Dream Chronicles

Much like Linger in Shadows, Flower and flOw, Dream Chronicles is, in every way, a change of pace from the normal frantic PS3 action. The game is more of an interactive story book, as opposed to the standard chaotic shooters set on war-torn grey backgrounds. Many gamers, were they to purchase the game without noting the title or genre, might sit dumbfounded before the screen, unable to believe that they're not permitted to leap through the level, shooting bad stuffs and breaking open boxes to find the red key for the red door. However, for those interested in something quite different, Dream Chronicles is a breath of fresh fantasy air, provided you know what to expect.

Dream Chronicles

Set in a beautiful house, part of an elegant fantasy setting, you control a character caught in a dream, moving from room to room to uncover the apparent mystery. Each chapter in the game portrays a new room or area to explore, featuring puzzles to solve in order to progress. The story begins in a bedroom with a frozen door. This iced-up obstacle needs no explanation, since it exists within what we happily accept as a dreamworld. Meanwhile, the story unfolds via text, prompted by your cursor-based exploration. The character you play also offers explanations of the challenges you must overcome, as well as describing which room you are in, or where you might need to go next. If you ignore the supporting text, you might yet manage to solve each puzzle unaided, and you certainly won't be shot by enemies for taking your time.

Within each chapter, there are collectibles to discover, easier for those with extremely good eyesight, as well as items crucial to the available puzzle. Often, a key is required to open the next door. A hint might suggest that it is buried, probably by the cheeky dog. The challenge then is to find the key, discover a way to unearth it, and then ensure it is still useable in the necessary door. It's as dramatic as opening a box of cornflakes, but it's for that exact reason that the game is so relaxing. Most of the settings are beautifully illustrated, featuring rich colours and imaginative backgrouns, which only cements the sedate pacing of the game.

Dream Chronicles

For those interested in more of a challenge, there are trophies motivating completion of the entire game within half an hour, suggesting that the adventure is short. In reality, a first play, solving each puzzle for the first time, will take far longer, and only memorization would facilitate quicker plays. Admittedly some of the puzzle can be solved by frantic clicking of the entire screen, until eventually a key item is placed in the correct location. However, the only fun way to play is to uncover each mystery as it was meant to be unravelled, understanding the links between the objects you find and the puzzles they solve. For example, placing symbols correctly in one puzzle can be achieved via guesswork or by observing the pattern and placing methodically.

In summary, Dream Chronicles is a gentle, slow-paced adventure, with a few puzzles to distract gamers between rounds of Call of Duty and Need for Speed. It doesn't offer a huge adventure, polished gameplay or millions of moving particles, but it does present something a little different, and still enjoyable. Even better, the entire game can be played cooperatively, with two cursors used to find and place items in order to solve puzzles. This feature is easily one of the most enjoyable additions to any game, and gives gamers another reason to try out something new in Dream Chronicles.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Hudson Soft

Developer:

PlayFirst

Players:

1-2

Online:

None

Release:

2011-01-05

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

Sedate, thoughtful puzzling, with no guns in sight

Graphics:

Like a series of beautiful paintings, but hardly dynamic

Sound:

Text speech, but pleasant enough music and effects

Lastability:

Faster replays for trophies adds extra life

6.5

Aurora

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