Looking Back: Dweep

  • Name: Dweep
  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: Dexterity Software
  • Publisher: Dexterity Software
  • Originally Released: June 1999

Dweep is a tiny, adorable ball of fluff with eyes and legs, and no discernable gender. Dweep is in – good question, actually. He’s (it’s?) somewhere and has to get to his (their?) babies at the end of the level. The player, presumably God, Directs Dweep to go to certain places and places down things to solve the level so that Dweep can navigate to her (his?) babies at the end. That’s it. That’s the whole plot.

The mechanics of a typical play session go roughly as follows. Left click to move. Click on item to pick up from inventory and then click to place down. Solve the level in your head. Accidentally mis-click and kill Dweep. Cry a little at the small pile of ashes that has appeared in front of you because you directed that laser one block too low. Rage quit because the difficulty is absolutely insane. Hum “Level One” from the soundtrack for 2 hours. Start up the game and try again.

So what keeps you coming back for more punishment from this little furball? It’s probably not the graphics. They’re alright, but are a bit pixelly for 1999. However they are clear – you can easily tell what’s a laser, what’s a wrench, what that pile of ashes on the ground is, so in general they’re good enough. The game is about the puzzles, not about the graphics. They mostly fit the theme of the game, although as there’s not much of a storyline it’s hard to say for sure. Many of the sprites are just retextures of the same shape depending on the theme of the level- which cycle endlessly through wood, stone, metal, sand and ice. These can get quite repetitive after a while.

Dweep-screen-1

The sound, however, is infectious. Every theme has a different piece of music to accompany it. When you want Dweep to do anything, he (she?) squeaks adorably and promptly moves there, smiling occasionally with its (her?) eyes. There’s no main menu sound, however, and the music can get a little annoying if you need to think about the puzzle (and you will). My favourite track is the one on the first level, and by virtue of the design, the one on level 6, level 11, level 16, etc.

The sound has an issue however. It’s not a bug per se, but if you alt-tab out of the game and back into it (to look at a walkthrough, perhaps), the MIDI sound file plays using only the piano sound- making for some interesting new variant music. This is remedied automatically upon the soundtrack looping after a few minutes, but it’s still a bit weird. Level One, the music from the first level (shock horror) sounds especially good with this “bug”.

There is a level editor – although as this game’s community is hardly existent I don’t see this being too widely used. In addition, the gold edition has bonus levels, extending the 30 main levels up to a total of 75 to deepen your personal puzzling hell. If there is a proper ending to the game, we haven’t seen it – I got to level 15 in the main level pack before “accidentally” directing Dweep into a laser beam and quitting the game forever – but I don’t expect there to be one, as there’s not enough story to warrant it.

Overall, if you like very difficult puzzle games, you’ll like Dweep – the adorable charm adds an extra level of pleasure. However, if you prefer your games less rage-inducing, maybe give this one a miss. Now then, does anyone know how you identify the gender of a furball?

Graphics7
Gameplay10
Sound10
Variety7.5
A frustrating little game, but really good fun for puzzle masters.
8.6

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