Dream Trigger 3D Review
Game: Dream Trigger 3D
Developer: Art Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Available on: Nintendo 3DS Only
There are very few games that leave me speechless, whether that’s because they’re good or because they’re downright terrible. Most people have heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but nobody really applies that to games, and I was no different.
When I first saw gameplay footage and the box art of Dream Trigger 3D I didn’t really want to play it. It looked like over hyped madness bundled with fancy 3D graphics. I just didn’t care. When it arrived in my hands I was apprehensive, and when I booted up the Nintendo 3DS I was a little unsure. I very quickly, however, discovered one important fact: Never judge a video game by it’s gameplay trailer.
STORY: After five minutes of playing Dream Trigger 3D you’ll realise why writing about the “story” of the game is a little bit redundant, because there isn’t really one. You’re given the task of getting through each stage and unlocking all of the subsequent stages in order to progress through the game. Sounds pretty straight forward at first, but then you realise that even the cursor that you’re using isn’t the same as the cursor from the last level, then you’ll notice other things that make you question whether you’re even on the same world as you were a couple of minutes ago. There doesn’t need to be a narrative in this style of game but the fact that there are little moments that make the player think that there’s going to be a story, only to have it disappear in a mist of incoherent thought patterns is a little bit confusing.
It’s possible that the story is meant to be entirely what you as the player interpret it to be, similar to a dream. Having the player be inside of a dream, constantly switching from one place to another with no link between the two would certainly fit the play style and visuals of the game, but something like that is never even alluded to within the gameplay, so it could just as well be pure madness without even a second of thought put into creating any kind of story. The only thing that’s certain with Dream Trigger 3D is that absolutely anything is a possibility.
GRAPHICS: The visuals in Dream Trigger 3D are, quite simply, stunning. They’re not the most detailed graphics in the world and most people will have seen better things on the 3DS itself, but what you do get with this game is something unique, something that’s original and a treat to look at; that’s something you don’t get to see too often, so when it does crop up it’s feels like something special, as if your eyeballs are being treated to their very own little party and the rest of your senses simply aren’t invited.
The most outstanding thing about the visuals in Dream Trigger 3D are the colours that you’ll be able to create just by playing the game, creating waves of colour that are used to reveal the enemies. A lot of the times I found myself so mesmerised by the colours that were being displayed that I forgot to dodge the oncoming bullets, quickly finding myself restarting the level due to a premature death. The only real downside to the visuals is that it can quickly become a little bit overwhelming, the 3D nature of the 3DS isn’t exactly easy on the eyes in the first place and the addition of all the imagery in Dream Trigger 3D means that extended periods of play can quickly get tiring.
SOUND: The sound and music in Dream Trigger 3D is one of the most impressive aspects of the whole game. The way that the music seems to play with the game itself is awe inspiring, even if it’s not a lot of people’s type of music, they can’t help but sit back and be quietly amazed as they’re destroying enemies, or at least making them appear so that they can be destroyed, with the power of light and music. On top of the music that plays in the game, touching the touch screen and creating the sonar pings also creates a burst of sound. This means that every time you’re playing the game, attempting to get to the end of the level, you’re creating awesome sounds that, depending on your play style, are going to sound different each time you play.
GAMEPLAY: The way that players interact with the game world of Dream Trigger 3D is interesting in its own right. Instead of all of the enemies appearing on the screen and then the player having to simply shoot them all down until they’re all gone, the player is first of all given the task of finding the enemies they need to shoot. To start off with, all of the enemies are invisible and even though the player will quickly be able to work out where the enemies are, they won’t be able to destroy them until they have made them visible, which they have to do by “pinging” them. Pinging the enemies is accomplished by touching the bottom (touch) screen of the Nintendo 3DS. Once the line passes the point at which a player has tapped, a pulse is sent out. If an enemy is caught within this pulse they are made visible and can then be destroyed. This goes on until all of the enemies are destroyed, the boss appears. and then they themselves are subsequently destroyed completing the level.
After the player completes the level can then move further down the path that they have chosen to follow, or they could choose any other stage from the multitude of paths that unlock during a playthrough of the game. The player has to be a little bit careful about switching paths halfway through the game though, as moving costs Dream Points which are only collected by playing levels and it can be easy to run out during the move to another path which means that the player will have to play a level they have already completed in order to keep moving. While this sounds like a feature that could get annoying pretty quickly, it’s very unlikely that players will want to switch paths before completing the one they’re currently on, and if they do, having them spend money to change paths forces them to put a little bit more thought into what path they’re going to choose in the first place.
In general the gameplay in Dream Trigger 3D can be a little confusing to get used to at first, it’s not often that a game requires players to do multiple things at the same time in the same way as this does, but that just means that when you figure out how to do it (and you soon will) it feels much more satisfactory and will ensure that you’ll keep coming back for more and more. The only downside with the gameplay, especially with it being on the Nintendo 3DS, is that it’s difficult to quickly put down when you’re in the middle of a level. If you’re playing on the bus and you have to pause the game in order to make your stop, then expect to lose a life or two when you unpause the game as you won’t be given any time to remember what was happening and where all the bullets were, which could have been a nice little feature.
LONGEVITY: With Dream Trigger 3D, and this style of game in general, you get out of it what you put in. If after half an hour with it you’re not enjoying the gameplay or the psychedelic visuals, then you’re not going to want to play it for an extended length of time. If however, you do enjoy the gameplay and everything else that the game has to offer then there’s no limit to how long you can play it. The addition of leaderboards means that you always have the ability to come back and improve upon your time, or you could even pass the console over to a friend and have them beat your time. Better yet you could get a friend (with a 3DS) to get another copy of the game and take on each other in the versus mode. If none of that still takes your fancy then you could just simply play the levels over and over again, the simplicity and random feeling of the levels means they always feel fresh and new; no matter how many times you play them.
VERDICT: Dream Trigger 3D is a game that’s enveloped in sheer madness, from the gameplay itself down to the visuals and concept of the game, it’s all crazy, but that doesn’t take anything away from the game. More often than not I found myself coming back to it to complete another level, and another level on top of that. There’s a fairly steep learning curve to get your head around, especially for someone new to this style of game, as there are a lot of things happening on the screen as well as a lot of input expected of the player at any one time, but when this obstacle has been overcome, Dream Trigger 3D is an addictive game with gorgeous 3D graphics and well worth your time and love.