Dream:scape – An Experience Unlike Any Other

3.5 Overall Score
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Design: 3.5/5
Length: 4/5

Unique and interesting storyline | More than game; an expereince

Poor controls | Tedious and boring stretches | Can be frustrating for some

Game Info

APP NAME: Dream:scape

DEVELOPER(S): Speedbump Studios

GENRE(S): Adventure, Book

RELEASE DATE(S): June 9th, 2011

With so many apps released every day, it’s tough to stand out, but Dream:scape definitely does. The app is classified as a game, but is more of an interactive story where you play as the main character delving into memories. You play as Wilson who is presumably in a coma, and is now navigating the Dream:scape within his own mind. You progress through his memories by finding certain tools to clear away the memory blockers. You begin to unravel the mystery of Wilson to discover his past, and how he ended up in a hospital bed.

As soon as you begin the story, you’ll be hooked to go through the entire thing to discover the ending. It’s an experience unlike any other as you search and uncover clues from all the places in the Dream:scape. You’re given Wilson’s diary, and you go to the locations in the order they appear in the diary. Once at a location, a photograph appears on screen, and you need to find the location and item in the photograph to unlock the next stage. Once you do, you hear whispers of the past, and the diary page is filled out to flesh out more of the story.

While you’re in the game you definitely feel the creepy theme, and you are connected to the story more than any other for iOS. There are a few obstacles to prevent a smooth experience. First off, it’s not always clear what to do which is nice in a sense without having everything spelled out in front of you. You will become lost from time to time, but thankfully there is a guide on the developer’s site in case you’re extremely stuck.

You know which place to go to next, but the old photograph clues aren’t always clear. You’re given a short glimpse without many markers indicating where you can find this item. For example, you see a key in a very dark place, and you don’t know where to go looking for it. You can’t recall the clue photos, so you simply have to remember every detail of them. After you find one or two, you begin to realize that the items will be close by, and they will lead you in a logical order based on how it’s laid out in the diary. With all that said, it can be discouraging and frustrating to some users.

The control scheme is another problem as it’s very clunky. There are virtual sticks to move your character and camera angle, but they’re not very responsive. The controls disappear until needed, and can move based on where you place your fingers. The game has a tough time recognizing if you’re using the joystick, or trying to move the controls. You have to be extremely deliberate with your actions, and even then you just need to keep trying until the game gets your actions right. There are also context sensitive actions for swiping in different directions, and you’ll need to input these multiple times to be properly recognized.

The view controls aren’t smooth either, and overall really hamper the experience. As you’re navigating the Dream:scape you do need to walk for quite awhile just going through the motions. It’s extremely tedious and boring walking back and forth between locations. For example, you walk to the bridge only needing to go back to the church to get an item to go back to the bridge. The open world environment is neat, but there just isn’t much filling that open world.

Dream:scape provides 30 acres of open world exploration, and it’s all rendered with the Unreal engine. The graphics are definitely good, but not up to the standard set by Infinity Blade, which uses the same engine. There are a number of environmental elements that are flat, and others that are blocky. The lighting effects are great, and overall the graphics keep you immersed in the overall experience. The soundtrack fits the mystery and creepy theme, and then there is all the quality whispering voice acting.

Dream:scape ($1.99, Universal) is an intriguing experience that is definitely worth playing through. The game isn’t without its problems, and there are quite a few that really hamper the overall enjoyment. The story that you uncover is so interesting as you go through it, and so memorable that you’ll put up with practically anything.

Dream:scape could use a number of refinements, but is an experience not to be missed.


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