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Habbo Dreams

For: Mobile

Sleeping has never been such hard work…

Product: Habbo Dreams | Publisher: Telcogames | Developer: Sulake | Format: Mobile | Genre: Puzzle, Simulation | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 76KB | Reviewed on: K750i other handsets | Version: Europe
 
Habbo Dreams Mobile, thumbnail 1
A game about sleeping doesn't sound that exciting, but then some of the best games have been about the most unlikely of things – rotating falling blocks to make them slot together, jumping the barrels a giant monkey is throwing at you, eating dots while pretending to be a yellow pizza… the list could go on.

Besides, Habbo Dreams isn't exactly about sleeping – it's about chasing away nightmares swooping in on a small boy. As he lies in his bed, gently snoring, all sorts of nightmarish apparitions – tip-toeing cactus men, big-headed ice people, evil space ducks and crawling crocodiles – are trying to reach him. If they succeed, he wakes up in a night sweat and it's game over.

Stopping the bad dreams is easy (if only it was as simple in real life, we wouldn't have to suffer any more night visions about drowning in custard or being naked at the work Christmas party): each advancing bad dream has a word attached to it, and you just need to type in the word in a predictive text style. Once it's spelled out, the dream disappears.

Because very quick two-fingered texting is called for, it's an annoying fact of life that your little sister is inevitably going to be better at this game than you. However, it's not just the speed of your fingers that counts, but also how quickly you can register an onslaught of random words without your brain seizing up, as well as strategically using the power-ups that come along.

At the start, only random letters and short words appear. Then, level four introduces some commonly texted words like 'goodbye', 'studying' and 'running late'. These would be quite easy, if the game didn't then start to throw their misspellings at you – 'godobye' and 'studynig'.

Whether you can normally spell or not, deliberately spelling a word incorrectly takes some mastering of brain over finger control, and Habbo Dreams suddenly gets excruciatingly mind-bending.

There are three different modes to play: Story enables progress through the differently-themed levels; Arcade, where you play levels you've unlocked for high scores; and My Game. As the name suggests, in the latter you can create your own experience by entering up to 15 words, which are then used in the game. Ideal for challenging friends with extra long words, or just a novel way of insulting them.

With the power-ups that appear on screen alongside the dreams, playing Arcade mode for high scores is more addictive than you'd think, especially when in competition with someone else. For instance, typing 'extra life' when one comes along wins you a precious life, but you obviously do so at the risk of letting the nightmares close in. Other examples include 'slow' and the rather useful 'bonzai', which destroys all the nightmares on the screen.

Arcade also has the added challenge of collecting three flowers (by typing in their colours, white, red or blue) to unlock a bonus points game with leaping sheep.

Since it's all about typing words, the visuals could be sparser and the game still perfectly playable, but Habbo Dreams looks and sounds good, too. You get an isometric view of your boy in bed, and every level has a different theme which is reflected in the swishy, sleepy music, the types of nightmares coming for you, and the words you type.

It's very playable, in a just-one-more-go way, and very smartly presented. And if 'touch texting' ever becomes a skill worthy of putting on your CV, you're going to be glad you played it.
 
Habbo Dreams
Reviewer photo
Kath Brice | 1 February 2007
Cute, addictive and original, Habbo Dreams is no nightmare to play. And it fools people on the train into thinking you've got hundreds of friends to send important texts to...
 
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