For anybody not already invested in Media Molecule's excellent creation suite, Dreams is sort of a hard sell. It's settled into its niche at this point, having found a dedicated community keeping things buoyant with a steady stream of fascinating new content. However, for anyone outside the bubble, it can be difficult to really grasp the true potential of the game. Just how good can a Dreams creation really be?
Well, the good news is that it's positively brimming with great stuff. In fact, we'd go so far as to say there are many games we've played in Dreams that are better than some "proper" titles available on PS Store. If you take a look at this PS4 exclusive and are wondering where all the top quality stuff is, trust us — it's there. Actually, let's show you. Here are five games made in Dreams that showcase some of the best the community has to offer.
What Alpine Dream lacks in terms of size, it more than makes up for with its gameplay. This is a score-attack snowboarding game in a similar vein to SSX, and it utilises responsive controls and no small sense of style to present simple, one-more-go descents. Mastering the trick system won't take too long, and the game's unique Aether tricks defy the laws of physics for a big payoff.
There are three main levels to conquer, each with multiple routes and score targets to beat. On top of toppling the scoreboards, there are skill points to find all over the place, and you can use these to build up stats like speed and airtime. Of course, your scores will really start to rack up once you're stats are heightened, and at that point it's all about besting your own scores — or your friends'. A pleasant, addictive good time.
Claustrofactory is what it sounds like: a factory-building game set in fairly tight, grid-based levels. Essentially, each level presents you with a factory, and it's your job to design the layout of the conveyor belts and other gizmos to get it all working. It can take a moment to get your head around all the gadgets available to you, but a thorough tutorial sets you on the right track.
You'll have materials coming in and will have to convert them to products before sending them out. While these types of games can get very complex very quickly, Claustrofactory keeps things relatively simple with only a few tools required. Laying down all the pieces is easy, and watching your successful factory reach the goal is always satisfying. Every level, even the tutorial stages, have optional time targets, encouraging you to make the most efficient factories possible. It's just a well-constructed little game that'll make your grey matter happy.
If you're into first-person puzzlers like The Witness and The Talos Principle, you'd definitely get a kick out of LOCK. It's perhaps a little more lateral than either of those, however; you need to pay close attention to your surroundings, hunting for clues in the environment. Each room of the house is a self-contained puzzle, with the solution being a four-letter word you type into each panel.
It's incredibly clever. At first glance, the rooms look bizarrely arranged, with unusual paraphernalia seemingly randomly placed. Of course, everything is where it is for a reason, and discovering LOCK's many secrets delivers that brilliant eureka feeling that only puzzle games can. A meticulously designed mystery box we highly recommend.
The Snowgardens is actually a follow-up to The Watergardens, which we'd also recommend, but we reckon this is HalfUp's better game. Both are atmospheric puzzle platformers with a wonderful, tilt-shift aesthetic. The cold, wintry lands of this cute adventure have a unique style, and combined with the gentle music, it has a great sense of place.
Controlling a tiny character, your job is to explore a series of small islands in search of colourful relics. Once found, these items need to be brought to specific places, and doing so will open up new pathways. All you can really do is run, jump, and pick up and throw small objects, but there's just enough to this game to keep you going to the end. If you like indie games with a peaceful, low-fi energy, The Snowgardens may be worth a look.
There are a lot of great examples of 3D platformers in Dreams, as on a basic level, they're relatively straightforward to make. The best of the bunch, in our opinion, has got to be Trip's Voyage. You play as the titular Trip, a cute little sailor cat whose moveset takes unmistakable inspiration from Mario's 3D outings. What tips this over the edge, though, is its feel — Trip's precise movement and the responsive controls are legitimately fantastic. Run around the opening beach location for a minute and you'll understand.
It isn't just the controls that are well designed, either. There are currently four increasingly large, open-ended levels, and they're all a joy to explore. The aforementioned beach serves as a lovely primer before you head to a tropical island, then a snowy tundra, and finally a sprawling desert. Each is full of
Power Stars Anchors to collect, characters to meet, and challenges to beat, and it's all presented with Nintendo-like charm. It's imaginative, adorable, and pure fun.
This is just a handful of examples, but hopefully you can see there's plenty of top quality stuff made by the Dreams community. Before we sign off, we'd like to point out that creating groundbreaking, top-of-the-line games is not the point of Dreams. It exists so people can create anything they like. It's an outlet, not a competition. That people are able to make such high quality games within it is impressive (especially as most of them are not game designers by trade), but there is value in everything made in Dreams — yes, even the weird meme stuff. It's about giving people a new, interesting way to express themselves, and that's what makes it so valuable and so worthwhile.
That being said, what are some of your favourite creations in Dreams? Tell us in the comments section below.