Yesterday Benjamni and I attended Day of the Devs, a free annual event in San Francisco where upcoming games are demonstrated. We’ve wanted to go for years but something always come up at the last minute. This year Dreams was on the list of games so we finally made it a priority to go.

The collection of playable Dreams was the same as has been shown at other events. I wasn’t able to capture video or pictures that were any better than what other people have already been posting, so instead I’ll discuss the gameplay experience a little.
The only one we didn’t try was “Given Time” the text adventure, because it’s very long. We watched a couple other people start playing it but there wasn’t really enough time for anyone to finish, because there was only one demo station so people were always waiting.

“Windy Glades” was the first demo I tried, it’s a side scrolling platformer in a painterly forest setting. The character has a few special moves including the ability to transform into a glowing orb and float around in the air. This happens seamlessly and the change in movement style and how the character is controlled is very intuitive.

”Please Hug Me” is one we’ve all seen in a video at some point, it’s short and silly, and oddly satisfying.

”Ferrovium” is a side scrolling spaceship shooter in a classic style. High paced and a bit challenging to survive. The flight controls were very well done, not sloppy at all but with just enough looseness to feel like an actual craft with mass traveling at high speed.

“Moon Raiders” is a spaceship shooter with full 3D flight and 1st or 3rd person camera options. I played in 1st person view the whole time which is usually not my preference, but I really enjoyed it in this case. The most realistic looking of all the demos, with smooth shiny metal surfaces and great attention to detail. The controls for this were also spot on and the gameplay very well designed.

”Comic Sands” is another one we’ve all seen before. It’s quite fun and again the user interface is great. This character feels heavier and rather different to control than the one in Windy Glades, showing that we won’t be tied down to a present movement style when creating our own characters.

“HammerTime” is a player versus player challenge that’s been shown in a couple streams. The interface is a little different with this one because the characters move in a 3D space but the camera is fixed, and the characters themselves hop around instead of walking or running. Very high paced button mashing but the controls are perfectly responsive.

“Demo Content” is the tittle for a segment of the main Dreams story campaign featuring D-Bug. We played this one 2 player co-op but it will be available for single player as well. The gameplay is standard 3D platforming with a camera that automatically follows the lead player. D-Bug has a couple special moves that are very intuitive to execute, and although some of the obstacles require precise timing to get through, it’s not frustrating even with two players.

Overall the the user interface seems perfect, even though the feel is quite different between the demos. And that smooth UI is really the most common factor among these gameplay experiences. Comparing them all side by side you would not assume these mini games were all made by the same team, or even using the same engine. There’s unlimited potential for individual creators to develop their own unique styles in aesthetics and gameplay mechanics. While standing in line to play, I overheard peple say “That’s made in Dreams?!” about several different demos.