Dream Detective

App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Dream Detective App Poster Image
Avoidable flaws undermine otherwise fun puzzle game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

While the game uses simple touch controls, finding small objects in such intricate images can be frustratingly tough, especially when played on a phone's small screen.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Players can spend real money to buy items needed to keep going when they run out of turns or lives. Players can also watch ads to get clues or to earn restorative items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dream Detective is a hidden-object puzzle game for iOS and Android devices. It has no objectionable content, and players simply have to find specific items in pictures that have a lot of small objects similar to those Where's Waldo? books. When players run out of turns or lives, they can keep playing if they have coins or other in-game items. These coins and items can be earned by playing, or bought with real money. Players can also get them by watching ads, and can opt to watching an ad to see where an object's hiding. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared, and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

In DREAM DETECTIVE, a mysterious boy goes to Dream Land and demands that the Dreammasters turn over their Time Crystal. But the Dreammasters refuse, and fight back, driving the boy away. With their world a bit of a mess, they recruit a small human child to help them clean up. To do this, players have to earn coins by finding small objects in intricate pictures, and then use the coins to buy new furniture for the Dreammasters. Will you be able to uncover all of the items and manage to discover who that mystery child happens to be?

Is it any good?

While bad games are, well, bad, games that have the potential to be good but mess it up -- like this hidden object puzzle game -- are just depressing. In Dream Detective, you have to find specific items in intricate pictures that are full of small objects. So it's kind of like Where's Waldo?, except you're not picking out some guy in a striped shirt out in a crowd, but different objects all the time. In addition, you get paid for finding these missing items, but you have to spend your earnings to buy stuff for the people who kidnapped you while you were lying on the couch, enjoying a refreshing nap.

Sadly, being abducted mid-nap isn't the worst part of this puzzle game. While it has an interesting and detailed art style, this just makes it super hard to find anything, especially if you play on your phone's small screen. Sure, you can pinch the screen to look closer, or watch an ad when even that doesn't help and you just want to find that darn cat, but the game's intricate visuals just make this more frustrating than challenging. You can also get a clue by tapping on the object you're supposed to find, but while they can be useful, they can also be confusing or completely unhelpful. All of which is why Dream Detective will quickly have you looking for the Off button.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about spending money. While this game is free, and you can earn in-game currency by playing, you can also purchase some for real money. How do you decide when to spend money on a free game, and how much?

  • Families can talk about advertising. In Dream Detective, you can earn currency or get the answer by watching ads, but why do you think they set the game up this way?

  • When played on a phone, Dream Detective becomes increasingly difficult, so how important is it that a game works regardless of what you play it on? How often do you think about accessibility?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
  • Price: free with ads and microtransactions
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: August 18, 2020
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Size: 151.10 MB
  • Publisher: Century Game
  • Version: 2.91
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later; Requires Android 4.2 and up
  • Last updated: August 25, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

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