Arts video game review

Let your dreams come true

Play, create, and share in this game for making games

Developed by Media Molecule
Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment
Available on PS4

Dreams is not your standard video game. There is no core gameplay loop, no concrete objectives, and no well-defined genre. If you were to repeatedly walk by someone that was playing it, you might think that they were playing a different game every time. This is because Dreams is a game in which you can make other games. If that sounds ridiculous and hard to believe, it’s because it absolutely is, but in the best way possible. With Dreams, Media Molecule has put out a title that is both ambitious and boundary-breaking, providing nearly infinite content and making for one of the most unique gameplay experiences to date.

Dreams comes in two parts, Dream Surfing and Dream Shaping. With Dream Shaping, players can not only create self-contained games, but audio and visual showcases as well. This is done with an extremely fleshed-out editor where players can sculpt, paint, create music, edit logic, make cutscenes, and more. After completing a creation, players can share their work with others, which leads to Dream Surfing. While surfing, players can look for games to play, art to view, or music to listen to. For those that have played LittleBigPlanet, Media Molecule’s earlier series, this general format will be familiar. However, Dreams takes the developer’s “play, create, share” ideology to a completely new level.

I focused mostly on surfing during my time with Dreams. And let me tell you, never have I experienced so much variety and genuine awe when playing a video game. While playing, it is hard to believe that all of the content is produced right within the game. Many creations could be their own titles on other game platforms. One moment I was controlling a godzilla-like monster, trying to destroy as much of a city as I could to score as many points as possible; the next, I was the hero of an hour-long RPG with an intricate combat system, detailed enemies, and original music.

Surfing is made immensely easy thanks to a well-done discovery system. As one might imagine, there is extensive content, but Dreams does a fantastic job of helping the player find what they want (even if they don’t know what that is). You can search by tag, browse trending dreams, or even “autosurf” to get a helping of creations that Dreams believes you will like.

I briefly checked out the creation side as well. It comes off as easy to pick up but difficult to master. There is an extensive set of tutorials provided within the game, which greatly facilitates learning. For example, there were seven tutorials on different ways to move the camera around. There are countless more instructions for things like creating characters, tweaking settings, and making gameplay logic. One could very easily get lost within the toolset, working to craft and perfect their vision.

All content in the game is user-created, with the exception of a few levels provided by the developers (which were also made within Dreams itself). The game has been out for less than a month, and there is already more to explore than one could fit in a lifetime. Creators are just beginning to understand the capabilities of the tools, meaning creations are only getting better and better. Dreams also has various ways of inspiring makers, such as creation themes every week and the Oscar-like IMPY Awards every year. Practically speaking, this means that those that like to focus on playing won’t run out of content anytime soon.

Dreams is already incredibly interesting, and promises to become more interesting as time goes on. Whether you are an experienced gamer or an aspiring creator, there is something for everybody to explore. With an almost unlimited potential, Dreams stands out as one of the most original games yet.