For the past 3 years Dream Chronicles has enjoyed success on the PC and mobile devices and now makes its way to home consoles through XBox Live by developer KatGames. Is this hidden object game a dream that makes you smile or a nightmare you want to forget?
At its core, Dream Chronicles is a hidden object game with a good dose of logic puzzles, spanning 18 chapters which tells a compelling and charming tale of fairy magic. The story opens with our heroine Faye waking from a sleep spell that has affected the entire population of Wish Town. Guided by her husbands diary, Faye follows his clues on a path of discovery which reveals some quite unexpected traits of her husband and and his family.
Each chapter is presented like any seek and find game, a static picture of a room or area with a number of items secreted through in the world that often need to be collected and used to open the next area. Each chapter starts with a brief from her husbands (Fidget) diary, pointing the player in the right direction. For the most part the actions to be performed are simple enough, however the player is able to zoom, or take a step into image slightly and look around, this adds a great element of depth as the viewer is able to look behind the scenery. The puzzles which are also included in certain chapters are a great change of pace and never repeated, ranging from calculating the weight of objects to memorising notes to be played on a piano.
At first controls feel slow, as this game started on the PC the user is directing all of the action with a cursor, something which is easy to get wrong while using a control pad. However the game does a good job with the momentum of the cursor movement along with the ability to toggle through inventory items using the bumpers. However be warned that the precise movements can become frustrating for a casual gamer.
With all 18 chapters, the areas themselves are beautiful, an issues I’ve had in other seek and find games has often been that the items to be sought have zero reason to be there. However with Dream Chronicles, everything felt natural. The world itself and charming story is helped along its way by a very simple and perfectly matched soundtrack, the sort of soundtrack which you don’t mind hearing over and over again while you hunt methodically for the last item.
Aside from the story being told through the game, each level also has an amount of Dream Pieces to be found which can be tracked through Fidget’s diary, each one slowly building up to recreate a set of jewelry. While this doesn’t have any impact on the game play itself, it does work as a great excuse to play through again.
At the end of the game, the player is scored based on the time they took and the Dream Pieces they collected allowing players to complete in speed runs. There is even achievements for completing the game in under 25 or 30 minutes. Not quite as easy as it sounds as a lot of the puzzles change around, you might know what you have to do, but you still have to do it quickly.
Rounding the experience off is the co-operative mode, something new for me when it comes to seek and find games with support for both online and local co-op. Each player controls their own coloured cursor with only player one being able to step into the image. Although there is nothing broken with this feature, I just question its need when one player is constantly moving the picture around, making the second player constantly playing catch up.
Although my experience with Dream Chronicles only lasted around 3 to 4 hours, the lower price point of 800 MS points makes this a very competitive download and begs to be played socially. Providing you stick to having one person driving.
MLG Rating: 8/10
Platform: Xbox 360 (Mac, PC, Nintendo DS, Mobile, iPhone, PlayStation 3) Release Date: 20/10/2010
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Dream Chronicles for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.