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Parents' Guide to

The Dream Machine

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Spooky adventure take on dreams but has technical issues.

Game Mac , Windows 2012
The Dream Machine Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This will be a tough sell for most younger kids and likely not appropriate anyway, but older teens and adults will likely appreciate the foreboding pace and patient meticulousness this game requires. Unlike other adventure games, this game doesn't bother with lots of screens and lots of items for you to scoop up, collect, and puzzle over. Instead, it goes the opposite way, with only a handful of places per chapter and only a few items. Then it's exceedingly coy -- in a good way -- about letting you discover what you must do. Without giving much away (and this really isn't, since much of the game takes place in people's dreams): A neat discovery comes in a later chapter when you realize the items you've been using the entire chapter also double as parts of internal organs you need to process and understand human communication. It's a nice little epiphany that the game does not beat you over the head with; rather it leaves you to drag yourself to realize it and then be excited -- as most great adventure games do.

That said, there are some hiccups, though all are largely technical and minor. The game freezes frequently without a real pattern to it. Sometimes the character gets stuck in certain spots in the world without a real reason, with it being very difficult to get him out of an elevator or to trigger the call buttons in the elevator to appear on-screen. Other times, there are no problems at all, though these things crop up with such inconsistency that it bears mentioning here. It shouldn't be a deterrent but something to definitely be aware of. It's not the most conventional adventure game, but The Dream Machine will definitely keep the attention of puzzle- and mystery-minded players looking to unravel its secrets.

Game Details

  • Platforms: Mac , Windows
  • Pricing structure: Paid (The game is $3.99-$5.99 an episode, or $19.95 for the full game.)
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Publisher: The Sleeping Machine
  • Release date: May 11, 2012
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: March 8, 2019

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