Dreams Review: A game creation tool with seemingly no limits

Journey through an endless realm of user-created scenarios ranging from games, music, 3D renders, small movies, and still works of art.

Title: Dreams
Developer: Media Molecule
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Release date: February 14, 2020

From the development studio who brought us the LittleBigPlanet series, Dreams is fully out of its early access stage. Much like LBP, it is essentially a sandbox creation tool where players can take the helm in most aspects of their playthrough. This isn’t to say the developers threw things together for players to tinker with and called it a day. It’s much more than that.

Dreams is a game that encourages players to unleash their creativity, link with others, and sift through ideas that even I couldn’t fathom. That’s the beauty of the game, other than the vividly colorful visuals and sounds provided in the intros and preset creations. This game utilizes the motion functions of the DualShock 4 and the PlayStation Move (if you have it).

‘Play, create, and share’ is the name of the game.

You can play through the plethora of creations uploaded by the various talented players in Dreams. This is where people like me will spend a good chunk of their time in the game. I’m not the most creative type to really see anything spectacular through, especially when there are people out there creating their own universes in the Dreamiverse. It’s fun and inspiring to see what people come up with.

Since the early access days, there have been so many notable creations to behold like Cuphead and even a test field level to simulate how a 3D Cuphead game would feel. There are also other renders of many iconic video game characters that would never see the light of day on a Sony console that can be used and viewed by other players. I just hope that there won’t be any legal copyright issues because of this.

The creation aspect of this game is almost limitless. Better yet, Dreams has several in-depth tutorials on how to use every feature in the Dream Shaping mode. From creating your own objects or working on preexisting works or creating your own sounds and animations, there is a tutorial for that. They’re easy to follow and provide incentives such as giving you more tools and customization options at your disposal.

Dreams

Media Molecule

The motion controls and some snapping of items to get them just right can be a hindrance at first. Luckily after spending more time and getting well-acquainted with how building controls work, it’s all smooth sailing from there. It might be a tedious task to get through the tutorials but it’s nice that they are there if you really have an itch for creativity but need to learn the ropes.

The sharing aspect of this game feels like if social media trimmed all the negative out of it and made it a nice hub to share thoughts and comments about creations. Dreams encourages players who create things to share their creations to the Dreamiverse⁠.

The sharing expands further to periodic events called Community Jams where a theme is decided. People submit their creations based around the theme and the community— whether its other players and creators ⁠— vote for their favorite picks. These people have really upped their ante since the early access days because these creations are becoming more and more impressive than in earlier events. Kudos to the makers for their creativity.

Media Molecule

Most people should start at the Dream Surfing mode after the introductory sequence and try out the story mode created by the folks at Media Molecule. Titled Art’s Dream, involving elements of most gaming genres blended into an interactive story fittingly unfolded through the dreams and woes of the protagonist— Art. The story is on the shorter side compared to other games, but it’s supposed to showcase what people can do with the Dreams engine.

You can’t copy this creation and deconstruct its assets to see how it’s made, but throughout the playthrough, you can collect several collectibles in it to add to your toolkit. I’m hoping that with time, there are impactful stories and worlds like this created by other users. I’ve seen a lot of original concepts and works in progress while Dreamsurfing so only time will tell.

Of course with Dream Surfing, after sifting through many projects, you’re bound to run into many clones, half-baked ideas, and just plainly broken things. That comes with any game that is based around user-uploaded content. However, these experiences didn’t hinder my overall experience or overall impression of Dreams.

I previously covered this game in a preview piece that you can find here. Much of the praise given still holds true even today. Whether you like games where the world is seemingly your oyster like LittleBigPlanet or Minecraft, Dreams, as I said back then, is a no-brainer to get.

Dreams

Media Molecule

9

Dreams is a game that allows the player to explore a network of so many ideas—  new and old. It’s something that with time will only get better, especially when online play and VR will eventually be in it. This is a game for the creatives, the casuals, the curious, and anything else. Media Molecule has created something that sets the bar for creation tool engines and sandbox games.

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