A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Dreams is part game, part digital sandbox, part social network. Along with some premade content and other people's work you can download and play, it includes several tools to make your own game, animated film, music creation, and more, before sharing it within the online community. Players select how they like to control content and then follow along with tutorials to make something new and share it with others. Dreams encourages game players to become game designers.
Dreams is about exploring the "Dreamiverse" -- one's own imagination realized through digital creation and play -- which inherently is very positive for players. It also provides the tools and options available to use your imagination to create experiences for yourself or other gamers. Virtually anything can be made in the game if you take enough time and work on your creation.
Positive Role Models
Aside from a main campaign called Art's Dream, there isn't really one comprehensive story or protagonist here. It's more of a collection of mini-games you can play. But in the melancholic Art's Dream, you're a musician down on his luck who must battle demons to be at peace. He's a likable yet imperfect character on a soul-searching journey.
Ease of Play
Can be challenging at first, but you're taught different ways to play, including motion controls on the PS4 controller or the Move controller, which requires a PlayStation camera above or below your TV. After a few short minutes, you'll learn the basics enough to tackle the two- to three-hour story mode called Art's Dream (a good place to start).
Violence & Scariness
Dreams contains mild violence, but it's not realistic or graphic -- e.g., in Art's Dream, you're tackling baddies using swappable characters, each of whom has a different attack style. One uses melee combat (with oversized hammer) and the other relies on projectiles. When you start creating your own content, you can experiment with first- or third-party weapons, but they're all cartoon-like in nature, without blood or gore.
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The word "s--t" can be heard during one of the demos, as well as "hell" and "damn."
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.