Everything is a puzzle. Everything.
Collaborators: KeldBjones, Johvork, AndymationB
Date Played: May-June, 2022
Platform: Playstation 4 on the Dreams platform
Duration: 4-5 hours
Price: Free as an add on to the Dreams platform ($19.99) and occasionally rotates as a free game in the demo version of Dreams.
LOCK was a hidden masterpiece. While not a standalone game – it was created and hosted on the game creation platform Dreams for Playstation 4 (PS4), LOCK was a brilliant adventure puzzle game, encompassing puzzle-hunt style meta solves with beautifully crafted on-ramps, creative puzzle design, and surprises galore.
LOCK somehow managed to flip gameplay on its head. Everything I knew and everything I learned would come back to haunt me in the most wonderful, awe-inspiring moments. The progressive discovery elements of each section shined, creating approachable yet compounding difficult solves.
Considering LOCK is a free game hidden on the Dreams platform, everything about the puzzle design and logical gameplay was mind boggling. We wished the game was available on more platforms outside of Dreams so that more players could experience some of the most satisfying aha moments.
LOCK was a full-length game; don’t let the price tag (or lack there of) fool you.
LOCK would be perfectly solved on the couch with friends, or solo over a long weekend. We strongly recommend playing sessions close together, as all puzzle solving and previously used items came back in some form. Be sure to keep a notebook handy; you’ll need it.
If you have a PS4, grab the demo version of Dreams and watch for LOCK on the free rotating library, or buy the full copy of Dreams to be able to experience this. You will not want to miss it.
Who is this for?
- Adventure seekers
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Meta (puzzle) chasers
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Brilliant layered puzzle integration
- Great reveals at every corner
LOCK was set on a mysterious island full of secrets. We weren’t sure why we were there, or what our purpose was besides some strange puzzle panels hidden in the house on the island.
Upon booting up Dreams, players must select LOCK by searching the name. Once booted, players can begin the game immediately with a short intro sequence. Players are free to roam around and solve various puzzles in any order.
LOCK was a game built using the ‘Dreams’ platform on PS4. ‘Dreams’ allows users to design games and experiences for players on PS4 using a sandbox, and players can then download and play these games the designers have built.
LOCK, specifically, is a first-person adventure game with standard controls for a console adventure game, with a higher level of gameplay difficulty.
Gameplay revolved around searching for clues, analyzing parts of the environment, making connections between objects, continuously building on what the game teaches, and thinking well outside the bounds of the game.
While I spent most of the game exploring the house and solving puzzles throughout the various rooms, the gameplay evolved brilliantly in ways you’ll have to see to understand. We recommend taking extensive notes as you play, and not putting the game down for extended periods of time.
➕ I can best describe this as puzzle hunt in an adventure game’s clothing. Despite the high level of difficulty, LOCK was very approachable. Puzzle hunt novices (as long as they are puzzle people!) and experts alike will enjoy the gradual difficulty increase and fair on-ramps to every puzzle, meta, and meta-meta.
➕ Considering the constraints of the Dreams platform, the developers were able to create a meticulously designed and gorgeous game with infinite levels of thought and attention to detail for each individual room and puzzle theme.
➕ The game allowed a learn-as-you-go play style, slyly teaching us game mechanics and preparing us for future, more challenging sections. This was one of the best implementations of this mechanic we’ve seen in a game, and manages to almost entirely avoid tutorials.
➕/➖ Most puzzles provided extensive feedback, with a small handful providing substantially less. These could have benefited from a little extra indication that we were on the right track.
➕ One mid-game puzzle blew us away in the execution, direction, and clever input mechanism. We couldn’t believe how this puzzle solved, and how the creators used every ounce of the Dreams platform to their advantage.
➖ Compared to the smooth cluing of the rest of LOCK, the final meta was under-clued. With a little more signposting, this final interaction would solve more cleanly. This final puzzle also included some difficult wordplay for native English speakers, despite there being few puzzles of this nature up until this point, and would be near-impossible for non-native English speakers.
➕ LOCK was a seriously challenging game that is not punishing to the player. The compounding difficulty and continuous on-ramping sprinkled throughout made solves approachable. The solves required tons of observation and connection, but were well worth the payoff.
❓ The story felt unnecessary and seeming tacked on as an afterthought to make a universe around the brilliant puzzle design. We do not recommend this game to folks looking for a narrative adventure; come for the puzzles.
Tips For Players
- Required Gear: Playstation 4
- The full version of LOCK is on a rotating list of games in the Dreams trial, which is free. Check the trial version before buying the full version, and upgrade if it’s not in the current trial rotation.
- Keep a notebook handy. You will regret not taking notes as you progress, especially if you are playing sessions far apart.
- If you are stuck, don’t be afraid to turn the game off and come back to it later. I found myself solving puzzles even when the game was off.
- With that being said, we recommend playing the game within a few days or weeks, as every mechanic you learn is relevant.
- There is a myriad of other puzzle games worth checking out in Dreams. Let us know if you find any great ones!