Ah, good old-style adventures. Even though the genre is slowly fading away, with less and less titles coming out each year, it seems that the decrease in quantity somehow managed to result in a spike in quality – at least judging from games like Dream Chronicles: Book of Air.
The game actually follows a long-running line of adventure titles, and is the fourth installment so far, putting the player in the role of Lyra, the daughter of the previous protagonist of the series.
Those of you who’ve played Myst will find the style of DC: TBOA somewhat familiar – the game is played from a first-person perspective, with the main objective being to find and solve all of the puzzles around the playable areas. The game is not played like a traditional quest, in the sense of there being basically no character interaction – the setting feels a lot like the aforementioned Myst, with an eerie yet soothing sense of solitude.
You can approach the puzzles in whatever order you prefer, adding a lot of variety to the gameplay; furthermore, some of the puzzles are interconnected, as sometimes you’ll have to find a required item in another location.
Puzzles range from simple to mildly difficult, though the more challenging ones are simply a matter of hunting out a large number of pieces, usually. You shouldn’t have a hard time figuring out how to get past most of the areas, unless you’ve chosen to play on the “Challenging” mode (as opposed to the other setting, “Casual”).
For those of you who saw the option in the menu and were wondering how it affects gameplay, the challenging mode replaces all of the puzzles with more difficult ones, and if you’re playing in casual mode the game will help you by skipping a puzzle if you don’t solve it for a long time.
Graphics and System Requirements
The graphics of DC:TBOA are one of its major points. The game is absolutely stunning, and the amount of fine detail in each scene is simply godly – words lack the power to truly describe what a feast this game is on the eyes, so you’ll have to see it for yourself.
Considering the game is based around the idea of dreams, except some vivid, abstract scenes that may make you rub your eyes for a few seconds the first time you enter them. The art style is great too, as the game doesn’t look 100% realistic (it could easily have), but has this odd blend of surrealism to it that brings it that much closer to the idea of a dream.
Since all of the scenes are pre-rendered, system requirements for this game are practically non-existent – the only special thing you’ll need is 1 GB of ram to handle the asset loading, but apart from that if you can run your OS, you can run this game as well. It requires DX8, but only for the audio and not for any rendering purposes.
Despite being a casually-oriented experience, the game does have it slight competitive edge – you’re given a score when you complete it, based on how much items you’ve managed to collect, so you can always come back and attempt to improve that.
Please, other developers – look at how many players are enjoying Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air and realize that adventure gamers aren’t a niche crowd – it’s a real market that needs more games like this one.