game yet.

It's just a dream he keeps having. It's just a dream he keeps having.

"2 Dreams is about a recurring dream that haunts me," Merkle says. "A dream where I am hunting a box. I cannot open it. Not without the player. This is an atmospheric puzzle/short story where you can share a dream with me. You will find obstacles thrown into our way, and where you’ll hopefully get past them straight to the end."

2 Dreams is an ethereal experience, admittedly short and more about mood than gameplay. But it's also witty and self-effacing in a way that caught me off-guard. Merkle's quite clever and he uses the game's advent calendar structure to deliver some of the gags. It's really wonderful.

"When my dream, the designer’s dream ends you can begin with your own dream," Merkle says. "I particularly liked the idea that the player continues the story in his own dreams. 2 dreams becomes an open-ended game [this way].

"2 Dreams explores the relationship between player and game designer. We can have a connection. We can share an experience. That is why I put a Twitter button into the app. So you can share your experiences with me. I like the thought that games can be a two-way road between player and designer."

I mention the broad similarities between 2 Dreams and Device 6 to Merkle. "I got in touch with them after finding out about Device 6 and they seem to be really nice. There are strong parallels between the games. I played Device 6 last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. The similarities are accidental but it’s nice to know other people think alike."

2 Dreams is out now on iOS for two dollars.

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