We live in an age where games are getting more realistic with each passing day, offering us experiences that are as good as movies. But this doesn't mean that the traditional sidescrolling games don't have a place in the current market, quite the opposite actually. However, to stand out from other games, these type games need to deliver a decent and unique gameplay. Roland Studio's Daydreamer: Awakened Edition tries to do this with some interesting ideas, but fails on some crucial gameplay aspects.
The story of Daydreamer: Awakened Edition takes place in a distant future where the Earth has been taken over by aliens and undergoing a civil war. To memorialize their victory over the Human race, the aliens placed a young human in a stasis chamber. However, the mysterious Immortal Gate Keeper liberates her and sets her on a mission to save the planet.
The game is split into 14 stages, with each stage having several monsters and a boss battle at its end. While you can destroy these monsters with melee attacks, the most appropriate to kill them is with guns. You can have up to four different kinds of guns at your disposal, each with their own characteristics that make them suitable for specific situations. There's "normal" weapons that just shoot bullets in a straight line, laser guns that destroy everything in front of you, guns that lock on targets automatically, flamethrowers, nukes, among others. The ammo is limited, but aside from boss battles, the game provides enough ammo so that you won't have any trouble killing everything.
While having different kinds of guns adds a lot of variety and different options to approach combat, the controls themselves don't make things easy for the player. For starters, you can't fire your gun when walking/running, only when standing still or during jumps. This makes the gameplay really frustrating as it becomes extremely difficult to attack the enemy without taking damage, especially in boss battles. Although some guns, such as the one where the bullets will automatically lock on targets, make this a bit more bearable, it doesn't hide the fact that this is a terrible gameplay option.
Fortunately, the game offers a few mechanics that help you move and evade enemy attacks more easily. You can press the R2/L2 buttons to Warp dash, which allows you to quickly evade enemy attacks or go through an enemy without taking damage. You also a parry shield, which when activated at the right time, will block an incoming enemy attack. Although these mechanics are certainly useful, they are not enough to hide the fact that the combat gameplay is mediocre at best.
In addition, the game also features special "pets" that can be summoned to help you in combat. There add some depth and strategy to the gameplay as there are several different pets to choose from that provide different types of assistance. For example, there's a turtle that heals you while also providing you with ammo, there's a cat that fly around you and boosts your attack power, among others.
Since this is a sidescrolling game, it's logical that platforming is also a major aspect of the game. Unfortunately, the platforming does an even worse job than the combat gameplay. There are several occasions where you have to use double jump, Warp Dash and Wall Jump to progress forward, evade enemy attacks and traps, among other hazards. However, the problem here is that the controls are imprecise and could use some work as they aren't polished enough to make any movement effective without some frustrating moments.
The game doesn't offer much more than this and doesn't get any better as you progress through it. Daydreamer is also a very short experience, with the average taking 2 to 3 hours to complete the game and with no real incentive to play it again.
While the game leaves a lot to be desired from a gameplay perspective, the overall presentation is quite the opposite. From the unique and colorful character and enemy designs, to the detailed and varied backgrounds, the game's visuals are certainly the game's strongest aspect. While not as outstanding as the visuals, the soundtrack also does a fairly decent job and set the mood really well.
Overall, Daydreamer: Awakened Edition is a game that showed a lot of promise but falls short because of bad gameplay options. From the terrible platforming and unpolished controls, to not being able to attack while moving, this is a game that will lead players to some really frustrating moments. While the game presentation does hold well on its own, this is a game that most will either stop playing after a few minutes or complete it just because it's a short game.
|Several different kinds of guns.|
|Pets add some depth and strategy to the combat.|
|Colorful and detailed backgrounds.|
|Not being able to move while shooting is a terrible gameplay option.|
|Horrible platforming and unpolished controls.|
|Short game with no replay value.|