Dreams provides players with a toolset with which to make more or less anything they please, but as with any creative medium, a blank canvas can be the most daunting thing of all. It's why one of the game's best ongoing features is the community jam, which provides everyone with a theme, and a deadline to make something that fits the brief. It gives you a starting point, which sometimes is all you need. Themed events build from this idea, providing users with a core concept and some basic templates. The end results of these collaborative efforts are some of the best parts of Dreams, and that's again proven to be the case with All Hallows' Dreams: Ghost Train.
Live in the game right now, this new, Halloween-themed event is another joint work between developer Media Molecule and the game's dedicated community. Users have created some spooky treats and the studio has sewn it all together in a cohesive and engaging way.
You arrive at Horror Junction, a small area that sets the tone for the rest of the event. Here, the inhabitant of a caravan informs you they've been transformed into a large spider, and it's up to you to discover how to break the curse. It's simple, but the task provides a purpose to the whole thing, and promises some spooky Imps as rewards, giving you some motivation to explore the event in search of clues.
At the junction, you can change your avatar between six creepily cute characters. They're all great, but our favourite is the zombie, who's brain not only has a face all its own, but it bobs up and down as you run about, which is just delightful. You'll also see the Carnival of Curiosities, which is the gateway to the remainder of the event.
Before we get onto the community's efforts, it should be noted how wonderful Media Molecule's work on the hub world is. The carnival is an awesome area, balancing spookiness with a family-friendly tone perfectly. The visual style and music in particular combine to create a fun atmosphere that has just the right level of creepiness in the mix. It's a space you'll just want to soak in.
A pair of tents contain some neat mini-games to enjoy while you're there, too. On the left are some targets to shoot — good practice for what's to come — and on the right you'll find some more involved challenges. A pinball machine, Halloween arcade game, claw crane, and strength test all play how you'd expect, and while they might not hold your attention for hours, they're well made and fun distractions from the main event.
The Lostsleep Gardens are where you'll find the first of the event's community creations, in the form of sculpted pumpkins and custom scarecrows. It's fun walking through each area and taking a look at all of these, which range from hilarious and adorable to impressive and genuinely creepy. Everyone has their own spin on the humble pumpkin and scarecrow, and it's great to see them all on display.
The main attraction is the titular Ghost Train, of course. Split into two trains accessed from the carnival, it's in these on-rails rides where the community really flexes its muscles. After choosing a track, you'll go through a series of user-made areas one after the other. Many will have targets to shoot with your Imp as you pass through, while some are purely an audiovisual ride. While the quality of each space naturally varies, overall we're left very impressed.
You might be passing through a spooky graveyard one minute, and the next you could be descending into a fiery pit filled with cutesy spiders. Some creators have turned the shooting gallery gameplay into a rhythm shooter, while others have used the ghost train to tell creepy stories. One even recounts the grisly tale of Burke and Hare. The variety, as always, is fantastic, but every part of the two rides is fun to go through. Full of great comedic moments as well as some super creepy creations, it's a well-balanced experience the community can be proud of.
Best of all is that All Hallows' Dreams: Ghost Train is super-accessible. It's currently included in the ever-shifting Dreams free demo, so you don't even need to own the full game to give it a look. Fans of PlayStation VR will be pleased to know that it's mostly playable with Sony's headset as well, if you want to really immerse yourself in the scares. If you're looking to get into the Halloween spirit, are curious how Dreams is coming along, or both, we can't really recommend Ghost Train enough.
Have you played All Hallows' Dreams: Ghost Train yet? Will you be checking it out on PS5, PS4, and PSVR this month? Tickets please in the comments section below.