Gaming has come a long way in past years from going from PC to console, then to portable console. Now we have mobile gaming which is in itself moving forward in leaps and bounds. Now not only can you get emulators for the consoles of yesteryear but there is also high quality games being developed specifically for mobile devices.
Dream:scape is the latest addition to the iOS app store to use the Unreal game engine. It has a lot to live up to especially when you look at Infinity Blade which was a runaway success and also developed using Unreal technology.
When you first get started with Dream:scape you’ll notice how bizarre the game is with very little help. You are in a strange world revealed by an unnamed scarecrow to be your dreamscape. Neither alive nor dead you set out with your journal into the open world to try and piece together memories and work out why you are there. The controls can be a bit awkward at times with the virtual joysticks sometimes not appearing when you first touch the screen and this can soon become very tiresome.
The game plays well, on the whole, but has been experiencing some crashing issues on iPad. To avoid this, a simple restart of the device seems to do the trick in the majority of cases–but for some instances it has made the game unplayable on several occasions. There is however now an update which appears to solved most peoples issues. As you move around you will notice how beautiful the environment actually is but there are flaws in the scenery. A lot of the time as you approach areas which look lovely from afar they will begin to seem flat and blurred.
During your time in the dreamscape you will head to multiple areas including a barn, clubhouse and even an airport still as you remember them from your younger years when you were growing up. If you try to head down to the lake marked on your map then you will be forced back by a disembodied ordering you to “Go away”. There are other obstacles blocking your way to locations ranging from a vulture to a dog to a driverless car; all of these have ways of getting past by using an item. As you progress however you will have to swipe the screen to defeat some enemies and this is the games undoing. The interface for this is horrible and immensely temperamental with you telling yourself over and over that you made it, you probably did, despite some people saying try it on the bottom left, right or where the arrow appears there is no rhyme or reason to it working or not.
The story the game paints is a good one, but it is very short. Had the controls not been so horrible I’d have got maybe two hours out of it instead of three. It tells the story of you, your best friend and the girl you both love. But this isn’t some crappy, forties style romcom–the tale leads through to tell of betrayal and insanity with the culmination ending with you being forced into the dreamscape of a crazy man. This second dreamscape is short lived but noticeably different to your own with all the same places remembered but they are distorted along a single track. However bizarre it is, it does show off its graphical capabilities well.
Overall, as an independent project which seems to have been a one man show with help from a few friends, the story is fun and really, that’s what it is–more interactive story than game. But it’s far from Heavy Rain and could have been improved with a longer storyline which I hope to see in future updates.
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- Well-structured story
- A nice change especially with the way the game sets the moods of the characters
- Good environment to be walking around
- Far too short
- Some graphics look terrible up close
- Horrible interface for some of the interactive parts within the game
Dream:scape is available now for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad from the apple app store.