In 2015 PewDiePie who I’m sure you need no introduction to (just in case you did, his Youtube channel has the most followers in the world with 42m at last look) said that Drei is the “coolest puzzle game ever”. That is quite the endorsement for Swiss developer Etter Studios puzzling tower building game.
Dreii is the sequel to the 2013 release of Drei which attained much critical acclaim.
The premise of the game is very simple. Building blocks. We all played with some form of building blocks when we were younger right? Making unique, intricate towers and would push our luck at building them as tall as we could. Well Dreii it’s not all about the height of the towers, you’ve just got to get them to a certain point and hope that they can stand tall for a few seconds before progressing onto the next level.
Your towers are built by a unique, brightly coloured characters that you control. You tell them which block to pick up and they’ll move it as you command. You have to build the towers as best you can to cover a small light ball placed somewhere on the level. Make sure your tower covers this light ball for a few seconds and you progress through the game to tougher challenges.
And tougher challenges certainly do lie ahead. As progression ramps up so do the various shapes of blocks. Ever tried balancing a circular block on a high tower? And as-well as new shapes other things come into play later on such as unstable surfaces (like small trampolines flinging your blocks all over the screen) and weather affects like wind gusts. The little extra mechanics that get added as the levels progress certainly ensure things get mixed up. Sometimes levels can be completed by a spot of good fortune, other times you’ll be sat there wondering what you’re doing wrong.
One of the more astounding parts of Dreii is the multiplayer side of it. You get random players join you from various platforms as the game is open across all platforms it’s available on. Although you wouldn’t know the game is multiplayer as it isn’t really clearly pointed out. When selecting a level if you see what looks like floating dots, if you select these levels you’ll drop into a game with another player or players. There are no communication barriers per say as there are only limited words you can select to say to each other. You just need to hope that the players you get paired up with are on the same frequency as you when building these towers.
Unfortunately during my experience of the game I actually didn’t get much opportunity for multiplayer moments. And this was one of the downsides as some of the levels later on really do rely on help from other players. Pretty surprising consider how many platforms the game is available for with cross platform play. And this could be a cause for concern as the player base for Dreii dwindles, so goes the motivation to tackle the levels later on as they get increasingly frustrating playing alone.
While that last statement may sound like I had a negative experience with the game, that’s not the case at all. The beginning phases of the game and initial levels were tricky but fun to accomplish. This is down to how easy the game is easy to pick up and play. It’s addictive as well, I had the urge to complete “just one more level” on numerous occasions, and due to how the game progression is set out, if I was struggling on one level you could move down and try a different path. Eventually though I think the game hits a wall while playing solo player and you will rely on completion of the later levels on assistance from other players, which isn’t always a guarantee to happen from what I’ve seen.
The game is genuinely good fun, and a really good puzzle experience. You get a great sense of accomplishment when you nail a level that left you scratching your head for a few attempts. Its experimental game-play both single and multiplayer is what makes this puzzler standout. Visually it’s simple but bright and attractive. But I do fear that if you’re late to the party on this game and the player base has dwindled you’ll be stuck on puzzles that need assistance to progress through.