Attempting to describe this game may be an exercise in futility. Not because it’s a bad game, but because it’s not actually a game. Media Molecule is instead building a sort of spiritual successor to Little Big Planet; providing a suite of tools to players and telling them to be creative.
Dreams is essentially a creation platform, offering players a simplified game development platform. The comes with a level builder, graphics assets, a sound mixer, and basic programming language. All of which are designed to make it easy for just about anyone to get started and building their own creations.
Creating levels is done in a very visual manner, with players first building their world and then setting triggers for events. All of which is done by dragging and dropping event boxes. It’s an impressive system considering that the interface is designed for use with a DualShock4 controller.
Almost everything can be altered in this mode. With the demo showing everything from a pixel art game to near 4K resolution mini-games. None of the games even need to be of the same genre; having been shown a simple party game with hammers and then being thrown into space fighter simulator.
The sound mixer is equally interesting. Allowing players to create their own music by inputting notes for a variety of instruments. It also comes with an expanded control board for layering music and creating something more complex.
Players don’t even need to be building games, since the platform is also more than capable of handling simple animations or making music videos. Creating something that really is limited by the imagination.
Naturally, creations made in Dreams can be shared through an online community. Media Molecule is also opening up Dreams for multiplayer development; allowing multiple people to work on the same project. Either through the same console or over an internet connection.
Grasping the extent of Dreams actually requires a hands on demonstration, with someone to explain everything that is happening. Something that Sony Interactive Entertainment appreciated and helpfully supplied a developer to show off the potential of the game.
This is admittedly not a game for everyone. Getting anything done will require a whole lot of dedication, and the learning curve is going to be a lot steeper than most console games. However, it is likely to appeal to budding game designers who want a simple platform to begin testing their ideas. Perhaps before moving on to bigger things.
Dreams is perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of E3 2018. It may not be a blockbuster hit, but it’s nice to see Sony Interactive Entertain provide a space for these kinds of ideas.