Dreams – Review
Follow Genre: Game Creation System
Developer: Media Molecule
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Dreams – Review

Site Score
9.5
Good: Abundant options for creating your own content, Media Molecule's trademark graphic style
Bad: The amount of sliders and menus can become overwhelming
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Media Molecule already has some great hits to their name, with both LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway being successful franchises. But Dreams is clearly aiming for something even bigger. Described as a Game Creation System, it focusses on user-generated content and allows you to start making content such as animations, music videos and even entire games with the trademark style we’re used to from this developer. It’s not a new concept, but it’s the execution that makes Dream a truly enjoyable experience.

Story

Due to the nature of the game, the story is negligible. There’s a short cutscene/tutorial combo that explains both the main mechanics of the game as well as the unique terms used in it. Users are called ‘dreamers’ and the content they create ‘dreams’. The way you make dreams is by channeling fluffy little creatures called ‘imps’, which you control and who function like a mouse would on a computer.

There is also “Art’s Dream”, a movie-length game made by Media Molecule itself to showcase the kinds of things you can create in Dreams. This story is a surreal adventure about a jazz musician named Art who, after falling out with his band members, looks back on his past and considers his future, presented in short little playable segments intercut by cutscenes.

Graphics

Dreams capitalizes on the style Media Molecule is famous for. Everything is colorful, cute and cartoony, with beautiful animations especially when it comes to the environments. It still plays with the concept of a tiny player character being dropped into a world that is huge by comparison, and even goes for a sketchier style than we’re used to. While some people might find it a bit disappointing that the graphics haven’t notably improved despite a considerable time going by since the Developer’s previous game – Tearaway Unfolded in 2015 – there is something to be said about not changing a winning formula.

Sound

Music plays an important role in Dreams. As mentioned, the pre-made story-driven game Art’s Dream is about a jazz musician and as such it is brimming with delightful jazz tunes. Besides this, the soundtrack consists mostly of lo-fi sounding music and upbeat numbers, adding to the game’s relaxing atmosphere. Making your own music is also an option, with many different instruments at your disposal. There is some excellent voice acting in the game as well.

Gameplay

Dreams described itself as a Game Creation System. Simply put, it’s a platform for user-generated content made with the engine provided by Media Molecule. There are two game modes to choose from, the first one is called Dream Surfing. This mode basically just lets you enjoy content created by others. You can play the games others shared online here, but also individual assets such as art or music. You have the option of leaving a comment on people’s work too. Media Molecule themselves have of course put their own stuff here too.

The games made in Dreams are platformers similar to LittleBigPlanet. The gameplay elements are dependent on the creator but mostly consist of controlling a character and reaching the end of a series of levels, jumping and running your way through deadly dangers. Sometimes it is necessary to collect things on the way and there can be a time limit as well. Some characters have weapons that you need to use to solve puzzles, for example by having to hit a target to open a door.

The second game mode is called Dream Shaping and this is where the real complexity of Dreams comes into play. This mode allows anybody to create their own content and share it online with the world. You can start with a completely blank slate if you are feeling extra creative, but Dreams also has a lot of templates and pre-made assets that allow you to create simple things in little time. There’s a lot you can do with these elements and luckily there are hotkeys for everything like scaling assets up and down or moving them. It’s also very easy to jump into play mode in the middle of creating to test your current set-up and see if everything works as it should.

As mentioned, the content you can create ranges from short animations, your own custom music, to fully-fledged games with characters you sculpted yourself. While it is very impressive how in-depth Dreams really gets, with every single element having its own menu where you can change even the smallest details, this multitude of sliders can become overwhelming. It’s a trial and error experience, so taking your time to figure out how everything functions is definitely necessary.

Conclusion

When Dreams was announced, many people thought it would revolutionize games forever. In a sense, this might have come true because even though Game Creation Systems aren’t an entirely new concept, not a lot of them allow you to micromanage to the extent Dreams does. While getting the hang of the interface can be tricky at first, the amount of things you can create is nearly limitless, and even for those who prefer to only play what others made there are countless options.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Dreams - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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