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Casual Game of the Week: 'Dream Chronicles' Review (PC)

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Window LightIn this hectic world we live in, many times work and appointments must come before the fun and joys in our lives, including that of getting to play videogames whenever we want. Gone are the days when we could fire up a game of our choice and spend hours toiling away – now we seem to game in stolen moments here and there. With that in mind, perhaps it is no wonder that casual games have become such a popular gaming choice (especially with women who make up the vast majority of casual game players), as casual games allow us to either jump in and get those quick fixes of gaming bliss or either play them for as long as we want when we do have the time. In honor of the casual game, we'll be bringing you a new Casual Game of the Week every Monday to help you find that fix you might be needing in your life, and this week we have: Dream Chronicles.

Though the game doesn't come out till June 12, 2007, we were lucky enough to be able to get an early copy of Dream Chronicles to present to you this early review. In Dream Chronicles, you play as a young woman named Faye, who wakes up one day to find that the Fairy Queen of Dreams – Lilith – has cast a sleeping spell over the kingdom. You wakeup only to find your husband Fidget missing, and your child under the deep sleep spell. Will you be able to get to the root of the matter, break the spell, and find your husband?

Dream Chronicles plays like Myst and a hide and seek game merged into one. It plays like Myst in regards to the static screens and puzzles you'll have to solve to advance through the game, and it plays like a hide and seek game because you have to scour the level to find all the missing objects that you need for the puzzles. The game is very linear, as you only have one set path to take throughout, so you won't have to worry about finding an item on one static screen, and then have to hold onto it for three or four down the lane. If you find an item that will go in your use try, then be assured it will be used on the same static screen you found it on.

The first big puzzle is always finding all the items you'll need, which is accomplished by searching every little inch of the screen for clickable objects. Thankfully, the process is streamlined, because instead of not knowing what could be an object you'll need and have to endless click to find it, by dragging your pointer over objects you'll see a name pop up for the object, meaning you'll either be using it or get some description about it; if you click it and can and will use it, it will fly down to your use tray. Another nice thing about the game is that if you're stuck and can't see perhaps the last item you need to find, the game will twinkle the object to let you know where to go. Yes, it's a bit of an unfair cheat, but when you've spent a ton of time looking for a tiny little something, you'll be grateful the help is there when the objects do twinkle. Another thing you'll be looking for are little dream jewels, which will net you bonus points when the game is over.

Some of the puzzles are fairly easy endeavors, where all you need to do is find the objects you need and click them in the right spot. For example, one early puzzle has a broken wagon over a trapdoor, and you'll need to find the two wheels, two washers, and two nuts to assemble the broken part of the wagon in the right order. Then you'll need an oil can to lube them up, and then after that a screwdriver to undo the bolts that has the trapdoor closed; do all of that and then you move on. Some puzzles get a bit harder and require some more time, such as one where you must play the piano. Overall, the puzzles are balanced extremely well for a more casual game, as no puzzles take a huge amount of time to finish, so you'll be able to game in spurts and stop whenever you want, as you can save after every static screen, though if you stop before that screen is solved, you'll have to replay it all over the next time you fire up the game.

The story unfolds through a few still shot cutscenes, and the story narrative that Fidget sometimes gives you as ghostly first clues when you arrive at a new place for the first time. It isn't overly heavy with story elements, but what's there is pretty interesting and kept me entertained throughout my journey.

Dog HouseThe sound work is exceptional for a casual game, as the soft, song melody that plays throughout is endearing and soothing, and the other sound effects, ranging from a piano playing to a squeaky wagon to a loose floorboard are all represented well. The best thing though is the graphics, which are all presented in an almost 2.5D, because the CG world is presented so breathtakingly and rounded out, the buildings and bushes almost want to pop off your computer screen and into the real world. I was perhaps more compelled than anything to solve the puzzles, just to see some more of the artwork of this world, and see what the next place looked like. It also had some really done lighting effects, which had an ethereal glow about them.

Growing up, point and click puzzle-solving games like Myst were never my forte or specialty, or even ones I particularly enjoyed very much. Perhaps back then I wanted the more action oriented Mario games than anything really cerebral. With that said, I found myself particularly enjoying Dream Chronicles, and the beautiful, hide and seek puzzle fueled world. If you're looking for a more casual point and click adventure, be sure to give Dream Chronicles a shot, because it is far from being a nightmare, and will be the daydream you need to escape the doldrums of reality.

Our Scoring System

Get It At PlayFirst When It Releases June 12, 2007

ik ben ik

ik ben ik

nice game

nice game

You can now download dream

You can now download dream chronicles at http://www.thediamondgames.com/games/dream-chronicles/