"Oh, My Dreams"
February 12, 2020 at 11:14pm
By Jason Stettner
There’s something magical about Dreams, it’s the ultimate creative tool that I’ve seen a number of games aspire to over the years. It’s the first to truly succeed at providing a series of tools that allows for simply fun play, while also giving a sophisticated yet streamlined selection of crafting options. I’ll be honest when noting that the play, or well “surfing” aspect of the game is more my thing.
I could definitely tell that was the case after sampling some of the top options. I’ve actually spent a surprising number of hours playing various games which I’ll dive into as I work through this review. I’m just giving context in regards to where I mostly spent my time in Dreams. So if you’re a creative person, there’s a lot to do. You can make still scenes; animate shorts or even build full game experiences that are far more complex than one might expect.
If this seems overwhelming, fret not as there are many tutorials and quests to hone your skills. These grant object rewards, and also allow for creative building within your little Dream space. This is a different area from creating an experience, and one where you sort of launch the general hub from. I have a temple area with a cat at the top of it, with some chickens on the steps. Needless to say, it’s quite cool.
When it does come to straight up building you can start from scratch or even remix other worlds. You can create scenes, and honestly craft whatever you like. It might sound like something that’s minor, but honestly this is one expansive experience. You can create games that have multiple worlds, or levels within them. The game even has a key experience from the developers that sort of showcases it, but I feel the real value is in what others have created. The developers made a lovely musical themed venture that’s varied. That being said, I’ve been playing a dino platformer game with multiple worlds, a rhythm game like Guitar Hero and these are experiences where they note interest in expanding them further.
Most seem minor at this point, but they could become something wild in the future as you have to keep in mind that I’m writing this pre-launch. It’s actual insane the sort of things I’ve seen. There was a Mario 64 creation, a level of basic Tomb Raider, a Sonic the Hedgehog level featuring grinding as well as classic robot bopping. It’s just insane. There was a Star Wars space battle in front of the Death Star, another where you’re playing as Yiddle (baby Yoda). I’ve played a game where a robot just wants a hug, seen very realistic food plates and a skit where Optimus Prime walks around. I’m going to keep going to drive home the point.
I’ve played the first level of Crash Bandicoot in this, seen the character from A Hat in Time authentically recreated and the entirety of Flappy Bird. You can literally make any sort of game here, its pure insanity. I spent hours, and hours sorting through what’s available. If you come back the next day, you’ll be greeted with tons of new experiences. These are also beautifully curated with direct options and new opportunities. The community upvotes creations, and honestly they could use a downvote too in order to assist with curation.
There’s a lot here, and it’s really quite varied. At the same time, a lot of this will be driven by players and how much they engage with the tools they’ve been given. I’ve seen things that wow me, but nothing yet that feels extended in the time it provides. I see the potential, but still would like more concrete large scale creations. That is something to be wary about with this, yet the potential and the tools here are excellent. A lot of where this goes will be determined by how dedicated the community is in building, as the average player might lean more towards just playing as it does take some time to fully grasp the creative elements.
This is a harder section to go over as the gameplay will change based on what you’re experiencing. For the most part you play as a special Imp character. This is your guide into the world, how you possess characters or control elements of building. You could it by using motion on the controller, or other control scheme options if you choose to use them. You can easily interact with objects within the world, or use a various selection of UI buttons to move in whatever you’d like. I will note that I don’t have Move controllers so I wasn’t able to test that integration.
Again, it’s very streamlined and easy to understand. If that’s not enough, they have tutorials that while slow, do very much hold your hand along the way. The visual elements of this game are quite lovely, it seems to lean more into being something with a softer art style. That sounds odd as the games look so different, but they do seem to carry a similar format to a small degree. You will see a massively varied selection of creations based on the sculpting and scripting of what’s being produced. It also largely handles well, but keep in mind that some areas of this might be more demanding than others.
Some games even offer a choice of if you’re playing on Pro or Base which I thought was neat, keep in mind that aspect is player created. It’s really hard to go over this aspect of the review as it varies entirely. Some games will have you driving, others you’ll just be watching mostly and they range from first person to third. It’s whatever people make, and send out there for you to check out. Keep in mind that it might not even be a game, could just be a work of art or a musical experience.
Dreams is a simply magical experience that could produce some truly beautiful games and pieces of art, for any type of gamer to enjoy. The varied options here for what you make, are mostly limited by what you come up with. The developers have given us a plethora of options to build with whether you want to sculpt actual art or make Sonic the Hedgehog. Build a racing game, no a karting one or maybe something where you fly around. This has the options for whatever you want to make if you’re that type of person.
Create complex multi-level games, or just surf the creations network and begin playing them. You can do either, you can literally get this just to play what others have made. Be a creative type, or just have fun playing with characters that you would never see on Playstation. Like I said, I’ve already seen some Mario creations and this is pre-launch. I’ve seen a shooter with the Cuphead characters, levels with Lara Croft and this is pre-launch. Take a night off, enjoy a plethora of new experiences when you come back. It’s just insane what you can do here, and it’s all quite beautiful. Nothing looks awkward, or cookie cutter.
Every build where anyone put a little time into it is wildly different from another. Not just in terms of how it plays, or looks but just what they aim to have you do. There are shooter games where they have a level from Call of Duty with sprinting and aiming down the scope. They have more friendly games where a cube wants a hug.
They all have different aesthetics, styles and objectives. It’s incredible, and this is a tool that fully realizes open creative freedom. I can’t wait to see what else is made in the future, as I’ve already spent too many hours diving in what’s been made. I think we’re going to see some stunning projects on this as time progresses. The work already is just the ultimate tease of what’s to come, and that’s entirely outside of what the developers have put out there.
Read our Death Stranding Review
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Dreams Review on Playstation 4
Review Code Provided by SIEC
Rating Overall: 9.0