I keep having this dream.
It kind of sounds crazy, but just bear with me. In it, I see a hodgepodge of RPG, puzzle, and board game elements sprinkled with delicious tidbits of roguelike. It’s inventive, sometimes confusing, and a little difficult to follow, but it’s also some of the most fun you’ll have with a mobile game — especially one played in portrait mode. It’s, uh, actually called I Keep Having This Dream, and it’s weird, quirky fun.
I Keep Having This Dream places you in the role of a “game master” of sorts, where you build your own levels rather than traverse randomly-generated levels a la roguelike. It’s a little difficult to figure out at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll soon discover how easy it is to get invested. It’s just not easy to become great at — at least at the very beginning.
The bottom of the screen is comprised of special tiles you will need to place in order to build your maze-like level. Different tiles represent each type of item, like a monster, an item, a boost, or something that will alter the way the game is being played. You’ve got to be very particular with the way you place tiles, especially since each level you build is paired with its own enemy that’s chasing you from the beginning of the level.
If you build yourself into a corner, a monster can make sure it’s game over for you, right then and there. That’s why it’s prudent to lay tiles that aid you in acquiring additional XP to spend on bolstering stats, picking up new skills, and expanding your abilities so you can stave off any monsters on your tail.
In a way, the game can be likened to card game Boss Monster since you end up building your own area and are thus responsible for your own demise. The idea is excellent, but sometimes difficult to parse. For example, the game doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the path you should build exactly, so it’s more up to you to figure out dead ends, how to surmount enemies, and even what some of the moves do. You’ll eventually learn all of this on your own, though mostly through trial and error.
In some instances this is entertaining, but in others it can be a bit frustrating. Even still, figuring things out for yourself can be an exciting process, and one that you’ll be thrilled to take part in. It’s worth pushing past some of the more obtuse parts of the game so you can see what the rest has to offer.
Like any good puzzle game, I Keep Having This Dream pushes you to do better with each level you build. You’re forced to keep looking again, trying new things, and cycling through ideas if you want to emerge victorious. It’s challenging, colorful, and built perfectly for a mobile game, especially since the nature of the game is to create your own level. In the end you might be a bit frustrated, but you’ll be all the better for it. And maybe you’ll really keep having a dream about this game, too.