The Dreamcatcher tackles an old question many in history have been fascinated with: Are our dreams a reflection of our deepest thoughts? Does reality impact our dreams? Are we in control of our dreams or are they out of our hands? The Dreamcatcher is more an experience than what you would normally think of as a game. This suspenseful walking simulator was developed by the Chinese studio Hualin Games. The Dreamcatcher boasts some light horror elements, an intense atmosphere and gorgeous environments.
You play as a young man. Having just graduated from college, you are about to start a new segment of your life. Today is an ordinary day, you have nowhere to really be. You decide to just lounge around the house and savor your last moment of freedom before life takes it course. The house seems so quiet today, after looking around you notice that the television is open. You do not remember opening it, but there it is. You sit on the couch to watch it, eventually falling asleep. Next thing you know you are in a dream and you are standing in a forested area. That dream seems odd, but the strange events are only just beginning. As you wake up, the real world appears to have changed. Is it linked with that odd dream you just had? If reality can impact your dream is the inverse also true? That is where your journey starts. You will be traveling between both worlds attempting to make things right again.
The soundtrack is beautiful and soothing. It managed to capture my attention while also being quite relaxing. The developers have really succeeded at choosing the perfect music to create a truly wonderful experience.
The Dreamcatcher features beautiful surreal visuals. It starts with the opening screen which features a dazzling sunset in the middle of a desert and keep impressing the player with one striking graphic after the next. It was a pleasure to walk around the different locations and admire the beautiful environments. It was also interesting to see all of the subtle changes and some not so subtle every time I visited a location again. However, I would have liked to see more contrast in the different worlds. The walking and dream worlds are obviously different. They are distinct places and have totally different feels, but it would have been nice to see it visually represented. The scenery is beautiful with a proper mysterious atmosphere. Sometimes it is even downright creepy, but when passing from one world to the next there is no difference in the filter being applied to the graphics. Both worlds look as realistic as the other and there is no dreamy atmosphere to the dreamworld. Aside from that small tweak which that I would like to see implemented, the developers have done a tremendous job with the artworks.
There is no real story to the game. It is not to say that there is no narrative, but it is very loosely strung together. The Dreamcatcher is more of an experience than a typical game with a story you are playing through. You go from the real world to the dreamworld and both are intricately linked. You realize not very long after starting the game that after experiencing the dreamworld, your real world has started changing. You already knew that your real world life and thought can influence your dreams, but you are surprised to find real life events being influenced by your dreams. The bulk of the game consists of passively going through the narrative and eventually trying to find how to put things right again in your real life. Do not expect extended puzzles or riddles. There is however a good amount of mystery to be unraveled. It was enjoyable to see the narrative evolve.
The Dreamcatcher is a very noble attempt at creating a game with some real meaning behind it. It is a fascinating exploration of the protagonist’s dreams and how they relate to and impact his daily life. It does not overstay its welcome and is just the right length. If you are into action then this might not be the game for you, this game is more akin to an interactive piece of art. Although if you are looking for a novel and thought-provoking experience then you will surely enjoy The Dreamcatcher as much as I did. With its striking visuals, rich environments and hauntingly beautiful music the Dreamcatcher manages to be both relaxing and suspenseful all at the same time. If you love discovering fresh ideas, it is a must play.
Written by Vee