Any iPad gamer will very likely be familiar with the first Unreal Engine-powered game for the iOS platform, Infinity Blade. The game which was a huge success set the bar high in terms of graphics and showcased what was possible on iOS devices. Six months after its release, we can now enjoy the second iOS game powered by the Unreal Engine.
More Than a Game
The creator behind Speedbump Studios, G. Norman Lippert describes Dream:scape as:
“…more than a game. It is more of a 3D novel, unraveled at the player’s pace and by their hand. It is an interactive narrative experience, an immersive exploratory environment, a haunting journey that will become your world.”
You won’t see a lot of action in this RPG but do expect a unique experience. In what is more of a mystery/adventure genre, you take on the role of Wilson who is a coma patient exploring his subconscious memories where you will unravel buried secrets from the past as you explore a desolate landscape.
A diary slowly fills up with old memories whenever you complete the discovery of a particular area of the dreamscape. Whilst the memories are only there to give you a story of Wilson’s life, the diary itself will serve as your route guide.
Inside the diary, locations are scribbled at the top of empty pages marked in the order that you need to follow along with. For example at the beginning of the game, the first blank page indicates that you have to locate “The Old Cabin” which is visible through the dried out crops from your starting point near the scarecrow. Upon reaching the cabin, you will find the door locked which is when you’ll hear your first hint alluding you to search for a hidden key. Once you have the key and enter the cabin, a look around inside garners you an item to help unlock the next location. Exiting the cabin through the second door completes the current task. This is indicated when the previously empty diary page is filled in with Wilson’s memory of that place. You will then continue on to the next destination.
The tasks/puzzles to unlock locations are not too overly complicated but there will be times throughout the game where you will inevitably go around in circles as some of the hints can be rather vague, leaving you to wander around on pure intuition. The in-game map where we found a missing building (supposedly smack in the middle) can be a bit frustrating but this blows over once you get your bearings. Luckily there is an official walkthrough available for those who are a bit impatient like us. You shouldn’t actually need it but if you’re stuck for too long, a bit of help is perhaps a good thing as the storyline develops really well especially midway through to the end which is where you want to get to.
Game play is simple enough to rapidly grasp and controls are pretty straightforward (one analog stick for movement, the other for view). This allows you to better appreciate what we think are the best qualities of Dream:scape; an intriguing storyline and the audio+visual experience it provides.
The graphics, while not as polished as Infinity Blade, is still beautiful and dynamic. Small details can be spotted such as leaves dropping from the trees when you walk in the forest.
The environment sound effects, melancholic soundtrack and hair raising character voices however are on a whole other level. We really liked how the audio elements were able to set the emotional mood of loneliness and despair throughout the game. This is definitely a game where you want to put on a pair of earphones/headphones to fully immerse yourself into an alternate reality. Be prepared to get chills and goosebumps.
Game duration was approximately 3-4 hours (not continuous) for us. Take into consideration that we referred to the walkthrough a few times and that we’re pretty slow
There are no varying patterns or levels of difficulty to the gameplay so you will probably not play the game again after you’ve completed it. Almost no replay value to speak of BUT you do unlock ‘Free Roam’ options after completion and we personally do see ourselves revisiting Dream:scape just to immerse ourselves into the haunting audio+visual experience which you can have a feel for in the following trailer:
Dream:scape is a beautiful game addition for the iOS platform and well deserving of being a featured app on iTunes.
If you were one of those who complained about the lack of a storyline in Infinity Blade, you will probably like this. If you enjoy games/experiences that can invoke your emotions, you will love this.
It’s dark. It’s melancholic. It gave us the chills. We like it. A must get.
Dream:scape by Speedbump
- Available on the App Store for $1.99 (approx. RM6)
*Prices are correct at the time of writing. Please review the price before purchase as it may have changed.