Dreamscapes: The Sandman is a familiar experience. It’s a point-and-click adventure game, set up like the classic style that was popular in the 90s. However, its familiarity is what makes it such an inviting experience, and it excels beyond what is expected as the bare minimum, becoming one of the most memorable and well-made point-and-click adventures on mobile.
Featuring a haunting atmosphere with gorgeous hand-drawn environments, Dreamscapes is spooky right off the bat. The concept of the game is excitingly original. Using a specialized headset, the player character is able to enter the dreams of a special girl. Unfortunately, her dreams aren’t about rainbows and butterflies; they are twisted and full of mind-bending puzzles.
Puzzle solving is the name of the game. Players will click around, find items, and then use those items to access more areas of the environment. There’s more than just the puzzles for the main story as well, with players that are particularly adept able to discover hidden areas and reap the rewards from them.
One of the biggest obstacles for people that are new to the point-and-click adventure game genre is the difficulty. It is fairly easy for people that don’t have experience with these types of puzzles to get stuck, and then frustration sets in and they give up on the adventure. Dreamscapes manages to avoid this by offering a Hint button that players can use if they give up on a puzzle. This keeps the pace going nice and brisk.
I particularly enjoyed the sound design in the game. In fact, it is easily the strongest element in Dreamscapes, and it is what brings the presentation together perfectly. Booming, creepy music permeates throughout every area, and the voice acting is surprisingly well done for a game of this nature. The audio is nice and loud, and really is a huge part of what sucks you into the game.
Honestly, the only real gripes I have with the game are fairly miniscule and sort of expected, but they are gripes nonetheless. First of all, the game is very short. It is over before it wears out its welcome, so that’s good, but at the same time, there needs to be more to entice players to keep revisiting the game and get a lot for their money. Other adventure games create replayability in very creative manners. This game offers achievements and the ability to find hidden creatures in the environment, but neither of them made me want to keep going through.
Another issue I had is with the story. While the premise and atmosphere is fantastic, the plot itself doesn’t really go anywhere. The events within this fantastical and creepy world just aren’t very exciting. The game starts off wonderfully, but by the end, I lost interest in what was actually going on story-wise and I was just more interested in solving the next puzzle and getting through the next area.
But like I said, those minor gripes are just that: minor. The game is excellent, with a fantastic audio presentation creating an overall wonderful atmosphere coupled with one of the most engrossing point-and-click adventure games in years. For fans of the genre, this download is a no-brainer. For those new to the genre, Dreamscapes: The Sandman Collector’s Edition on iPhone is a great jumping in point.
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 8.75/10