09 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 45: Dreams in Stasis by Scott Malthouse

Dreams in Stasis

Ingredients: 7 [Dream (3), Stillness (3), Abandon (1)]
I'd love to have given this game more points for the ingredients, but they only really affect the thematic elements of the game and the background rather than directly informing the mechanisms of play. Dream and Stillness have been combined into the notion of "hyper-sleep/stasis" again, which is common, and the notion of abandon is interesting in its reflection of abandoning the planet.

Theme: 8 [6 +1 Bonus for the addressing of a different audience, and +1 Bonus for Something different]
I haven't seen a lot of good solitaire games, but I honestly think that this fits into that category. It's a different audience in this manner, and it's also a different audience because it asks the player to observe the people around them as they play.

Would I Play This?: 9
I have played crude versions of this on the train when I was young, writing made-up stories about people who I imagined, based on the other people I'd regularly catch the train with. Seeing an imagination exercise like this formalised into a game is really novel.

Completeness: 8
There's not a whole lot to this game, there's everything you need to 'play', including set up details, play procedure, a sample play through, and even a few ideas for how to vary the game according to different circumstances.

Innovation: 7 [5 +2 Bonus for a medium I haven't really seen]
The innovation points here are for the fact that this is a solitary game, and while a few solitaire games have been produced in recent years, it's a field that I haven't seen many designs execute successfully. This game does it in a diceless manner, and specifically fits itself into the niche of travellers on public transport (or some other kind of passive transit). It provides something to do to pass the time, yet this is something that keeps the mind active rather than a passive button mashing or pattern recognition app. That's an interesting idea.

Output Quality: 8 [Language (3), Layout (3), Imagery (1) +1 Bonus for professional looking package]
The language used in this design is of a fairly typical high calibre. The Layout points are coming from the use of a non-standard font, it fits the themes of the game and it's just refreshing to see something that's a bit different. The front cover gets a point for imagery, and the whole thing has a considered air to it.

Overall: 77% Distinction [21+16+9+16+7+8]
This is a great little game, once again playing into more of a ritualised experience than something I might traditionally call a game. It is
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