22 March, 2015

Dreeps, The Alarm Playing Game

When I tell you I think this pixel-art mobile game is a curiosity worth checking out, I urge you at least try to resist rolling your eyes long enough to find out why I'm hooked on Dreeps.

Dreeps, The Alarm Playing Game Sheep


When I purchased Dreeps on the iOS App Store a couple of weeks ago, it had been with the intention of writing a review. Admittedly, aside from knowing it uses alarm clocks, and is a Japanese indie game, I really knew nothing about it. So naturally, I had not anticipated that more than two weeks later I would still feel as if I had barely scratched the surface.

Dreeps, The Alarm Playing Game Robot Boy

Also it’s barely a game. Robot Boy does all the heavy lifting here. Each day he begins his long walk anew, traversing all manner of environments; dank and oppressive forests, blasted ruin-filled landscapes, luscious green fields, to name but a few. Dephasing countless mechanical Monteslas as he goes. All this happens as you go about your day, you’re simply along for ride. You drop in whenever you have a spare minute, giving Robot Boy a pick me up if he needs it, and ensuring he returns home to the lab each night to rest - or rather recharge. Robot Boy rests whenever you set the (in-game) alarm clock, theoretically as you sleep. Each Monteslas (the enemies that appear randomly) he dephases grants experience points, feeding into his level, which I’m guessing has some effect. I'm not going to lie, it’s all very vague.

Dreeps really doesn’t give much away; the world imparts a sense history, a sense of place, but as of yet, it hasn’t revealed much of anything to me. One evening on the ride home, I unlocked my phone to see Robot Boy in a room illuminated by red neon, unlike any other I had seen up to that point. He stood conversing (though there is no text outside of the very minimal user interface) with a hooded Montesla, armed with a staff, which as I quickly discovered fired lasers. After the battle, the fallen Montesla dropped a box, loot - not a surprising occurrence in a role playing game, but I had been playing for days and had not seen any indication of loot at all. The box contained a new alarm clock, with a new tune, but more importantly, after using the clock the hooded Montesla was summoned to aid Robot Boy in his travels.

Dreeps, The Alarm Playing Game Montesla

The odds of me opening my phone, and checking the app at that exact time were astronomically low, just witnessing that event, that I could have so easily missed was a magical feeling. A feeling that occurs in microcosm whenever I walk in on Robot Boy in a new environment. The game claims to adjust to your ‘life rhythm’, but its difficult know what that means, or how much impact it has on what you see.

I have ‘played’ diligently for several weeks now, and plan to continue to. I have learnt little-to-nothing about the game, and do not necessarily expect that to change. All I know for certain is that there are four more alarm clock slots in game, and I’ve been lucky enough to witness enough cool locations and events, that Dreeps has snared me for a good while longer.

Dreeps, The Alarm Playing Game

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