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EGX 2018: Hands-On with DREAMS

We finally discover what the bloody-hell Media Molecule's DREAMS is all about.

Before EGX 2018 I had a conversation with a friend of mine to determine whether or not Sony would bother bringing Media Molecule’s enormously ambitious PS4 exclusive Dreams over to the exhibition. I determined that they probably wouldn’t given that it’s seemingly still very far away and well, Sony aren’t exactly blowing anyone away right now with their customer driven choices. I figured we’d get Spidey, some PSVR titles and that would probably be it.

Ergo, I was wrong. Not only was Dreams there, but it had a pretty huge stand and even Media Molecule devs were in attendance. The Dreams area was an open plan ‘just come and sit down affair’, rather than their ridiculous queues going around corners for the Spyro trilogy that I avoided all week. Still, Sony’s presence was far bigger than I expected and to their credit, Dreams was a huge part of their area.

My curiosity got the better of me and I sat down to finally see what on earth Dreams was all about. I’m so glad I did. What was on offer was a selection of demos of games all built within Dreams itself. It’s a bonkers clever way of demonstrating just what it’s all about. Whilst we couldn’t get much deeper in the experience rather than what was on offer – I would liked to have messed around with the music editing in the game I saw on show at E3, but I guess I’ll just have to wait on that one – what they provided showcased just how completely free you are to create whatever the hell your brain can imagine.

I played five of the demos which were on offer, each of them wildly different from the other. The first was Comic Sands, a hand-drawn platformer with a paper-cut out visual style. It offered little more than jumping to the end of the level but the visuals were so smart and the level design so clever I ended up playing through it several times. Having our character jump in and out of comic frames on a piece of paper was wonderful.

Turns out it was made in Dreams during this years Train Jam on the way to GDC. That’s pretty cool. You may have seen the gameplay video released earlier this year but if not, I’ve added it here;

Next up was Windy Glades, a very stylish 2D platformer that gave me Ori and the Blind Forest vibes. It looked like every other stylish indie you can imagine in this genre, with terrific lighting, collectibles and a cracking mechanic where you can turn into a ball of light to collect items and tear through the level as pure energy.

Following that glorious demo was Hammer Time, a 2 player game where you each play as a hammer and have to squash down nails, break puzzle floors to watch your competitor go flying down them or hammer balls into your opponents goals. It was all rather daft but a fun way to showcase the two player game building. If I could take that online I’d probably have a very good time with the team trying to hammer them off the platform.

I then played Please Hug Me, a rather bizarre game where you play as..erm, an object looking for a hug and your objective is to seemingly get everything else on the platform with you as far away from you as possible until you’re the last thing on there.

Poor thing, just wanted a hug.

Finally I played an eerie 3D platformer, but from a technical standpoint was the most impressive of the bunch. I didn’t catch its name (though it said Demo Content in big letters, which..which probably isn’t its name) and it looked fantastic.

In a very dark enormous 3D space you’re tasked with platforming around with plenty of pitfalls and avoiding just freakin’ enormous robot caterpillars (I’m pretty sure that’s what they were, though I can’t be sure about this). Point is, it was captivating and I may buy Dreams just to find it and play through it again.

I couldn’t find an awful lot of footage of this one but you can have a nose here (press play and it should start where the game is showcased).

So that was my experience of Dreams. My interest in the game has absolutely skyrocketed now I’ve finally had a chance to explore what it’s all about. I still have no idea how to create or just what tools will be at my disposal, and it would have been nice to mess with those settings a little but hey, I’m glad I finally had a bit of time with Media Molecule’s creation and I’m very much looking forward to delving deeper.

I’m going to make a spiritual successor to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

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