Review: Dreams – Creator Early Access (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required
  • Move Optional (2)
Title: Dreams – Creator Early Access
Format: PSN Download (2.34 GB)
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Media Molecule
Original MSRP: $29.99 (USD), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI Rating: 12
Purchased by the Reviewer.
PS Nation Review Policy

Two-thousand two-hundred. That was the number of words in my last draft of this review and I could just as easily sum it up in just over twenty:

Dreams has surpassed every expectation to become not only my game of the generation but my favorite game of all time.

I could quite easily waffle on for at least four-thousand words and thought I was quite restrained but a few people did look upon the last draft and considered it a daunting prospect. So I resigned to the idea of starting from scratch and making it a nice a simple review.

Gameplay:
I have two daughters, and one loves to play games; she is often the Player of the Game in Overwatch and discovering new things in LEGO Worlds. My other daughter loves drawing and creating things and will occasionally make something in Minecraft or TikTok on her mobile.

So Dreams is perfect for them. One can just play other people’s creations while the other can delve into the creative aspect. Easy to learn examples and tutorials, complete with helpful in-game videos, can make a creator out of anyone.

I finally found the perfect use for the Move controllers, once I got over the short learning curve for these amazing devices, in part thanks to yet another useful set of tutorials. Movement in the 3D space is sublime and very natural; they quickly became my preferred choice when creating. I still kept the standard controller handy when testing out a level or building some gadgets.

The menus appear as if placed on an invisible painter’s palette affixed to a Move controller, allowing for quick access with the other. It works exceptionally well. Not only that but the clever boffins at Media Molecule worked out that they can also perform some commands by tapping parts of the controllers together. It all combines to make an ingenious and natural control method that simply works.

Some people cannot use the motion controls, or just prefer a standard scheme. Well, Media Molecule is working on it, along with adding VR and online multiplayer. Oh, and Trophies too. There’s no rest for these talented developers and there is so much in the pipeline.

Many of you will remember the countless Level and Character Packs that came out for the LBP games. Well, MM is doing the same with this game. The Ancient Times pack is a series of themed elements and two characters. There are three example scenes made with the elements and the quality is exceptionally high. Being able to peer behind the curtain and examine how these things were put together is a wonderful learning experience.

This first pack is a wonderful idea of how different future add-ons and expansions could be. Just imagine a Marvel or Ghostbusters pack, complete with characters and props for everyone to easily put together their own levels or movies. These packs don’t need to be confined to the same style as the LBP games.

Visuals:
These next two sections of the review will be different for everyone as Dreams is all about giving people the freedom to create and play whatever they want. An easy to understand interface allows anyone to navigate the Dreamiverse and find things that interest them.

Media Molecule has surpassed my expectations in every department, but what marvels me is that everything is so accessible and friendly with a refined and succinct structure. With so many features that would be daunting in any other development software but here it becomes so unobtrusive, it just allows me to get on with things.

It’s tough to comment on the visuals properly as, apart from the menus and imps, every person’s creations will look different. It’s just better to watch, so here’s an old video from when Early Access started.

The overall visual style of the interface and imps are simple and family-friendly. What people have been creating is a mixture of every style and theme you can imagine. I have yet to see anything too grown-up or displeasing. It would seem the phallic shapes and other things have been kept private or removed by the moderators before I even noticed them. Anything can easily be reported and I would happily let my kids play without fear of scaring them.

Audio:
Dreams has a complete music and effects studio built-in, with the ability to record from any compatible mic and even the PS4 Camera, meaning any character could have speech or homemade sound effects. The tools at hand are impressive and the ease at which tracks can be cobbled together is stunning.

I have messed around with some music studio software in the past and nothing comes close to the power and simplicity this studio affords. Most won’t delve into the intricacies Dreams has available, which is fine as there is already plenty of sound effects, instruments, and music to keep the creators going.

Online/Multiplayer:
Depending on the game, up to four players can join in, but most are suited to a single person. I have even noticed creators messing around with split-screen functionality.

Online multiplayer is in the works and there is talk of being able to create together too, which is a very exciting prospect. I’m in the process of creating a local multiplayer game and already have the characters and cars match the color of the player’s DualShock. I even have the little horn sounds emanate from the controller’s speaker.

Conclusion:
For the gamers who will never touch any of the creative aspects in Dreams, you will continually find things that will astound you. From simple little puzzle games to RPGs, this has it all. Given enough time, the ever-growing number of dreamers will make something you enjoy and maybe give you that little nudge to create something of your own.

Dreams has surpassed every expectation to become not only my game of the generation but my favorite game of all time. It makes Little Big Planet feel archaic. Every inch of the creative tools and mechanics have been honed to perfection allowing all types of people to grasp the controls and craft more than they ever thought possible.

Dreams has not only changed my perspective on games and other forms of entertainment but will undoubtedly change the industry as we know it. By making everything so easy to understand after mere minutes of teaching my daughter has become a little games developer.

Media Molecule has made something incredibly inventive and lets a large majority of gamers discover their own untapped passion for creation. Dreams is the perfect place to play all of these wonderful things that would otherwise remain locked in the creator’s mind without ever finding an outlet.

Being able to remix other people’s creations while still giving them ownership allows everyone to benefit and learn. Nothing feels impossible anymore and my dreams can finally be realized. Dreams is something very special indeed and not only needs to be in everyone’s collections but needs to have a place in the curriculum.

Score:
10

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook