Developed by Media Molecule, and published by Sony, Dreams is the latest instalment in the evolutionary chain of Create, Play, Share, the philosophy that began with Little Big Planet back in 2008.
Dreams is described as a toolbox and social network, offering users the tools to create their own varying content. The tools can be used to make games, animated shorts, music and more that can be shared around the world through the Dreamiverse.
So, what actually is Dreams?
From the perspective of a gamer, Dreams is close to a collection of mini-games and smaller universes, spanning from totally original content to fan-made remakes of scenes from other games. The tutorials teaching players the basic functions of Dreams are fun and interactive, designed in a way to draw each player in further.
Within the Dream Surfing area of the game, there are different styles of dream you can access; games, audio-visual, and galleries. A separate section is available showcasing Media Molecule designed dreams. The biggest Media Molecule dream is Art’s Dream, a feature-length story mode.
To the primarily creative mind, Dreams offers a new, innovative means of design. From giving players access to tools to build anything from games to music, to animated shorts, Media Molecule has constructed a new kind of art with this game.
Dreams seamlessly blends the worlds of creativity and gaming into a masterful experience for people of interests. On top of this, a huge majority of the game is family-friendly and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
The main modes in the game are dream surfing and dream shaping. Dream surfing lets you play through games, and view the creations of other players. Dream shaping lets the player create their own worlds. Both of these modes start with in-depth, fun tutorials that teach the basic mechanics of shaping and surfing.
Art’s Dream is a feature-length story mode created by Media Molecule. This game swaps between three different styles of play, delving deeper into the mind of protagonist Art. Art is a double bass player who has left his band and essentially abandoned his friends. Swapping between playing as hid childhood toys, small robots, and directing Art himself, the story unfolds with every action taken. Throughout the story, not only does the player get to enjoy the fun differences between modes, but we also get to watch a kind of reverse character growth.
In most stories, the protagonist tends to grow with each chapter. However, for Art, the unravelling tale shows how he became the lonely man he is when the player first encounters him. As a person, admittedly, Art is not the most likeable. He comes across as selfish, and as though he just feels sorry for himself when talking about his memories. All he is concerned about is finding his dragon, Lancewing. As the story develops, however, the player comes to learn that Art is being ruled by his own fears and doubts.
By the time the final act rolls around, we get to see Art finally face up to his fears in the form of a fight against Thornbeak, the nemesis of his childhood toys and “physical” representation of his fears. Although we do get a satisfying ending for Art, the best thing about this story is that instead of having a semi-flawed character become some amazing hero in one sense or another, we get to interact with a human. A human who is flawed by nature, which makes this experience much more relatable.
The Other Dreams
Amongst the dreamiverse, there are pick up and play games. These are essentially mini-games, both single-player and multiplayer. These are all short, fun little dreams in their own little worlds. Games ranging from running around ancient temples to games centred around destruction, there is something for everyone. At this point in time, multiplayer is local only. My personal favourites are Pip Gemwalker and Art Therapy.
The dreamiverse has also opened up a huge new realm for people to create their own worlds. Every day, new creations are appearing that can be viewed, played, or just listened to. With this does come the chance of stumbling onto something not so great, but there is no way to NOT admire the initiative of each and every dreamer in this game. There is also a huge feeling of satisfaction in dream surfing. Players get to experience a new game daily and see the huge potential it has for the future.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Dreams is one of the most intriguing games to hit the market. It caters for all kinds of personalities and interests all in one vast dreamiverse.
From a graphical standpoint, the game is stunning. Some of the user made dreams have much more basic graphics, which is more so endearing than anything else. Some sections of the game have moments of flashing lights, which should be noted in cases of photosensitive epilepsy.
The imps are relatively easy to use and control. Once you get the hang of using them for different purposes, they are quite a cute little companion. One thing to note is that some of the user-made dreams are not as refined controls-wise as others.
Dreams is so filled with content, that it would be impossible for players not to get hundreds of hours in. Although limited in the story overall, there is enough extra content from the user-made spectrum to truly fill the world and grant new experiences on a daily basis.
The future of this game looks very bright, with plans for full PSVR support and online multiplayer inbound.
At this point in time, Dreams is a PS4 exclusive, retailing at €39.99.