Cavern of Dreams review

by on October 23, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

October 19, 2023


When I think of gaming as a child, the first console that comes to mind is always the Nintendo 64. At seven years old it was the perfect system to get excited about the arrival of, and Christmas of 1997 my main man Santa brought me a shiny new console and a copy of Super Mario 64 to play on it. My love of 3D platforming soon blossomed, and still burns deep in my heart today. When I saw that Cavern of Dreams was looking to capture that 64 bit magic in a new 3D platformer I was immediately intrigued.

In Cavern of Dreams you play as a young dragon called Fynn, who isn’t having the best time in the blurry world he lives in. His unhatched siblings have been kidnapped by a mysterious villain, and it’s up to him to go rolling and gliding around some themed stages to find them. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the story of a colourful 3d platformer, and gets the collectathon started nice and quickly.

A screenshot of Cavern of Dreams

It won’t take you long to work out that Fynn has rather different movement abilities that most 3D platforming protagonists, mainly due to his ability to roll. Moving around, jumping and attacking is all fairly standard, but you won’t get far without mastering that roll. By curling into a ball Fynn can build up a massive amount of speed, and jumping from a roll will help you cross massive chasms. This different way of moving about helps make Cavern of Dreams feel like more than just another 3D platformer, even if it takes a bit of getting used to.

Once you’ve got used to moving Fynn about, it’s time to head out and start collecting those missing egg siblings. You start in a massive (and honestly pretty confusing) hub area, which houses plenty of collectibles in its own right. The real game kicks off in the first themed world though, where you’ll have eggs, mushrooms (which you feed to the hatched eggs later), and cards to collect scattered high and low. All the collectibles feel worth picking up too, with the eggs granting you new powers once you’ve collected a certain number, and the cards giving you information about the world.

It won’t take you long to unlock a few new powers for Fynn, which means you’ll be able to access new nooks, crannies and worlds to explore. The glide ability is pretty self explanatory, and is as helpful as you could imagine. A horn based ground pound ensures you can break cracked floors next, but also makes you impervious to wind while you use it for extra functionality. More powers mean more eggs you can collect, and before you know it you’ll be rolling in siblings.

A screenshot of Cavern of Dreams

One aspect of Cavern of Dreams I really appreciate is the variety of tasks you need to perform to collect new eggs. In one world you’ll need to look at different friendly fish for markings to enter a passcode; in another you’re inside a living aeroplane and tilting it in different directions to make new areas accessible. Whether you’re solving an ice statue puzzle or just racing to an open door in time, the fact you never do the same thing twice for a collectible really keeps things fresh.

For the most part I really enjoyed my time with Cavern of Dreams, but it has some pretty significant issues too. The biggest of these is in controlling Fynn, which is just a touch too complex. I never felt like I really understood how best to get the momentum I needed for certain jumps, and when you take into account things like swimming and the slight boost a double jump gives you it just doesn’t feel intuitive to manoeuvre through the world effectively.

The hub area, especially at the start of the game, just feels too confusing too. It took far too long for me to get my bearings and work out which of the multiple paths were actually accessible with my starting moveset, especially without much of a tutorial to help me get used to controlling Fynn in the first place. The other worlds all felt very well constructed and easy to navigate, but I never particularly enjoyed being in the winding paths between them.

A screenshot of Cavern of Dreams

My final issue with Cavern of Dreams is actually one that entirely stopped being an issue after exploring the options menu, but unfortunately that was about halfway through the game. By default there’s a screen blur effect that makes the entire game look (as you might expect) blurry, and it looks awful. Turning it off reveals the beauty of this retro style platformer, and I wish I’d known about it sooner.

Cavern of Dreams is a blast from the past, and really does feel like an early 3D platformer that I’d have loved growing up. The controls take a bit of getting used to and the hub is a bit of a nightmare to navigate, but if you’re looking for shiny items to collect in a variety of ways then you’ll be more than satisfied by this charming throwback.


A fun throwback of a platformer
A whole lot of varied activities
Meaningful collectables


The controls take a lot of getting used to
Navigating the hub isn't fun
The blur filter looks awful, and is on by default

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Cavern of Dreams has a few issues, but if you're looking for an old school 3d platformer and like collecting things you'll probably love it.