While it is very charming presentation was enough for me to get into what’s basically a pretty basic hidden object game, Dream Detective has some aspects that made me sigh audibly while trying to accept its mobile game nature.
A picture is worth a thousand words
In case you’re not familiar with hidden object games, they consist in finding a series of different things in a somewhat cluttered and/or messy scenario. That pretty much sums up Dream Detective’s gameplay, as what you’ll be doing 80% of the time spent in the game will be doing just that.
The other 10% of the time, though, you’ll be spending your hard-earned money in fixing the castle. That’s right folks, this game has somewhat of a city builder thing going on. The only objective is to make things look nice and unlock new rooms to make even more things look nice. It’s a decent distraction from the core gameplay. And definitely a welcome addition to go and check every once in a while.
There are also plenty of limited time and online (ranked) modes, nice additions nonetheless. Thanks to these modes, replayability is encouraged once you complete the main story thanks to the changing new content.
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Dream Detective – The cutest game of this year
This game’s art direction is simply one of the best I’ve personally seen in a while. It might as well be my favorite looking game of the year for that matter. You can see the sheer amount of love and dedication that went into drawing every single detail of this world’s cluttered yet beautiful maps. And that’s something very hard to achieve.
Dream Detective isn’t afraid of variety either. In one level you’ll be searching for movie references in a futuristic movie set. And in the next one, you’ll be looking for differences between letters in a series of comic panels. This is very nice, and the variety is what makes this game shine above the rest. It has lots of levels too, as there are more than 40 different scenarios just in the main story.
Variety doesn’t always mean good, though, as there may just be one too many “timed” levels, as they call them. While playing these, you get 60 seconds to search for three near-identical things in a sea of endless near-identical things. Most of these are fine, but others are absolute patience testers that will challenge every completionist in sight.
The elephant in the room
If there’s anything holding Dream Detective from being a perfect mobile experience, is the fact that it is a mobile game. If you’ve been paying attention, you must have noticed that I’ve said you’ll spend 80% of the time searching for said objects and 10% of the time restoring the castle. Where goes the other 10%, then? Well, it goes to the time you’ll probably spend watching ads in order to keep playing.
This game has an energy system, something to expect when it comes to a mobile game. What’s not to expect, however, are the 25 minutes that you have to wait for a single point to be restored. This hinders the experience a lot, especially considering that you only have a maximum of 30 energy points at any time. This means that once you go through the 3 stages of a regular level, which will cost you 19 points, you’ll have to wait for several hours before having the ability to tackle another level from start to finish.
You have 3 options once you see yourself in that position. Seeing an unlimited amount of 30-second ads for an equally unlimited amount of energy, forgetting about the game for a long, long while. Or, you can also choose to buy the Luxury Pack for $10 to remove ads and the energy system entirely.
The Steam version of Dream Detective, released alongside its mobile counterpart, is a paid game. And does not feature a trace of the frustrating energy system.
While playing with some ads it’s perfectly fine on my watch, dropping the 10 extra bucks to have the intended experience may be something you’d want to consider.
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There are lots of things to love about this game. From the almost perfect artstyle to the fact that we have in our hands what’s basically a free game that you can 100% complete without spending a cent, which is always nice. Go in with the right mindset, and this may become one of your favorite mobile games.
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