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Dream Chaser

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Not quite a dreamboat

Product: Dream Chaser | Developer: we.R.play | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Endless running | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Dream Chaser iPhone, thumbnail 1
Most endless-runners don't give you a narrative - just a motivation. Temple Run is all about getting away from monkeys, and Canabalt is all about just getting away. Even the games that do dally with a proper story do so with one eye on the fact that no one's going to really care.

In Dream Chaser's Story mode, some of the talking-head cutscenes that occur before your magical sprints are longer than the levels themselves. Thankfully, they're skippable, but it highlights the fact that this is a game that often focuses on the wrong things.

Mr. Sandman

As is the style right now, the game is a forward-racing, three-dimensional auto-sprinter. You tilt your iOS device left and right to weave around the path you're on and tap on the right hand of the screen to leap into the air.

Glittering white orbs litter the path, and collecting these fills up a boost meter. Once this is full, tapping on it makes your sprint even faster. You can collect more orbs to create a combo chain that sees you speeding along at a breakneck pace. Take a hit, though, and you have to build your combo all over again.

Story mode and Endless mode handle failure in different ways. In Story you can take three hits before you die. Dying counts as failure, and you have a finite set of retries. Once these have run out you either have to buy more or wait a few hours for them to regenerate.

Endless mode is a little more innovative. A bar ticks down at the top of the screen and you need to make it to a gate before it runs out. Hitting scenery takes off chunks of the bar, so you need to be quick and careful or time runs out and you die.

Nights into dreams

In Story mode you're chasing objectives rather than the infinite, and it's here that the real meat of the game can be found. It acts as a tutorial of sorts, too, introducing you to the mechanics you need to understand to succeed in Endless.

Both here and in the Endless mode the game reveals its arcade colours. Sprinting between objectives before a clock runs out brings to mind the likes of OutRun, albeit without the same tension as Sega's racing classic.

IAPs explained
There's just one currency in Dream Chaser, and as you might expect from the title, it's called Dreams.

You collect these orbs as you run, but you can also buy them if you're feeling flush. A small pack costs you 69p and gets you 50,000, while a chest costs £10.99 and gets you 2,500,000.

As IAPs go, they're pretty competitively priced. Infinite continues in Story mode costs 180,000 dream orbs, for example, and a box of 300,000 costs £2.49.

If you'd rather just get the orbs through your crazy endless-running skills, you can give your self a boost with the Dream Maker IAP that doubles the orbs you've collected for £1.49.
The fact you that can run out of continues makes for a slightly staccato experience, and while you can top up with exorbitant amounts of the game's currency it feels like an IAP too far in a genre that's all about picking up the pieces and trying again.

Of course, you can just jump into the Endless mode, but it lacks some of the challenge-completing imperative of the Story, and you're more likely to just set your device aside and wait for another chance to complete the stage you're stuck on.

Dream on

There's a standard array of power-ups to collect and upgrade, from magnets to shields, and they add to the feeling that, while there are some nice ideas here, the game too often rests on the laurels of its genre rather than attempting to create something truly unique.

There are entertaining moments here, but they're too often obscured by some poor decisions and a narrative that you won't really care about. When you are running, it'll be with a smile on your face, but quite often it takes too long to get there.

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Dream Chaser
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 9 April 2013
It has a few stand-out moments, but too often Dream Chaser puts a wall between you and your enjoyment
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