Monday, 24 June 2019

Dreams PS4 Early Access - The First Few Hours (A ReadItDaddy Game Review)

Creative little souls that we are here at ReadItDaddy, we're instantly drawn to anything that promises to unleash the power of our imaginations.

Though C and I don't actually get a lot of time to play videogames, when we do we're always looking for stuff that allows you to put your own personal 'stamp' on something. C is quite obsessive about MineCraft when she's allowed to spend some time with it, but I'd had my eye on Media Molecule's "Dreams" for a long time, probably as far back as when it was first announced aeons ago.

So now the Early Access version of dreams is available, and despite it costing you £24.99, there's the promise that you'll get the 'full' version once that goes live (given that the boxed cost of Dreams is currently £54.99 it's a bit of a no brainer to get it now, get in early, and get it cheaper, surely?)

So what the hootin' heck is Dreams? For those of you familiar with Media Molecule's quirky legacy, they're the studio behind the superb "Little Big Planet" series, and the mildly entertaining "Tearaway". A studio who love the power of your imagination so much, they're prepared to spend years crafting a set of tools to literally bring your dreams to life. Well, sort of...

Connie, the cone, and a tutorial level. Damn, how we miss the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry in these though!
In "Dreams" you start the game by selecting a sprite who will be your controlling character throughout the game. With this handy little scribbly pointer character you're able to control the game's various settings, creation tools, characters and menus.

Like LittleBigPlanet, it's deceptively easy to start tinkering around, making a mess as you go, but there's an extensive set of tutorials in Dreams to get you up and running with most of the creative bits and bobs you'll need to start building...something.

So what CAN you make in Dreams Early Access? The simple answer seems to be just about anything, as Early Access also includes access to the Dreams Community, and the creations of other folk who have far more disposable time on their hands than we do. C fell hopelessly in love with a game that is all about being a cat, causing as much havoc as possible in a house, before embarking on some Cat Karting! Needless to say, so much work has been put into this little game that it was well worth giving it a thumbs up (the Dreams equivalent of a "Like").

Fancy knocking up a stylish and moodily lit street scene in 3D? You can, once you master the tools!
So far we've probably spent around 4-5 hours playing with this and we've barely scratched the surface. It's like a cross between Blender, ProCreate, Little Big Planet and Z-Brush all mashed together into something that at its heart shares some of the mechanics of LBP, but more of a free-form creative pot-pourri of tools that could (and emphasis on the *could*) elicit the most amazing results.

We were buzzing with ideas that, sadly, will probably never come to pass. Not because of the sheer complexity of this once you dig deeper into the multitude of tweak menus and tools, but because even doing the simplest bit of modelling saw hours disappear as we twisted, turned and manipulated our controllers to try and beat Dreams into submission.

But for those of you who have the sort of disposable time on your hands to build Ankgor Wat in Minecraft, you're going to find Dreams almost impossible to resist. We keep thinking that this would be the ideal platform for storytelling as there are more than enough tools in there to allow you to produce totally absorbing story worlds and characters - so we'll be keeping a close eye on that aspect of Dreams for sure.

Sum this game up in a sentence: A sprawling and extensive set of creation tools allowing you to truly unleash the power of your imagination, if you've got acres of time on your hands.

"Dreams" Early Access is currently available from the PSN Store for Playstation 4. The full game will be released sometime during August 2019 (Self Purchased - Not provided for review)