Dream of Pixels unleashes beautiful puzzles on Windows Phone

Every game can't be a comic book-inspired dash through the streets and rooftops of New York City. Sometimes you just want to relax with a nice puzzle game to relax with on your phone. Or maybe a really hard puzzle game – I'm not here to judge you guys.

That's what Slovenian indie developer Dawn of Play has given us with their first Windows Phone game, Dream of Pixels. You can describe Dream of Pixels as a "reverse Tetris" game, given that it involves pulling apart a pile of blocks into Tetris-shaped pieces. But the game play really is quite fresh and challenging. Plus it's one of the loveliest puzzle games you'll come across, with a sharp 3D engine and gorgeous use of colors. Check out our impressions and hands-on video after the break!

Upside down and topsy-turvy

As I just mentioned, the basic concept of Dream of Pixels is that players must take apart a large mass of blocks found at the top of the screen. It's like the morning after Tetris; somebody has to clean up the mess!

Thing is, you can't just tap away at the block pile and hope for the best. There are rules to this demolition project. First of all, you're looking for a specific Tetromino (piece) to pull out of the stack. You can usually remove that shape from several points within the block mass, and even press and hold to rotate the shape you're going to remove.

Dream of Pixels Windows Phone

If you just pull blocks off willy-nilly (as I did in our video, whoops) the stack will be left with lots of random floating blocks. Players can't interact with disconnected blocks, and they will cause the game to end if you let them touch the bottom of the screen. Luckily, clearing the lines between the stack and the floaters will cause those floaters to return to the stack. Then you can clear them right, gosh darn it.

But wait, there's more! From time to time a white shape will appear within the stack. You could just ignore it and just pull it apart bit-by-bit as you work through the target shapes. But take the time to separate the surrounding blocks from the white piece without destroying it and you'll get four times the points, so some careful clearing is usually the way to go.

Also, pieces usually must have a clear path below them in order to be removed from the stack. This varies by game mode, though.

Plenty of game modes

Dream of Pixels Windows Phone

Dream of Pixels starts out with a tutorial that I found slightly tough to follow. Chalk it up either to the distraction of shooting a video, or to the tutorial needing a little more explanatory text than what's there.

The main game offers six modes of play. Only three are available by default – the rest will unlock when certain conditions have been met.

  • Classic: Try to survive and score as many points as you can. The level increases as you clear enough lines, making the block stack move faster.
  • Puzzle: Take on 120 hand-crafted puzzles without the pressure of time! Instead of a big mass of blocks, the blocks actually make some fun and interesting shapes such as the Windows logo, a Pong scene, and a music note. Even the puzzle names are clever. The Puzzle mode is my favorite part of the game.
  • FreeFall: Works like classic, except pieces don't need a clear path to the bottom in order to be removed from the stack. They just fall into the background.
  • Pro: Unlocks after reaching Level 9 in Classic.
  • Nightmare: Merge isolated blocks with the main cloud of blocks 100 times to unlock.
  • Shattered Dream: Detach 42 white pieces to unlock this mode.

Besides offering a lot of things to do, Dream of Pixels is super pretty and features some catchy trance music to entertain the ears. The only thing the game really lacks is online leaderboards. Comparing scores with random players or friends would add a nice competitive element and additional replay value.

Like I said, Dream of Pixels is not an easy game. Even though it's based on a familiar puzzle game concept, the implementation is so different that your Tetris skills won't necessarily pay the bills. But if you like a puzzle challenge, you'll want to pick this one up. And there is a trial!

  • Dream of Pixels – Windows Phone 8 – 66 MB – $2.99 – Store Link

QR: Dream of Pixels

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Looks interesting.
  • Wow! I've never seen a worse game review in my life. The rules were obvious in the first 20 seconds or so, when the game takes you through the tutorial. Somehow, the reviewer managed to still not get how to play the game. :))
  • Yeah, funny and annoying at the same time :)
  • First, it's not a review. Second, you should invest in some manners.
  • Not a review? So? What is it? A pencil?
  • It's an article with hands-on impressions, which could also be thought of as a preview. A full review would have been longer and gone into more detail about the unlockable modes. That said, your actual criticism that I found the tutorial lacking would hold no weight regardless of the kind of article. Again, you should use manners and communicate in a polite and respectful way, even when you disagree with someone or have a different experience than someone else. I did say to use manners (this applies more to your other comment from today than than this one), so please do so if you want to continue commenting here.
  • I'm not paying for it
  • Not that much w/o Xbox integration. #SaveXboxWP
  • Zzzzzz. Move on.
  • What a useful comment, BRC. Please keep us updated on the items that you will and won't pay for in the future.
  • This
  • Whoa! What a smug (the article writer)! :))  
  • More apps better for us bring more more more apps more!
  • Also app support. I mean app updates !
  • Microsoft improve apps!
  • It's not as though Microsoft are developing everything, lol. Their development tools are alright - and it's not like this game sucks.... it's just not worth the cash. Was a good few minutes of my life. lol
  • I have to say, its a simple beautiful game. Even tho i didn't want to buy it, but i did. :S quality of the games are getting better, but there are still plenty of crap games in the store.
  • Same is true of any platform though. Still remember Bustin Jieber on Android - a fart soundboard with different pictures of Justin Bieber - LOL!! We don't quite get that level of.... crap.... but there's an awful lot of mobile websites with some crappy buttons stuck on the bottom... they even charge for them.
  • I love Tetris and this is a pretty original version. Bought it as soon played a bit with the trial.
  • This is a really neat game. If you like puzzles, at least grab the trial to see how gorgeous it is.
  • Let me guess.. No Xbox Support....WTF Microsoft, are they selling off Xbox as they are not supporting it on their own phone system.... #SaveXboxWP
  • Forcing game developers to support Xbox might lock down the system a little too much and discourage development.
  • Yeah, we tried getting into the Xbox Live ID program to add the leaderboards and achievements, even with this in the official Xbox Live FAQ: "Q: I don’t need a publisher, but I do want Xbox Live in my game. How do I do that?"
    "A: Currently Xbox Live on Windows is only available to developers working with Microsoft Studios or other publishing partners. There is not a freely distributed SDK or service available unless you are working with Microsoft Studios or another of the Live publishing partners." So yeah, locked down. And when considering Google and Apple encourage the devs so much to implement their Game Center and Google Play Games. We are still trying, though, to get in touch with guys over at ID@Xbox and get into the Xbox Live program and all. We really want to add leaderboards and achievements to Dream of Pixels. 
  • What about lumia 525 users .we dont have asphalt 8 , amazing spider man 2 .its embarrassing they sell 525 with asphalt 8 poster and the game itself is not in store.
  • Looks sort of trippy....but in a good way.  I'm not really a huge Tetris fan myself, but still I'm sort of interested enough to give it a go.
  • Its so easy to get 1 you cant save, cant go on for long.
  • This game looks really cool.