Sawbuck Gamer

Icarus Needs

Beautiful Dreamer

Icarus Needs is a quest to wake up.

By Matt Kodner • July 29, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

People who have trouble waking up are prone to a common dream. They’ll hear an alarm clock going off, and no matter how many times they press snooze or bash its electronic brains in, it won’t stop beeping. Eventually, something in their consciousness gives way. They wake up and hear their real alarm going off, with that same immortal tone from the dream. It’s unsettling when something real creeps into your dreamscape. It forces you to ask yourself, “Am I in a dream right now?” Most of the time, the answer is no, but the hero of Icarus Needs answers otherwise.

Icarus wakes up in a two-tone corridor. As he walks around—the world is built in comic book-like panels—it becomes apparent that he is stuck in a dream. Icarus makes wakefulness his quest when his girlfriend shows up and is immediately kidnapped. His adventure isn’t difficult—usually a problem’s solution is to walk to a new panel and return with the necessary tool—but it’s an enjoyable lark if only for its unusual art direction and quirky characters. Like the best dreams, the plot isn’t all that important. The real meat comes from the joy of besting your surreal subconscious, waking up, and moving on with your day.

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12 Responses to “Beautiful Dreamer”

  1. mizerock says:

    The best way to tell if you are in a dream: read something. Look away. Look back: does the writing say something even slightly different than it did before, or is it now very hard to focus on the writing?

    Jump in the air. Do you stay up longer than you expected, by even a little bit?

    If either happens, you’re dreaming. Get in the habit of running these tests regularly (even when you’re “obviously” awake) and you’ll eventually catch yourself dreaming. And then you’ll win this game … I think?

    • NakedSnake says:

      Man, I wish I dreamed in such detail. My dreams are usually just a series of distinct “impressions”, but there’s not that much depth. Incidentally, did you get your advice about reading from this episode of Batman: TAS?

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      My usual test for knowing whether I’m dreaming is “Is everything balls-out nuts?” Coincidentally, my dreams are pretty damn fun.

    • Boonehams says:

      My dreams are usually self-contained stories with setups and payoffs.  I’ve had dreams where jokes were conceived with legitimately funny, functional punchlines. I’ve had dreams that had bizarre sci-fi elements including complex time-travel loops and shifts in dimensional planes. I’ve had dreams that had act structures–a beginning, a middle and an end.

      What I’m getting at is that my dreaming brain is a better writer than my waking brain.

    • Merve says:

      My dreams tend to feature people from several different circles of friends who couldn’t possibly know each other all hanging out together. Real life makes marginally more sense than that, thankfully.

    • SamPlays says:

      These tests do not account for Matrix-like mind control. 

      Also, the comic panel motif reminds of Comix Zone from the 90s – it was a great innovation at the time but damn it was a hard fucking game!

  2. boardgameguy says:

    SPOILERS it was nice that Kit ends up saving Icarus END SPOILERS

  3. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:


    (Sorry, I’ve been spending too much time on the parent site.)

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