Dreams Hands-off Impressions

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When Dreams was announced back at the Sony E3 presentation earlier this year, it turned a lot of heads with its surreal reveal video and ambitious desire to allow players to recreate their dreams within a game. Well Media Molecule, the team behind Dreams as well as the Little Big Planet franchise and Tearaway, came on down to Sydney to last week to present what they’ve done so far on their game. Below are my impressions…

The gameplay itself is still in a very early stage of development and we didn’t really see too much of it. We were introduced to the concept of “dream surfing” where, by navigating through the environment of a level, we would reach a shining light which would take us to another level. There were some rudimentary puzzle elements where some bits of the environment would need to be moved out of the way or interacted with in order to progress. In another instance, the objective wasn’t highlighted with the shining light and instead was a painting which we needed to jump into (which then became the next environment). It’ll be interesting to see what else, Media Molecule format into this part of their game design, but currently there isn’t too much.

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The game is very visually appealing. The models and environments that I’ve seen so far all have a pleasant visual design. The texturing also has an interesting effect wherein a lot of the objects appear to become fuzzy and wispy around their edges, which makes everything appear like they’re made of clouds. Most of the objects and environments look quite cute but there were some on showcase which had a quite different tone including a nightmarish WW1 battlefield. Overall, everything looks pretty and (generally) quite huggable.

The environments and characters on showcase were varied and distinct across a number of levels as well as the tools to create them. Besides the battlefield I mentioned there was a snowy mountainside featuring a log cabin. There was a pleasant wooded area with a small creek which one of the devs was modifying in front of us during the presentation using the game’s tools to add in more trees, more of the creek, and various other bits of terrain to the area. It seemed quite fast and simple to add in all these elements but I’m not under the delusion that anyone on the dev team is not already very fluent with the game controls. The characters within the game are similarly visually appealing and range from an abominable snowman to a dangerous looking mech. The controls for both the characters and the environment modding will be compatible with both a standard controller and motion controls.

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Overall, I think it will definitely appeal to gamers of a more creative bent who would interested in spending hours creating and modifying the various objects within the game. The devs have stated that they’ll continue supporting the game after release with the team developing more levels based around their dreams… but that might be a small drop in the ocean compared to the creative content which a motivated fan base can do. This is certainly within the realm of possibilities considering the popularity of titles like Minecraft and Garry’s Mod. I feel that, if the game can live up to its promise, Dreams might become a new staple amongst the sandbox gaming community.

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