The Dreamcatcher review: banish nightmares in this fun and fast-paced game

Mary-Anne Lee

The Dreamcatcher is an interesting gesture-based action game from Malaysia-based Sunnyside Interactive, a game company funded by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance-funded l337 accelerator. Players are dropped into a fantasy world where they must protect sleeping dreams from nightmares. At first glance, the cutesy art and the bright colour palette of the game might give you the impression that The Dreamcatcher is a simple children’s game.

As you play on, though, you’ll find that it’s anything but.

Gameplay

Click here to view the embedded video.

In Dreamcatcher, you destroy encroaching nightmares by drawing a circle around them. The game is playable only on the iPad, since the iPhone screen is definitely too small for such endeavors. Circles can be chained for greater damage, and attacks are given greater strength with weapons and abilities.

A comprehensive tutorial takes you through the basics of the game, after which you are unleashed into the world to protect sleeping dreams. As you progress, you unlock useful abilities such as a basic stun, or a shield against enemy projectiles. Weapons are also made available, and once equipped, can be combined with equipped abilities for some devastating combos. There are also different ways to deal with certain enemy attacks—and different enemies, it’s not all drawing circles.

Yet drawing circles is pretty much 90 percent of the game, since The Dreamcatcher belongs firmly in the action/arcade genre. This doesn’t mean that it gets repetitive or boring, though.

Factoring in the fun

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In spite of The Dreamcatcher’s simple premise, Sunnyside Interactive has managed to flesh it out into a real adventure. The characters’ personalities are likeable even though you see little of them, and while dialogue is not particular witty, it is at least sincere.

There are five worlds in The Dreamcatcher, each with five sub-worlds hosting eleven stages each. Stages scale in difficulty, but they never last so long as to tire you out from drawing all those circles. In the first world, each stage averaged just about a minute’s worth of gameplay.

Boss fights are noticeably longer and more difficult than ordinar levels. Bosses also have an arsenal of attacks, and require you to combine your different defenses, or gestures, to properly defend yourself. Special note must be given to the boss and monster designs; they are menacing yet cute, and are pretty impressive.

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The Dreamcatcher seems to be a game designed to be sped through. Transitions between levels are simple, with no text or unnecessary steps. Completing a stage rewards you with your score, one to three medals depending on the number of dreams you saved in that level, and then you are ushered on into the next one. There isn’t much of a story to follow, except for the main premise of the game—that you have to save dreams from nightmares.

While minimal text is great since the game’s true focus is the arcade gameplay, Sunnyside Interactive does take it a little too far with its minimalism. The start menu is not particularly friendly to new users, and the icons are not immediately recognizable, so you will have to hit each button to test it out before you can figure out what is going on. Once you cross that hurdle, though, the rest of the game is intuitive, and will pose no further problem.

Verdict: great fun!

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On a whole, The Dreamcatcher is a lovely game that’s fun to play. Its polished visuals are a great factor in its success, as are its sound effects. The Dreamcatcher’s background music isn’t particularly memorable, but boy, has it done its sound effects well. The audio-visual effects that accompany each circle attack makes for some super addictive gameplay and is definitely a highlight of the game, or possibility even a big contributor to its replayability.

The biggest kudos of all, though, must go to the game design. Sunnyside Interactive has managed to put together a simple yet engaging game accessible to all ages. The overall lack of text means even young children can play, and user-friendly instructions make it easy for players of all ages to understand what’s going on. I just wish they had improved on the start screen.

The Dreamcatcher is available worldwide for the iPad at $2.99.

The trailer embedded above says that the game is free. It’s not. But we do have a surprise coming! Check back on Friday.

The post The Dreamcatcher review: banish nightmares in this fun and fast-paced game appeared first on Games in Asia.


The post The Dreamcatcher review: banish nightmares in this fun and fast-paced game appeared first on Games in Asia.