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Publisher: PlayFirst    Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4 @ 800 MHz    Hard Disk: 25 MB    Graphics: 800x600

Dream Chronicles
August 20, 2007 | Charlie Fletcher

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Solving a Puzzle
Ready for a game of mystery and intrigue? PlayFirst’s new puzzler, Dream Chronicles will certainly fit the bill.

Dream Chronicles is a mystery game in which you play a woman named Faye who wakes up from a strange dream only to find that her husband, Fidget, has been taken captive by the evil Fairy Queen of Dreams, Lilith. If this premise vaguely reminds you of the classic mystery game, Myst, it’s not accidental. The main difference is that Dream Chronicles is quite a bit easier than its older cousin. In my opinion, this is a good thing, because, sadly, I never made it though Myst successfully.

Dream Chronicles guides you through a series of puzzles that take you all over a large house full of nooks, crannies, treasures and keepsakes. Lilith, who wants to steal your husband away for herself, has mixed everything up. With the guidance of Fidget’s diary, you have to put everything back in its proper place in order to open many magic doors. Finally, after navigating your way through a maze of mysteries, you end up...

Well, I won’t say more. It wouldn’t be much of a mystery if I revealed all the game’s secrets beforehand, would it?

Many of Dream Chronicles’ puzzles are matching games where you have to assemble a set of pieces from varies pieces of junk in a room and then effect repairs on something. For example, one puzzle requires that you find nuts, wheels, washers, and tools in order to repair a broken wagon.

But not every puzzle is visual. Several puzzles require you to play matching melodies on the instruments in the room. This part of the game is reminiscent of the classic musical match game, Simon.

In the early stages of Dream Chronicles, Fidget’s diary guides you every step of the way, teaching you how to solve the puzzles. However, as you progress, Fidget gives you progressively less advice. In the latter stages, the puzzles become quite difficult, mostly because you are completely on your own to figure them out. I found the puzzles reasonably easy, as a 50-something guy who’s done quite a lot of game playing and reading. However, my 10 year old, in spite of her interest and enthusiasm, was hard pressed to figure out some of the more symbolic puzzles near the end of the game.

The great pleasure of Dream Chronicles was both its artwork and music. It was so incredibly dreamy that I found myself wanting to linger over each level. The lighting and impressionistic art that graces each scene was what first grabbed my attention. Dream Chronicles is truly a joy to behold.

Unfortunately, my languid, dreamy style of play was just the thing to get me a low score in the end. You see, the game is not only set up in order that you solve the mysteries, but also that you wake up and solve them quickly if you want to get a high score. In fact, at the end of the game, your score is revealed, and you have the option of posting your scores on the Web in a global high-score list.

This brings me to the points of Dream Chronicles that I disliked. As you can tell by now, I very much enjoyed solving the mysteries and soaking in the ambiance of this game. But to reach the end and find that I was expected to play it again and again to see how quickly I could do it did not thrill me. Moreover, even at my leisurely pace, the game only took a few hours to complete. It would have been nice if it was a good deal longer, considering the type of game it is.

All in all, I liked Dream Chronicles. Solving its puzzles turned out to be a relaxing way to pass some time.

• Intriguing story line
• Beautiful artwork
• Engaging soundtrack
• Fascinating puzzles

• Too short
• Limited replay value

Dream Chronicles
Publisher: PlayFirst
Download Dream Chronicles Demo
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