I Dreamed Ocean ( IDO )

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I Dreamed Ocean is a short action platformer with keeps things simple. The game begins with its nameless protagonist jumping down a well strangely located in the middle of an almost entirely barren and very dry wasteland. From there it’s a matter of fighting off various demonic foes as you traverse the caverns below the well while seeking to plunge ever deeper. Movement has a methodical, smooth feel to it as the default walking speed is slower than in most platformers, but the protagonist can jump very high and quickly accelerates both on the way up and when falling back down. Your only normal form of attack is the traditional head stomp and the exact speed and height of the protagonist’s jump gives a very satisfying feeling of weight to this attack, especially since the rebound after stomping on an enemy is rather large. There is fall damage, so you can’t blindly jump everywhere, though you can fall from fairly high up before fall damage becomes a risk factor. Collectibles along the way include extra lives, full heals (which are especially important as you don’t heal between levels), keys for specific doors, and a temporary power boost which greatly increases your speed and allows you to kill enemies simply by walking into them. Enemy variety is fairly low, but it’s large enough for a game of this length and the enemies both look fantastic and are well-utilized.

The only downside to I Dreamed Ocean is parts of the level design could use some work, both aesthetically in in terms of layout. One level has a large, empty tunnel with a full heal and an extra life at the end which doesn’t make up for the fact that the tunnel itself is just boring and pointless while in another level you can take some time to go down a path only to arrive at a gate which requires a key found in a different path. Backgrounds are also bland to look at, which is a bit of a shame as the enemy and character design is consistently great and the calm soundtrack fits will with the more methodical pacing. These issues ultimately don’t detract too much from the overall experience though and, while it’s unlikely to blow anyone away, I Dreamed Ocean has a memorable sense of pacing and style which definitely makes it worth taking 15 or so minutes to play it through to the end.

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