Reviews

Dream Chronicles – Review

Release Date:
Developer: KatGames
Publisher: Playfirst
Singleplayer: Yes
Multiplayer: No

I can’t deny it came as a mild shock to learn that games like Dream Chronicles still exist, a sub-genre all of their own that simply involved finding objects in a static screen and solving simple puzzles with them.

And sadly in that single sentence I’ve just described what Dream Chronicles is. For 800 Microsoft Points this new addition to the Xbox Live Arcade leaves a bit to be desired, but may well find a niche market.

From the off things are all largely odd, the Fairy Queen of Dreams has taken an odd interest in the husband of lead character Faye and her daughter Lyra. This sets up a fairly thin story which leads you on your journey to rescue them by following a trail of fairly contrived puzzles, along the way your husband Fidget talks to you in your head. How useful. The tale that Dream Chronicles weaves is a weak tale indeed, serving only to keep you going from place to place.

Faye herself is hardly an entertaining character as she, and no-one else for that matter, actually has a voice. Instead series of text keeps you informed of what’s going on but the writing that powers this text is rather poor at points giving the feeling that Faye doesn’t even give a damn half the time.

It’s the puzzle element that needs to be strong here, and it’s a rather mixed bag with some being enjoyable and others being a little daft. Early in the game I was asked to move a children’s cart that was blocking a trapdoor. To do this I had to search the whole room for washers, bolts and oil to repair the cart which had missing wheels. Why couldn’t I just lift the damn thing up and move it?.  Other puzzles do prove fairly entertaining however, though they do tend to be simplistic in nature they provide a nice way to relax for an hour or so. But often the game does become a case of scrolling across everything in a room clicking madly to try to find what you’re missing. Mostly this isn’t to bad but occasionally the game does hide things in the most awkward places.

Another form if irritation comes in the interface with feels rather clunky to use along with a very slow moving cursor which can frustrate often. Other little things like no cursor change when moving over interactive objects just leads to mindless clicking all over the screen.

Dream Chronicles could very well find a niche market as it is a very relaxing game and a fairly pleasant way to pass a few hours. But for many the simple find-the-object gameplay mixed with simple puzzles may bore more than excite. It many ways this review sounds overly negative, so it’s here that I will state that Chronicles is enjoyable, it’s just flawed.

The Good:
+ Beautiful artwork
+ Solving a well made puzzle
+ Finally finding that missing item….

The Bad:
-….Only because it was hidden in a pot.
– That just makes no sense, why can’t I just move the cart?
– Where the hell is that damn key!

Scores

graphics: 8
It’s the artwork that wins here.

Sound: 6
Dreamy music is relaxing but with no voice acting or standout sound effects it’s hard to really comment on sound.

Story: 5
Pretty pointless throughout, serving simply to drag you from place to place and Faye offers no depth of character.

Gameplay: 6
Relaxing and simple, but let down by some boring object hunts.

Lifespan: 5
A few hours to complete, but there is an achievement for completing the game in 25 minutes.

Overall: 5
Simple, quiet and mildly enjoyable puzzles meets often annoying item hunting and daft plotline. Still, it’s a pleasant way to lose a few hours and may appeal to a small crowd.

Without a shadow of a doubt Dream Chronicals is a pretty game, the static screens contain a fantasy like art-work that depict a beautiful world and while there are some rough patches they are far and few between. Some of the graphical touches such as a sparkle to highlight a hidden object are slow to show though, often even highlighting an area you’ve already gotten an item from. Still, a few graphical mishaps aside it is a pretty world to play through.

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