Pinball Platformers feel like a sub-genre you would have seen on the Amiga or Commodore 64.
In today’s gaming space, the only example I can really refer to is the rather brilliant Yoku’s Island Express, and while I wouldn’t hold Amberial Dreams in quite the same high esteem, it’s still a rather enjoyable block breaker.
Launching as an Early Access title tomorrow, Amberial Dreams has quite an extensive roadmap of gameplay ahead of it with content running through to the end of the year as well as more worlds, story, and unique pieces to play with in 2023.
At launch, though, the content is still pretty meaty. With several locations to visit of varying difficulty, as well as a powerful, expansive level editor, the game launches at a low, healthy price tag of $6.99. In time, that’s going to seem like a steal with the amount of curated levels already built and the ones coming in free content updates.
In Amberial Dreams, you’re just a small ball bouncing between platforms, moving freely and easily, all with the intent of reaching an exit portal. You have to get there as fast as you can, avoiding obstacles, skirting over large gaps, and even having to be aware of all-consuming balls of energy and trip hazards that will absorb you.
It all seems and sounds rather simplistic, sure, but when you start getting in on the tougher challenges, trying to unlock your way through to each little area, so you see greater, bigger challenges that will require timing, skill, and precision.
You’ll need to know when to steady momentum, when to push forward and where the most effective bounces are by climbing up walls, hitting the right surface and even using spiralling winds to achieve new heights.
It’s all very tactical and that absolutely plays into the enjoyment factor of the game, really separating from a game like Yoku which was heavily narrative driven and puzzle focused.
As you progress through each stage, so a fairly low-key story begins to evolve, with players assuming the role of Amber, the sole remaining dreamer of the Universe. As the others have been captured, so it’s up to you to restore a balance across each of the worlds and return the universe to its familiar state.
It’s not too overwhelming and not too limited that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Which is why this is a fun game to play in small blasts and worked nicely between several review titles I have on the go right now.
Amberial Dreams is one I’ll keep checking in on and revisiting as it continues to evolve and grow. For now, if you’re looking for something light, that lets you experiment with level design and has a very big, bright, bold future ahead of it at a very modest price tag, there’s not too many options out there better.
Amberial Dreams is out on Steam Early Access on October 18
Code provided by Premier Comms