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Soldiers Are Dreamers Review

July 26th, 2011 by

Soldiers Are Dreams is an interactive entertainment experience created as part of the first arc of the Pause:Continue podcast on the InRetroSpect podcast label, and made by Peter Willington using Adventure Maker. The title can be downloaded for free here.

Soldiers Are Dreamers was created using the Adventure Maker game engine and, save for audio samples, was entirely the work of writer and podcaster Pete Willington. It is a brief, ambiguous experience, less a game and more a multimedia slideshow or “interactive entertainment experience” as Willington puts it. The handful of interactive elements, centred around a plain-looking desk and its contents, reveal little but suggest a deeper symbolism. No doubt the piece’s principal creator had a concept and theme in mind, since clicking on certain objects elicits either a short vocal sample or, in one case, a full song; the whole experience brought to mind a feeling of loss and regret, though everything is so minimalist I suspect each user’s mileage will vary depending on their outlook or current mood.

There’s not a great deal of replayability here once you’ve clicked on everything once or twice, and though there may possibly be a hidden sequence of actions required to unlock something else, I didn’t feel inclined to try. Most of the desk’s drawers contain items which seem to serve no purpose besides perhaps explaining the mindset of the fictitious owner, and appear to do nothing when clicked. The vocal samples are edited in approximation of an echo, suggesting a memory, but came across as jarring, lacking the feeling I suspect was intended.

Although Soldiers Are Dreamers is intended as a stand-alone piece, the fact that clicking on the room’s sole door ends the game gives the feeling that a greater story may yet develop from the project. Either way, it’s a good demonstration of the engine’s capabilities, and Willington has remarked on how straightforward he found the development process using Adventure Maker. Whatever you take away from the experience and however you may feel about Soldiers Are Dreamers length and meaning, you can’t deny that as a first effort, this is a polished and lovingly-crafted affair.

MLG Rating: 6.5/10
Platform: PC Release Date: 08/07/2011

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Soldiers are Dreamers for review purposes by the developer. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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One Response to “Soldiers Are Dreamers Review”
  1. avatar Adamski UK says:

    I ‘played’ this…well, ‘experienced’ it shall we say.
    I’d been following Pete’s progress via the podcast so was intrigued to see how it would play out.
    Well, I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
    No instructions, no help file, no hints…nothing. Just click away and explore the space and sounds.

    I was looking for the ‘end game’ or a way to solve the puzzle and like the reviewer said, wondering if there is a sequence to be unlocked. But no. Nothing.

    And then I had my epiphany.
    I was supposed to build my own opinions, backstory and emotions….akin to looking at a painting or sculpture.
    In other words, it was the emotional experience I had AFTER playing that had the greater impact.

    But is it a game or electronic interactive art? Mmm….tricky one.
    What defines a game….a health bar?

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