I’m a huge fan of word games, and text-based interactive fiction has unique advantages over other media in that genre. I was therefore excited to play “Dream Pieces 2,” a game about breaking up and reforming words like Lego blocks to escape from a series of rooms. Unfortunately, the puzzle design and interface glitches made it difficult to enjoy the game.

Gameplay: The central idea of the game is strongly compelling: Objects in the game can be broken down into their constituent letters, like Lego bricks, and then rearranged with other objects to form new ones. In short, it’s a game about anagramming. The goal in each room is to create a viable exit, often along with some special means of opening it. In many rooms, you don’t need to solve the puzzle; you can just move on to the next one, with no other reward that I noticed for solving it. Objects can be moved freely between rooms, although they seem to apply to the puzzle for the room in which they’re found. At one point, I went through a door and promptly had all the objects in the game, including my inventory, disappear. Some of the individual puzzles can be obtuse, like the one involving breaking a glass case. Some of the other puzzles are interesting, but there’s so little done with the mechanic that it’s hard to get excited about the game. 3/10.

Mechanics: While I was disappointed with its execution, the idea behind the game is brilliant. 7/10

Presentation: The text was very sparse; this game is an abstract, puzzle-centered one, and the focus is fixed on the anagramming mechanic. To avoid frustration, there’s an in-game map and hint system. 3/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You like abstract word puzzles rather than set-piece puzzles.

Score: 4

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