The graphical point and click / puzzle-adventure genre of video games has certainly had its share of hit games over the years. Titles like those in the Myst series were extremely popular during the mid-90‘s on the PC platform and set the standard for any similar games that would follow. The genre still sees a steady flow of releases, particularly in the PC market, but rarely do the titles make as many waves in the industry as Myst and others did back during those times. During those couple of years, the graphical adventure was “the” genre of game to play. The mentality of the mainstream gamer has changed though in the years since; most players seek games with infinite or at least extensive replay value and often frown upon titles that offer a brief, straight forward gameplay experience, regardless of the quality offered during that experience. That doesn’t stop companies from making them though and it also doesn’t stop the genre’s fans from buying those titles. One of those titles is KatGames’ Dream Chronicles.
Dream Chronicles was originally released on the PC back in 2007 and was heralded by numerous publications and industry figures for its achievements in the genre. The game spent quite a bit of time at the top of numerous game charts such as MSN Games and Pogo. The game would go on to spawn numerous sequels that have spanned across numerous platforms including the PC, iPhone, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation 3. Hudson has recently brought the original, now classic PC game to a new audience with a release on the PlayStation Network.
The game puts players in the midst of a fairy tale of sorts; Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, has cast a sleeping spell on the entire town in order to abduct a young fairy named Fidget. While he was being taken, Fidget left a string of clues to lead his wife Faye (the player) on a quest to find and rescue him as well as lift the spell keeping the entire town of Wish asleep. During the course of your adventure, you will not only track down your missing husband, but also discover the secrets he and his family have been hiding from you for years.
Players assume the role of Faye, a mortal woman, who awakens to find herself trapped in her bedroom and her significant other missing. Using a cursor that is controlled with the left analog stick, you will need to closely examine the room and everything in it for clues and tools to help you solve the puzzles and riddles left for you by Fidget and open the passageway(s) to the next area. This same mechanic is used throughout the entire game, using a wide range of puzzles that range in complexity and length. Some puzzles are short and sweet, while others will be drawn out into multiple parts and require you to do more than one to reach a single goal. Nearly all of them require the same thing though: a keen eye and deductive reasoning.
The game and its premise are simple and the story is a rather entertaining one, but unfortunately some of the execution within those details makes for an extremely frustrating experience in the long run. There are a couple of puzzles throughout the game that either don’t make much sense in terms of their solution or fail to give you enough information to solve on your own. For example, on section requires you to place a series of fallen books back in their appropriate categories within a library. The puzzle sounds simple enough until you realize that a couple of the books just don’t make sense in the category where they are assigned. Can someone please explain to me what “Red Hot Tips from Time in a Volcano” has to do with travel? In the end, this puzzle and a couple of others, force the player to resort to simply guessing and hoping for the right answer. This takes away any enjoyment and satisfaction of solving a puzzle using your own skill.
A similar frustration can be had with an earlier puzzle that requires you to find a key buried in a yard, only this one is caused by an unresponsive cursor / control system. The cursor of the game is ridiculously slow... to the point where gameplay often becomes monotonous.
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