Dreams is an unbelievably expansive creation game, wherein players can make and share their own games, experiences, and art with other players. Developed by Media Molecule, the same folks behind the LittleBigPlanet series, this PlayStation 4 exclusive offers a literally unlimited supply of both tools and existing content to enjoy. Luckily, Dreams is just as appealing for non-creative types as it is for creators. The current library of user-created content is baffling, offering literally thousands of hours of incredibly imaginative gameplay. There are no restrictions when it comes to what you can create in Dreams. Whether it’s a first-person shooter, an homage to a favorite classic game, or a remarkably original and unique experience, you’ll be able to make it and play it in Dreams.
How to Dream
When you remove the glitz, glamour, and gamification, Dreams is essentially a massive tool box for creation. Whether you want to make a simple game, sculpt an original character, or craft a relaxing diorama, you can accomplish that and more in Dreams. Truly speaking, your imagination is going to be one of the only roadblocks when it comes to creating in Dreams. If you can think it up, you can probably make it, as long as it’s not an MMO or virtual reality experience (at least not yet).
With that absolutely massive promise – the ability to create anything you can imagine – comes a plethora of tools for creation. There are systems for animation, game logic, audio, cinematics, and much more. Even the basic sculpting and coloring tools are incredibly expansive, offering a range of customization you would expect from a program like PhotoShop.
You interact with most of the menus and creation tools by using the motion controls, and while I normally despise the idea, everything feels quite intuitive. By guiding a fluffy cursor known as an Imp on-screen, you can easily rotate, scale, and handle elements with ease. There are multiple control schemes to try out, including PlayStation Move support that adds precision for things like painting, sculpting, and general creation assembly.
Luckily, Dreams comes absolutely jam-packed with tutorials. There are literally dozens of hours of interactive tutorials with full voice-overs and accompanying videos that teach you how to hone your craft. There’s an endless list of tutorials, including how to create custom music, how to properly light a scene, and so much more. Tutorials range from Beginner level difficulty all the way to Masterclass, slowly introducing you to the grander possibilities. I was impressed and somewhat overwhelmed by the pure quantity of tutorials in Dreams, and also the quality of them as well. A lot of the tutorials do much more than teach you how to do a task, but rather provide inspiration and tips on how to do that task more efficiently or with more creativity.
I Dream of Artie
As a way to show off just how robust Dreams is as a creation tool, Media Molecule created their own feature-length experience for players to enjoy. Titled “Art’s Dream”, this musical adventure tells the story of Art, a bassist who loses his way. As Art experiences a psychedelic journey and reflects on his memories, you’ll pull and prod the scenery using the Imp, jump between various characters, and play through a slew of genre-shifting gameplay sequences.
Art’s Dream is a remarkably refreshing and enjoyable experience, bursting with creativity and imagination. Like Dreams overall, Art’s Dream is hard to pin down to one genre. There are sequences where you’re guiding Art around the environment like a point ‘n click adventure, collecting items and making dialogue choices. Other times, you’ll dive deep into one of Art’s repressed memories, experiencing the worlds of his childhood imagination in the style of a 3D platformer.
To Dream is to Surf
If you’re not the creative type, spending hours upon hours honing your creation, you’ll likely spend most of your time in DreamSurfing. This is where all the user creations in Dreams are available to experience. Handy category filters and curated lists make it easy to find a creation of any type. A wide variety of tags are available, allowing you easily hone in on a sci-fi shooter, a fantasy platformer, or any other type of creation you’d like to see.
Generally speaking, you’re at the mercy of the Dreams community when you’re perusing the content in DreamSurfing. The aforementioned filtering and curation systems should point you in the direction of the best creations, so you don’t have to worry about enduring tons of poorly-made content while searching for the next best thing. While it’s true that Dreams has tons of spectacular user-created stuff to experience, there are plenty of lackluster creations as well.
Although Dreams has only been out for a few weeks, the DreamSurfing mode is chock-full of great games and creations to play. I have no doubt that the amount of good, original content will continue to grow in the coming months, especially as users begin to grasp the more nuanced features of the creative tools. I’ve already played some absolutely stunning user-creations, finding myself lost down a never-ending rabbit hole of new content. I’ll likely return to Dreams over and over again every few weeks, checking out the latest and greatest creations from the community.
The Bottom Line on Dreams
Not only is Dreams one of the most ambitious gaming titles to ever exist, but it’s also one of the most inspiring tools for creation available. Despite the massive amount of mechanics and features that accompany creation, the included tutorials make it easy for a newcomer to try their hand at crafting something fun. The included “Art’s Dream” creation by Media Molecule is an achievement in imaginative and creative game design, while the DreamSurfing platform continues to offer amazing content created by other users.
If you’re looking for a lengthy single-player campaign to lose yourself in, Dreams might be a bit disappointing. However, if you’re okay with embracing the unknown and trying new things, Dreams will surely satisfy. Even if you have no intention of making a creation of your own, Dreams offers an endless amount of entertaining gameplay, originality, and imagination. I’ve easily spent dozens of hours basking in the various creations that Dreams offers, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. If you’re a PlayStation 4 owner and you haven’t tried Dreams yet, you’re missing out on one of the best exclusives on the entire system. Do yourself a favor and pick it up, you’ll be glad you did.