A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dreams is a game and creation suite exclusively for the PlayStation 4. In many ways, Dreams is much more than a video game. Rather, it's a collection of tools that can be used by players to create and share their own content with others. Players can make games, animated short movies, music, and more before posting it over a Dreams-based social network. That part is optional, because you can also simply play what Media Molecule provided for you (such as the main game, Art's Dream) or download other people's content. The game features some animated cartoon violence and occasional profanity (including at least one instance of the word "s--t"). The game also includes creations \based on other games/properties, like Days Gone or Pokémon.
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What's it about?
DREAMS is a PlayStation 4 exclusive that blurs the line between game player and game maker. Following Media Molecule's "Play, Create, Share" philosophy, Dreams includes a story campaign, Art's Dream, and a collection of mini-games. But it's much more than that. Dreams is a toolbox and social network, which teaches you to create content -- such as games, animated shorts, music, and more -- before sharing it with others online. These players can then download and access your work (and even edit it, if you like, as well as rate it and provide feedback). Even if you don't want to follow along and learn how to make something, you can download other people's work (and there's no shortage of it already), and play it for a seemingly endless amount of content. You'll first choose a cute imp to control, learn how to maneuver it and manipulate objects, and perform a few other simple tasks in the tutorial. It's recommended that you tackle the main campaign, Art's Dream, before diving into creation. This is a beautifully executed yet somber tale about a jazz musician who leaves his band and wrestles with inner demons that cripple him. Divided into three parts, gameplay elements include action, platforming, puzzle-solving, adventures, and more. But the meat of Dreams is in its vast set of tools to develop (and maybe share) your own worlds with others.
Is it any good?
This bundle of content is highly imaginative, emotionally engaging, and artfully created. Dreams showcases what's possible with the enormous set of tools you've got access to in order to make and share your own worlds with the community (and even collaborate with others online). Dreams may be the best thing you've invested in in a long while. You can simply play Media Molecule's main campaign (blending combat, puzzles, and exploration) and mini-games, or test-drive an endless stream of other people's work. Or if you're yearning to dabble in content creation yourself, Dreams is the complete package, and all wrapped up in a beautifully produced experience that gets it all right. Except for a bit of a steep learning curve in the creation department (a collection of tutorials will help) and wrestling a little with the controls, it's a nearly perfect offering for PS4 owners
First, a word on Art’s Dream: This short but deep and dreamy experience familiarizes you with several mechanics, first by letting you play as Art from a third-person view, with many adventure-like elements. Then you take control of Art's childhood stars, Fox (yep, a fox) and Francis (a hammer-wielding bear), who must use their unique skills to find and rescue Lancewing, Art's toy dragon abducted by a huge crow, Thornbeak. The gameplay shifts to puzzle-solving robots before the adventure is completed. You may not want this adventure to end. But then, you can select from a ton of other content, including what's shared by the community (and thanks to an early beta program, there's already much to play with, even though the game launched officially on Valentine's Day 2020. When it's time to flex your own skills, you'll unlock several tools to draw on the screen, select objects and shapes, choose a flow and jump through scenes, and eventually export your work. Expect a lot of trial and error as you paint on the screen in a 3D space, which can take some getting used to. Your projects will get better over time, so just be patient, experiment, and see what others have done in the Dreamiverse gallery -- whether it's platforming on top of flower petals, engaging in space shooters, or racing cars through mountains. Plus, there's non-gaming content worth exploring, including graphic novels, short animated films, and musical performances. You can see ratings, how many people played this content, and more. The value here is humongous. Dreams is an extraordinary example of "Play, Create, Share" and it's worth every penny. These powerful tools help digitize your imagination and provide a glimpse into what's possible when a developer like Media Molecule empowers gamers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Dreams affected by the lack of blood or gore in each game? Would the impact be intensified if there was more realistic blood or gore included? Is the impact lessened because the violence is cartoonish?
Should there be options to limit access to mature Dreams content based on language? Would limiting language wind up stifling the creativity of Dreams creators?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Media Molecule
- Release date: February 14, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: STEM, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Language
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.