I Keep Having This Dream is a tile-placement game that takes place inside a dream, a nightmare really. Your nightmare. You are being chased by your nemesis–a vaguely defined foe, and rightfully so, this is a dream after all. You must lay tiles to forge a path through this dream world to the exit of a series of successive levels of the dream.
Some tiles are snags, dream creatures meant to slow you down, trip you up, and let your dreaded nemesis get closer. You fight snags by playing tiles that build up your attack and defense reservoirs before you face them. Snags have attacks and defenses of their own and the higher they are the harder the snag is to topple. If you defeat a snag you leave experience on the path, which gets collected when your nemesis moves over it in pursuit of you. Every ten experience you gain increases your level, at which point you gain special abilities to help you survive. The combination of these abilities can be quite game changing.
You also have limited health and tiles that help you regain it. When a snag reduces you to zero health you don’t die, only the nemesis can kill you in this dream. Instead you regain half of your health and your nemesis moves much closer. When it catches up you wake up and the game is over.
I Keep Having This Dream is a tactics-driven game that gets better and better the more you play. There are a lot of interesting game-play decisions to be made. A discarding mechanic, for example, allows you to replace cards cluttering up your hand but also permits the nemesis to creep closer. This trade off can be a life saver, or a disaster depending on where you’re at in the game. More powerful snags come with abilities that make holding them in you hand, or playing them right away, dangerous and can alter your strategy in a hurry. There are a lot of little choices like this that make the game fun.
Games can take some time, but levels are shorter and it is easy enough to stop and restart without trouble. I Keep Having This Dream is a fun high-score chaser and my only complaint is the lack of an overarching narrative or much detail on the game world. I would have loved to see some story behind the dream and maybe something revealed upon waking. Despite this, it is still well worth playing and available on iOS.