If you are looking for a title for the Nintendo 3DS that combines the touchscreen and 3D technology in a new and interesting way, than look no further than Dream Trigger. Of course, if you are looking for a game with depth, then you might consider looking around a bit. Dream Trigger, from developer Art Co. and D3Publisher, is part puzzle game, part shooter, with just a touch of naval warfare mixed in. It is an odd combination that works at times, but there just isn’t enough of it.
At its heart, Dream Trigger is a shooter akin to a first-person flight combat game. The catch is that the enemies are invisible. To unveil them, you use the touchpad screen to drop a sonar-like wave. Once you have the enemies in your sight, you shoot them. In theory, it is a simple enough premise, in practice it is hard. Insanely hard at times. Hard to the point that if you beat the first level on your first try, you may be the video game “Chosen One.” The level of difficulty will appeal to fans of the twitch shooter, but the weak tutorial isn’t going to do you any favors.
If you can play enough to actually understand what is going on, and make some headway in the game, Dream Trigger can be fun. It is also helped by a solid, even impressive soundtrack (if you like electronica) and some of the best visuals — albeit not that graphically intense — on the 3DS. The use of 3D is also well done, as it adds a sense of depth to the gameplay, but you will need to train your eyes and your fingers to avoid looking back and forth between the touchscreen and the 3D screen, or you risk a headache.
The game offers the standard game modes, including free play, time attack and versus, but the real meat of the game is the world map. For each map you complete in the World Map, you earn Dream Points. To unlock new areas, boss fights, and nodes that have more maps, you use the points. While this offers a lot of potential game, the only real difference between early levels and later ones is that it becomes much, much harder.
If you are a fan of the twitch shooters, than Dream Trigger might be worth a look. The game looks great, and the 3D is well integrated, plus the soundtrack is kinda awesome at times and goes well with the movie. But the level of difficulty is skewed towards people with freakishly fast reaction time. That in itself isn’t a terrible thing, but your reward for learning the game is only more of the same. The levels never really vary, they just get faster and tougher. It is something of a one-trick pony… if a pony could release sonar pings and shoot objects. So it really isn’t like that at all, but you get the point.
Dream Trigger lacks depth, but that won’t matter the majority of gamers who will have thrown the game down in frustration after the first few levels. Still, you have to credit the inventiveness of Dream Trigger. If Art Co. and D3 can find a better balance in future games, the series might be worth keeping an eye on. For now though, only the masochistic and twitchy need apply.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
(This game was reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS on a copy provided by D3 Publisher)