NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams Review for Wii

On: Wii

Check out VideoGamer.com's NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams Video Review.

According to the internet, flying dreams mean one of three things. If you're flying with ease and having a whale of a time then you're doing well in real life - you're on top of things. If your flying dream is a bit like riding the passenger seat with those weirdoes from the reality driving test show, then that means you're struggling to control your own life and may have encountered obstacles that are holding you back. And finally, if you feel afraid when you're flying, then that means you're scared of making a success of your life and have issues with facing up to life's difficulties. Interesting eh?

More interesting perhaps is working out what category of flying dream NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, the follow up to 1996's SEGA Saturn classic NiGHTS into Dreams, falls into. Well, it's certainly not the fear one, since the game world Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka has created is so bubbly, so fantastical, carries so little threat and is so easy to play that no-one in their right mind could find it scary. Silent Hill NiGHTS is not.

So, determining what kind of dream NiGHTS is boils down to whether or not you feel in control of your flight, which, suitably, depends on what controller set-up you use to play the game.

Playing NiGHTS with the Wii Remote is rubbish. Let's just let that loose early. Here you guide NiGHTS around by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen and moving what's called the Mindsight, a small circle that directs where you want him to go. The level of control here is poor to say the least, and often extremely frustrating. The Owl, your guide throughout the game, says early on that you might not want to play the game with the Mindsight because it's pretty advanced. Well it's not advanced, it's just pointless.

Do yourself a favour and drop the Wii Remote for this game

Do yourself a favour and drop the Wii Remote for this game

And it's pointless because you can alternatively control movement with the control stick of the Nunchuk, Classic Controller or GameCube pad, all of which give you a much better level of control. With Mindsight on you'll be banging you head against the TV trying to get NiGHTS to do a Paraloop - created when you form a circle with loop the loops. But with a control stick you'll be able to direct NiGHTS' movement just like Cristiano Ronaldo caresses a football.

If you're anything like me you'll give Mindsight a shot during the opening tutorial in the Dream Gate - the game's main hub from which you can enter the various Nightopias, or dream worlds - and then never try it again. This would be a criticism of the game if using Mindsight was the only way to play NiGHTS. But since every Wii owner will have a Nunchuk, we'll just say it's a tacked-on way of using the motion sensing technology and leave it there.

So, it looks like we've determined what kind of flying dream NiGHTS is - the one where you're at perfect ease. But this analogy doesn't paint an entirely accurate picture. NiGHTS is an enchanting, enjoyable, almost therapeutic game for two missions per Nightopia. But for the other three missions it's at best average and at worst frustrating.

Journey of Dreams sees you control one of two playable characters, Will Taylor, a 12-year-old aspiring footballer who has issues with his absent father, and Helen Cartwright, a 12-year-old violinist who prefers to spend time eating ice cream and shopping with her friends than playing with her mother. When they fall asleep Will and Helen enter the Night Dimension. There they are charged with "Dualising" with NiGHTS and saving Nightopia from the impressively designed bad guy Wizeman, his right-hand man Reala, NiGHTS' version of Shadow the Hedgehog, and the entire Nightmaren force.

Despite some phoney British accents (Will and Helen are from an alternative London but I'm sure they've spent time in the US), both kids are quite likeable in a childlike wonderment kind of way. It's like a less good version of entrancing Japanese animated movie Spirited Away, which is no bad thing. The problem isn't with them; it's with what the game has you do with them.

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Game Stats

NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
7
Out of 10
NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
  • Looks and sounds enchanting
  • Classic NiGHTS gameplay returns
  • Platform missions are terrible
  • Few new ideas
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 18/01/2008
Platform: Wii
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Platformer
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 2,992 21
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