Dreams was announced 7 years ago at PlayStation Meeting alongside the PlayStation 4 in 2013.
It is Media Molecule’s most ambitious project to date since the first Little Big Planet and the wait has absolutely been worth it. Dreams has the perfect title-it’s an amazing toolset for creating games and is presented like a “dreamscape”, it’s the culmination of dreams from the developers who worked on it, and it will inspire the creative dreams of everyone who plays it.
Game Name: Dreams Platform(s): PlayStation 4 Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Media Molecule
Release Date: February 14th, 2020
The process behind creating within Dreams has been updated as of launch to be more of a game than it was before. There is now a single-player story developed by Media Molecule themselves called “Art’s Dream”, which tells the tale of a jazz musician who has recently broken up with his band. It’s basically an entire indie game within Dreams and hops between multiple different genres, showing what’s possible within the engine.
Also included in the day one update are trophies and most importantly, a TON of tutorials and quests that encourage you to create and learn. With the closed beta ensuring player-made content at launch, Media Molecule has also ensured that most of their player base will stay engaged and learning-including a “Dreamer” like myself who couldn’t quite get the hang of basic things like connecting 3D objects at first.
The crux of creation in Dreams is Edit Mode-simply pressing Square opens up a list of modes and basic functions you can create with. There are also button combinations that make opening menus and navigating within a 3D space by using a controller more simple-like holding L1 or R1 to move along an X or Y-axis respectively. Highlighting an icon in the menu for a few seconds also opens up a window that explains what something does-very useful if you’ve forgotten what something does or if you’re just confused.
The various modes the game includes help compartmentalize the process step by step to make it less confusing. Entering the Sculpt Mode allows you to mess with different shapes and edit them while giving you basic 3D shapes like spheres and cubes as the building blocks. Paint Mode lets you change the colors of objects. “Fleck” Mode lets you apply patterns and textures to objects or paint. There’s also an Effects Mode that adds animations to your flecks, like adding bubbles or waves to water. Lastly, there’s a Sound mode for creating music and sound effects and a Test Mode for testing your project-which includes playing a game, listening to music you made, or watching an animated scene you created to play out.
That’s a TON of information to take but don’t worry; How the creation process is taught and streamlined is incredibly efficient with tutorials being a part of quests and lessons essentially being this game’s objectives. What I personally struggled with was creating characters, but the game breaks up that progress step-by-step and includes video tutorials in-game that play in a small window while you’re in control. By the end, I understood the process very well and the areas I struggled with were rewarded by simply spending time with the game and consistently accomplishing small tasks. What I take away from this is that your time is never wasted in Dreams. You’re always accomplishing something even if you can’t put what’s in your head in the game.
Another thing I love about Dreams is that it includes those who may not want to create but just enjoy other creations. If creating games, art, or music doesn’t interest you, then there’s still a massive and growing library of creations for you to enjoy. I’ve played various original games created in Dreams, including entire series like Pig Detective-An original series, consisting of choosing your own adventure games set in a universe with talking animals.
Other creations I’ve seen were third-person action games, first-person shooters, 2D and 3D platformers, puzzle games, recreated intros for Final Fantasy 7 and Super Smash Bros. Melee, fan-made sequels to Silent Hill,Sonic the Hedgehog, and so much more.
Dreams is an incredible experience that’s constantly growing and making the effort to include the player.
An incredible tool set for learning various artistic fields
Gorgeous and charming presentation
A fun and rewarding learning process that can thoughtfully teach players of all skill levels
The lack of mouse and keyboard support and dependency on a controller can creating a frustrating experience