Story: Eugene is a janitor in an alternate timeline Russia, where an oppressive regime keeps the populace held down with powerful propaganda. This is a land of mind control and automated defenses, where even minor signs of rebellion are dealt with in swift, severe fashion. Even so, a resistance does exist and soon enough, Eugene might himself involved, even if by accident. A normal day unfolds, as Eugene does repairs around the club where he works, but then he discovers a note that warns whoever picks it up, telling them to run. This strange note kicks off a wild series of events that drags Eugene into the middle of the resistance conflict, but can a simple janitor manage to survive espionage and government forces?
Entertainment Value: As soon as the first screen loaded up, I knew I would like this game, as the visuals have a signature retro look that I love. I am a huge fan of the game Flashback and as soon as I saw the graphics here, the connection was instant and I was hyped to start the adventure. DreamBreak has a point & click vibe, but focus more on atmosphere and mood than narrative, so don’t expect a rich, deep story here. You can search out small pieces of information however, which fill in some details about the world, which is a nice touch. The dialogue is minimal, but given the length of the game, it makes sense to take that approach. I am sure the short duration will upset some players, but DreamBreak packs in a full experience that runs a couple of hours and has little to no filler content. So perhaps it could have been extended, but this lean approach means you get all the good stuff, with minimal fluff. You can also revisit the arcade and hone your skills if you need a few more minutes of value, which I did and found myself having fun with the simple combat offered there. Of course, the arcade game also prepares you for the actual combat within the game, as well.
The gameplay here is mostly navigating levels to avoid hazards or evade detection, with some puzzles thrown in. I mean, fixing a leaky toilet has never been as fun as this, with a Bioshock inspired pipe puzzle involved. The puzzles and general problem solving are never too stressful, so progression is brisk and usually offers just enough challenge to spark your brain a little. I know the trend of late is to punish games, but I enjoyed this one because it offered a slight challenge, but never seemed like it wanted to inspire broken controllers. The game does have combat at times, but it is a simple shoot/block mechanic that is never a concern. I’ve played some puzzle games where jank combat tanked the experience, but that isn’t the case here. As I mentioned, the game has an arcade cabinet mini-game as well, which allows you to preview the combat and get the timing windows down. So a little combat and mostly puzzles or minor stealth, a nice blend that puts a good amount of fun into a short, brisk experience. I had fun with DreamBreak and while it is short, it offers a worthwhile, filler free ride that negates any downside to the duration. Well recommended.