The Smurfs – Dreams has interesting stages and a fun moveset | Hands-on preview

by on June 24, 2024

When thinking of children’s TV shows, there aren’t many with the continued cultural relevance of The Smurfs. Now I won’t pretend that I have ever been a mega fan of the small blue characters that live in mushroom houses in the woods, but I’ve been to Smurf based club nights, laughed at jokes about them in Family Guy, and apparently will never escape their adventures be it in parody or video game form. The Smurfs – Dreams is an upcoming 3D platformer set in the dreams of the little fellas, and after playing two levels I must say I was impressed.

The preview build opened with my generic Smurf character wandering around Smurf Village. All the other iconic Smurfs like Smurfette and Papa Smurf could be found standing by their fungal homes, but ultimately there wasn’t much to do there other than find the odd hidden fruit that I assume were Smurfberries. It didn’t take long to find a portal to the first stage though, which is where the real platforming begins.

The Smurfs - Dreams

Controlling your Smurf character is fairly simple, but does still require some getting used to. You can run around and jump as you’d probably expect from a platforming character, but alongside the basics there’s also a flutter jump, the ability to hover stationary in a bubble in mid air, and a dive you can do from in the bubble to serve as a sort cross between an air dash and a second jump. It took a bit of experimentation to understand how to best use my moveset to get around the stages I played, but once it clicked it felt great.

Unlike most 3D platformers released in recent years, The Smurfs – Dreams isn’t particularly exploration based. With a fixed camera angle, the focus is more on making your way through stages than searching for hundreds of shiny doodads in an open world. I found it to be a rather nice change of pace, with just the right amount of secrets to find (five Smurf hats per stage) that were hidden in tough to reach places or on the very edge of your vision.

The two stages I played in this preview build of The Smurfs – Dreams were totally different, but both really enjoyable to jump my way through. First up was an early stage set on a selection of tropical islands that served as a nice way to learn the ropes. Switches needed pressing to make new platforms appear, I was shown how to throw projectiles found throughout at baddies, and got to stomp a few purple monsters getting in my way. It was a little basic, but pretty much exactly how you’d expect a 3D platformer to start out.

The Smurfs - Dreams

The second stage was a little bit more experimental, apparently taking place at around the halfway point of the game. The gimmick of this stage was that in the background there was often a mirror which showed invisible enemies and obstacles that existed in the real world foreground. By keeping on eye on all the different perspectives I was able to make my way past all manner of platforming challenges, and even find a few precious collectables. If this level of creativity can be found in all the stage of The Smurfs: Dreams then I think it could be a game that is worth playing regardless of your Smurf fandom.

There are plenty of other aspects of The Smurfs: Dreams that intrigued me too, even if I wasn’t able to experience them in this preview. Currently I have no idea what the collectibles are for, but hopefully there is a good reason to gather them up. There’s also the option to play the game in two player co-op locally with a friend. I couldn’t find anyone willing to Smurf it up with me for this preview, but I’d imagine especially if you’re playing with a younger gamer this could be a great way to do so.

Based on the levels I played, The Smurfs – Dreams is shaping up to be a much more entertaining game than I’d have expected it to be. With interesting stages, a moveset that is fun to master and an intriguing premise, this game could end up being Smurftastic.

The Smurfs – Dreams is coming to PC and consoles on October 24th.