Game play context and story have been my biggest pet peeve about a hidden object game. I usually find it rather difficult to believe that someone would find him/herself forced to solve a variety of puzzles involving sliding blocks or switches in addition to wandering around the game world looking for items that have precisely one use to access additional areas. Or I’ll find that the story is just a flimsy excuse t tie some challenging puzzles together. Then occasionally I’ll find something like Dreamscapes: The Sandman from G5 Games that is currently on the iPhone and iPad (but NOT The iTouch, which did cause me to reconnect with some of my more distant family members who happened to have either device), which manages to have both a good story and game play context to result in something that is atmospherically sublime.
You play as Dr. Sanders’ assistant, who is trying to help Laura escape her nightmare and defeat the Sandman who antagonizes her by collecting pieces of her treasured Dreamcatcher. As it is a hidden object game, you’ll have to explore various environments within Laura’s mind to gather objects to unlock new areas and solve puzzles.
Admittedly, Dreamscapes: The Sandman cheats me out of my preference for hidden object gaming set in a real world by being set in the nightmares of Laura, whose wide eyes could probably out-creep the creepy nightmares she has. Her nightmares reduce my puzzle solving instincts to the logic that operates her nightmare, which would explain why I have to find a specific brick to break the glass despite having a variety of perfectly blunt objects already in my inventory. And the series of puzzles that I end up having to solve makes sense contextually when set within Laura’s psyche since there is no greater puzzle than the workings of the human psyche.
Dreamscapes: The Sandman does create an atmospheric nightmare world where I found myself immersed. The more I explored, the more I wanted to quickly solve the puzzles to get out of Laura’s nightmares and end her anguish. The animated cut scenes add to the atmosphere. In the end, the nearly 15 locations and variety of mini-games kept me challenged and entertained while reminding me somewhat of the atmospheric puzzle game The 7th Guest. Luckily, this Dreamscapes: The Sandman is a Collector’s Edition that includes bonus gameplay and a strategy guide to help me through the game.
So if you find yourself wanting to explore an atmospherically disturbing nightmare world to solve puzzles, Dreamscapes: The Sandman is an excellent shot at such.