Games: Game-maker Dreams a fusion of technical smarts and artistic genius
AFTER wowing the world with their sublime, creativity-oriented puppet-a-thon LittleBigPlanet, the nonsense-stuffed minds of Media Molecule revealed a grown-up version in 2013, back when the PS4 was a mere nipper.
But, when it became obvious the game-creation tool just wasn't pleb-friendly enough, it was back to the drawing board. The best part of a decade later, Sony have finally spilled the Dreams – though the PS4 is now being measured by the undertaker.
A 30 quid toolset that lets regular Joes model and animate their own games, program the AI and compose the sound, Dreams is a fusion of technical smarts and artistic genius.
Light years ahead of the likes of LittleBigPlanet, Mario Maker and Minecraft, it's the greatest user creation tool ever seen.
Like many a teenage dream, it lets your juices flow (creatively speaking). But as The Corrs crooned in their own Dreams, "players only love you when they're playing" – and it's the ability to share your creations that makes Dreams really click. It isn't child's play, though: you'll need to put in the hours to craft something worthwhile and there's quite the learning curve.
But, when you've mastered the basics of manipulating assets with your DualShock or PlayStation Move controller, you'll be siring all manner of treats. And the results – if you have the knack – are an artistic hotchpotch that runs the gamut of half-baked tributes to iconic games and Hollywood-inspired animation to genuine art.
With even a modicum of talent, you'll soon be a Dreams lover, unleashing your fetid imagination on the world. Yet, while LittleBigPlanet offered a full-fat platform adventure on top of its creative gubbins, Dreams is first and foremost a tool. Its single-player effort, Art's Dream, is an all-too brief whistlestop tour of Dreams' potential, mixing point and click adventure, platforming, driving and shooting all wrapped up in a trippy jazz world.
Lazy bones types can just wallow in the labours of others with a veritable field of Dreams that offers an endless feed of playable content. A fiesta of unfettered frippery, the number of things to sample, including scarily accurate takes on Mario and Sonic, already outnumbers the entire library of the Switch.
Of course, there's a lot of chaff, but plenty of pearls are to be found among its bizarro collection of Dream crackers. Dreams is for anyone who's ever carved a face on a sandy beach or who fondly remembers the stench of Pritt Stick and Copydex. And even if you don't have an artistic bone in your husk, with its limitless supply of free creations, Dreams is a work of merrily oddball and recession-busting genius.