Niko: Through the Dream (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 23.06.2016

Review for Niko: Through the Dream on PC

First person puzzlers are tricky. So many of them are derivative of Portal that it's hard to get excited about them. So when one comes along as metaphysical and abstract as Niko: Through the Dream, it's hard not to take notice. The real question is though, is it worth it?

Niko: Through the Dream is, unlike many first person puzzle games, so far detached from Portal that it almost doesn't feel like the two are in the same genre. Where games like Portal are about the manipulation of space, Niko is much more interested in the player understanding the space they are in.

Each puzzle feels more like a singular thought in a longer conversation, and a lot of it feels like small talk. These conversations won't always be easy to unwrap, though. Most puzzles are pretty easy, though a few seem to be a bit more obtuse. Fortunately, they blend in well with one of the prettiest environments in games: an unusually minimalist one, but a stunning one nonetheless.

Screenshot for Niko: Through the Dream on PC

Largely white monolithic structures stretch out, and simply entering a room can change the tone and palette the game employs. Truthfully, the puzzles aren't as much in the foreground as the stunning art work, so it can become easy to get lost in the visuals. The puzzles themselves are really just a gateway to further exploration, however, which the game makes a central focus. In effect, Niko: Through the Dream is a showcase of a beautiful artwork, with just enough gameplay to keep it from being called a walking simulator, and that's really the biggest shame.

The puzzles, while designed around understanding a set space, largely get in the way of what the game seems to excel at. The puzzles, no matter how difficult they become in relation to earlier ones, slow down the exploration of a beautiful world. Perhaps Niko: Through the Dream just isn't comfortable being limited to visual set pieces, but it would be much more enjoyable just to walk through the world, rather than try to understanding the deeper facets of it.

Screenshot for Niko: Through the Dream on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Niko: Through The Dream is a rare instance of a game that just went too far. It's hard to explain the puzzles within the game, but one thing is for sure, and that's that the puzzles drag down the experience. They never feel particularly inspired, nor deep enough to justify their inclusion. If Niko: Through the Dream had just focused on it's gorgeous landscapes, and letting the player explore them, it could have walked away a beautiful and defining example of why walking can sometimes be enough.

Developer

Studio Paint

Publisher

Studio Paint

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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