Dreams Early Access is visual ASMR for the endlessly creative

Media Molecule
Media Molecule /

Media Molecule’s next sandbox game Dreams lets the player’s imagination reach beyond the stars as audiences play, create and share.

The studio behind the LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway series is well on its way to fully releasing a new IP: Dreams. It’s a sandbox game where players use the tools and gimmicks provided to make or play seemingly whatever they want.

You start off being introduced to this very soothing narrated venture into the Dreamiverse where you select an Imp. This Imp is your personal cursor who can assume control of different objects for gameplay purposes. A brief tutorial is given to you to offer a quick rundown of the game’s controls, including the motion controls in the DualShock 4.

Surprisingly, the motion controls work quite well and responsively. I almost forgot the standard controllers for the PlayStation 4 even had the feature to begin with, since many big titles barely utilize it. The best part of this feature is that recalibrating your pointer is as easy as hitting the edges of the screen or holding the options button to recenter it.

Media Molecule
Media Molecule /

After the main tutorial, you are directed to your personal, customizable homespace. It essentially acts as your idle playing field when not in the main menu or doing other activities. It helps you become acquainted with the game’s creation tools. At this point, you are free to partake in creating your own Dreams or viewing and playing user-submitted ones.

For a game in early access, I was surprised to see so many crossover creations…

I lack the patience and dedication to make any elaborate dreams of my own, so most of my time was allocated into Dream Surfing— the game’s upload base of user creations. For a game in early access, I was surprised to see so many crossover creations like the first level of Super Mario Bros., Cuphead, a recreation of the Kokiri Forest from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and many others.

Many creations are works in progress or mini-games ranging from puzzles, platformers, shooters, racing, and many more. Many of them also feel like tech demos that are often very nice to look at given the game’s art style. At some point, I just chose the Autosurf feature at the beginning to see what I would run into. The music and creativity blew my mind, even if some uploads were more for showcasing or listening to.

‘Vecta Majoris’: a Media Molecule created sci-fi spaceship shooter in Dreams
‘Vecta Majoris’: a Media Molecule created sci-fi spaceship shooter in Dreams /

To add onto what seems like a product with endless minigames, you can even (as of now) play with a second controller locally. Keep in mind that not all games are necessarily co-op or versus ready nor is it possible to link up with someone online. But that adds a whole extra layer of things to do if you have a friend or relative to play with.

Maybe you’re not like me and probably want to be on the more creative side of things. Dreams is perfect for people just like that, as the DreamShaping mode provides a workshop on how to use many of the creative tools provided in this game. You can create and customize such things as animations, effects, vehicles, instruments, characters, music, or just basically any element to make a whole scene or game of your own.

If you want to create something but don’t want to start from scratch, the game does allow you to add onto or modify pre-existing scenes and games to get a feel of how these Dreams are made. It’s a mode that I can get behind and can help me be creative. The only limit as it seems is what your mind and dedication can do at this point. It gives you almost anything at your disposal.

Keep in mind, this game is in early access, and there are some very intricate creations within this community already. Speaking of the community, there is a feature in this game called Community Jam where players and creators can submit original pieces to fit a weekly theme. It allows people who are indecisive of what to make to have a more narrow idea to work with.

Media Molecule
Media Molecule /

Past themes included things such as Chinese New Year, Bugs, Outer Space, Robots, and so forth. It doesn’t have to be a fully working game; it can simply be showing off a scene that encapsulates the theme. While people like me may be discouraged to partake in these events, the folks at Media Molecule encourage those even who have barely any creative experience with sandbox games or just creativity, in general, to give it a shot. This builds communities and forums dedicated to the game and its vast possibilities.

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On top of the multitude of possibilities this game has to offer, the loading times are nearly nonexistent. The only downtime in this game is deciding which creation to look at next or deciding what to build. Some things can be underwhelming or not your cup of tea, but with an active and dedicated community, there should be something to appeal to your liking.

For a game in early access, Dreams already seems well-polished. Sure, there may be some glitches in some creations from time to time, or the physics and controls can be a bit stiff, but so far things are looking very smooth. As of now, there is no online play other than just submitting your works, but that’s barely a gripe since this isn’t the final product.

For players who enjoy sandbox games like LittleBigPlanet or Minecraft, Dreams is a no-brainer that you should try for yourself.

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A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this Early Access preview. Click here to learn more about our policy.