Dream Chronicles (series)
This article is about the series of Dream Chronicles video games. For an overview of the first game of the series, see Dream Chronicles.
|Dream Chronicles (series)|
|Microsoft Windows and macOS|
Dream Chronicles is a casual adventure, hidden object and puzzle computer game series created by KatGames and published by PlayFirst. It's also the name of the first game of the series. Dream Chronicles was pitched to PlayFirst at the first Casual Games Association event in Amsterdam in February 2006 and became the very first casual adventure game to hit the mainstream casual game industry. The game prototype was rejected by several publishers, but after coming up with the premise of Dream Chronicles, KatGames was signed-up by PlayFirst and completed the title. The game as well as the series received mostly outstanding receptions from game critics and casual gamers, who often describe it as "a Myst-style adventure featuring stunning Art Nouveau-inspired graphics, gripping music and an absorbing storyline." The first game also marked the birth of the "Hidden Object & Adventure" genre in casual game, which is very popular and highly demanding right now. Dream Chronicles became one of the most popular and recognizable casual game series of all-time, with the first 3 games being downloaded more than 30 million times as of July 2009.
The Dream Chronicles series is divided into two small, strong-connecting trilogies, Faye's Journey and Lyra's Destiny, with 3 games each and 2 core stories. First released as a download in June 2007, the original Dream Chronicles quickly became a casual game hit, peaked high on many major casual game charts and proved to be one of the biggest and most innovative casual games of 2007. The original game won People’s Choice Award for the "Best Hidden Object & Adventure Game of 2007" in July 2008. The first trilogy continued successfully with Dream Chronicles 2 and The Chosen Child, which had been already released in February 2008 and April 2009 respectively, enjoyed the same success on casual game charts and earned many thumb-ups from critics and gamers. The second trilogy started with The Book of Air, which was released in late June 2010, though it was somewhat criticized for not matching the standards of 3 previous games. The final two, The Book of Water and The Book of Fire are both scheduled to be released sometime in 2011. That means after the Mystery Case Files, Dream Chronicles becomes the second series in the casual game history which will have 6 games in a series.
Development[edit | edit source]
History[edit | edit source]
Over a year before the first breakaway hidden object games hit computer screens, the team at KatGames - a small, independent casual game developer - had a vision: a game with an unproven mechanic in the casual space, a game deeply committed to building a story world, a game where every action the player took connected to a mysterious and compelling storyline. But this vision required pushing the boundaries of what they’d seen before: art budget, performance, and player appetites would all be put to the test. “Dream Weaving” became a recurring theme for the team at KatGames. Before Dream Chronicles era, they had created 8 games but none of them earned success because of their poor low-budget appearances. Being aware of this, when starting developing the ninth game - known as Dream Chronicles now - they moonlighted on it during other projects, hoping the game would one day get the funding and attention it deserved.
Over the course of 2005, Miguel Tartaj, KatGames' CEO and lead game designer, shared the game idea with two potential partners but according to him "it didn't go anywhere". Tartaj wanted to find a publisher who could provide his team with the creative input and non-development support. He also needed a partner whom his team trusted and had a track record of successfully navigating the casual games market. Tartaj first met PlayFirst's creative director Kenny Dinkin and Director of Publishing Craig Bocks at Casual Connect Amsterdam in 2006. He was impressed by their dedication to creativity and innovation and could immediately sense that they shared his vision to make this unique game a reality. KatGames eventually signed an agreement to PlayFirst on what came to be known in June 2007 as Dream Chronicles.
Tartaj shared: "We knew that an adventure game like Dream Chronicles was going to be unique for our team and unique for the casual games industry. In a world where swapping colored gems in a match 3 game, or juggling tasks in a time management game is the norm, the iterative nature of a story-based game like Dream Chronicles was going to require a much higher degree of flexibility throughout the game's design and development process. Each new scene involved unique graphics, puzzles, and story elements, so we knew that it wouldn't all be 'figured out' up front. I prefer to work more iteratively and put pieces together to try things out as we go along. PlayFirst's willingness to accept this fact was something that I appreciated in terms of my work style. Not only being able to work this way, but to also be supported in doing it was a great advantage for my team. We truly were able to 'dream' as we went along."
After the first huge success of the original Dream Chronicles, KatGames can finally devote their time to making the Dream Chronicles series, which is supported heavily by PlayFirst and other third-party developers. KatGames team design the concepts, artworks and gameplay while partners work on visual effects, music, story and marketing. Since 2007, each year new Dream Chronicles title has been announced and released. Even in 2011, 2 new sequels of this series will be released.
Production[edit | edit source]
From the start, the goal with the Dream Chronicles series is to bring the story and adventure to life in a world inspired by a very unique art style. The work of Antonio Gaudi – a famous Spanish architect known for his fantastic modern designs – is at the heart of this inspiration. The Art Nouveau movement that he represented provides the perfect combination of fantasy and reality with his designs being based on very appealing and organic shapes. When starting the design of a scene for one of the Dream Chronicles games, KatGames do extensive research to gather reference and ideas for the architecture, devices, and graphical elements that could be used. Based on these materials, they create sketches to consolidate the ideas and see how all the elements fit together. Since the game is presented from a first-person point of view, a principal sketch is created with particular attention given to how the scene is framed and composed – as if someone was actually standing in the space. To develop the more complex objects, additional sketches are often created to communicate an extra level of detail to the modelers."
Gamezebo's Erin Bell stated: "The Dream Chronicles series has earned a reputation for having beautiful visuals and music [...] Each of the game's environments has been lovingly crafted with a soft, distinctive art style bursting with detail, and the soundtrack is equally evocative. In short, [it] boasts production values that put many of the recent hidden object game releases to shame. It really does seem like there's an aura of magic about the game with the way things can change on a whim and objects suddenly appear in different places."
Awem Studio while reviewing the original Dream Chronicles, noted: "The most pleasant and fascinating part of Dream Chronicles is its artwork. The graphics are stunning, the locations are charming and you will want to see the upcoming levels and what the designers have created. The soundtrack is delicate and soothing, and Dream Chronicles brings you to the world of mystery and creates an appropriate atmosphere."
Story[edit | edit source]
Backstory[edit | edit source]
Players can have a fully deep look about the fairy world in the Dream Chronicles series by solving 15 Dream Jewels' secrets in Dream Chronicles 2. Those secrets also reveal how the story in the first Dream Chronicles begins.
Long ago, the first fairies were created from mortals when a meteor collided with a field of magic crystals. This occurred at the Ancients' Place, where fairies have since lived for thousands of years. There, they created a hierarchy, assigning each fairy to an area of the earth: some to the oceans, some to the air, some to weather, and some to dreams. The Fairy Lord directed everything and selected a Dream Librarian to record everything the fairies did, said, and decided. The first fairies used the Print Stones Machine to create the first volumes of fairy knowledge and history. These volumes were overseen by the Dream Librarian, who has later editions of the same volumes deep in the bowels of the Dream Library. New works and observations are created constantly.
Many years after the creation of the fairies there was another spectacular astrological event. Three stars aligned in the heavens and then fell from the sky. The fairies took that as a sign that it was time to leave the Ancients' Place and spread out all over the world to run the realm in the ways they had determined. That was when some fairies assumed control over the dreams of mortals. With their sudden exodus, they left behind many structures that now help others understand the Way of the Ancient Fairies. Finally, after seeing a sign from the heavens, the fairies left the Ancients' Place. They still return to meditate upon their fairy origins. No mortals may enter this sacred place. Any who do cannot be allowed to leave, lest they divulge fairy information or history. Fairies have inbred for centuries, due to their system of arranged marriages. Few have gone out into the mortal world to live as mortals, and those who have are generally shunned. Once they infiltrated the Mortal World, fairies put their hands into everything. Their specialties and assigned duties were to watch over natural forces, such as wind and fire, tides and growth, and all matters plant-related. Initially, they did just that under the Fairy Lord's guidance and watchful eye. The Dream Librarian documented those natural events.
The Fairy Lord once embarked on one of his usual quests, in one of his many disguises, during which he routinely checked on fairy functions and took care of problems within the realm. After paying a visit to the Fairies of the Deep, he vanished. For a long time, the Dream Librarian admitted to no one that the Fairy Lord was missing. She filled in diligently, making decisions, mediating disputes, and continuing to chronicle all fairy matters. But the tasks are too great, even for a fairy as learned as she. Deep down, she believes the Fairy Lord is gone, and that she must find a replacement desperately. None of the existing fairies can become Fairy Lord. Their baggage is too great, their scope too limited. The Dream Librarian seeks someone with roots similar to those of the original Fairy Lord, who began as a mortal and became a fairy. Meanwhile, Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, took advantage of Fairy Lord's disappearance by capturing a fairy names Fidget and putting the mortals of Wish under a dream spell.
Faye's Journey[edit | edit source]
Dream Chronicles, Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze and Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child belong to the first trilogy of the series named Faye's Journey, telling the story of a mortal woman names Faye, who is the only one to be able to wake up from a dream spell and embarks on many long-lasting dangerous quests to save her husband as well as her daughter.
Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, casts a sleep spell upon the entire Wish town, making every mortal falls into a magic sleep. She also abducts a fairy names Fidget living here. However, before his abduction, Fidget, using his remaining power, removes the sleep spell from Faye - his wife and our heroine - and leaves a path for her to follow in his diary. Waking up from the dream, Faye can't believe that those things happen in her dreams really happen in reality. No one besides her, even if yes, they're sleeping sound. Along with facing many obstacles arranged by Lilith as she wants to prevent anyone from ruining her sound-to-be-perfect plans, Faye starts to discover her in-law family's secret: They're ALL fairies. She also discovers that all marriages are arranged in the Fairy Realm, and the concept of love was unknown until his parents Aeval and Tangle as fairies fell in love. Fidget was to marry Lilith, but his parents chose to raise him in the mortal world, so he, too, could marry for love. Lilith believes that her marriage to Fidget will strengthen her powers as the Fairy Queen of Dreams. But since Fidget married Faye, Lilith have started hatching an evil plan to make sure that Fidget is only for her own. Even being so confused, Faye has to believe what her husband has said as she discovers a human-talking carnivorous plant named Herbert, according to Fidget, is his mother's best friend. Leaving the comfort of in-law's family and her hometown Village of Wish, Faye ventures outside on the lonely quest to save her husband but she quickly gets lost when moon rises. Luckily, a sign shows her directly to Lilith's mansion, where Faye thinks Lilith is keeping her husband. She finally finds and reunites with Fidget momentarily. Unfortunately, as Lilith appears, she separates the couple the second time, brings Fidget with her and casts another sleep spell upon Faye.
Lilith, having abducted Fidget again, sends Faye to a forgotten fairy prison where no mortal has ever escaped from. Waking up from Lilith's dream spell again, Faye is helped by Aeval - the Fairy Queen of Flora, Faye's mother-in-law - who manages to send a diary and helps Faye find way out. Escaping from the prison rooms, Faye explores the Ancients' Place, the fairy's birthplace, where they used to live for a long time ago. She also has to start facing many obstacles arranged by Lilith as she wants to prevent Faye directly from ruining her almost perfect plans. Looking at the nearest crystal ball, Aeval informs Faye that Lyra is no longer sleeping in her bed, and it is assumed that Lilith has taken her hostage. Aeval also tells Faye to hurry, as Fidget's hope of being rescued is fading, and he may succumb to marrying Lilith. Faye needs to meet and ask for help of an old Aeval's friend names Merrow, an inventor who lives in the Mortal Realm. Arriving at Merrow's cottage, Faye actually finds him as a human-talking plant at his secret lab. Merrow agrees to take Faye to the Tower of Dreams where, according to him, Fidget and Lyra are being kept hostage by Lilith. Beside the Tower has a strange tree but Merrow declares that "it's not important", Faye skips it and enters the enormous tower, thing that no mortal have done before. She enters without Merrow's help as he can't enter. Reaching the sixth and top floor, Faye founds a bed there, reminding her much of the bedroom in home. Bearing enough nightmares since husband was abducted, Faye just wants to have a nap. But as soon as she touches the bed, Aeval tells Faye that Merrow is a traitor and she must escape from the tower. Faye jumps out of the tower window and is caught by Aeval's vines. Aeval then leads Faye to the Eternal Tree, that tree she skipped before, where Fidget and Lyra are thought to be being held underneath. Faye enters the tree and finds a sleeping Fidget and Lyra's favourite teddy bear. Aeval tells Faye to find a root potion from the Eternal Maze that will awaken Fidget. After Faye emerges from the Eternal Maze with the potion, the teddy bear vanishes. Faye gives the potion to Fidget, and they are finally reunited, but they must now find their missing daughter.
Faye is living in a tree house as Brenna, having lost all her memories of the previous adventures. Images of a strange man, a little girl and an evil woman often appear in dreams and frustrate Brenna as well. One day, waking up from a dream like this, Brenna suddenly finds a crystal ball, in which a man - just like in her dreams - appears to urge her to find a girl names Lyra. Bewildered and confused but Brenna still listens to that strange man's tips as she says she can believe him. Brenna is led to a strange house whose is herbalist through a magical nexus gateway. After concocting a memory recovery potion, Brenna finally remembers everything: herself Faye, her husband Fidget, her missing daughter Lyra, and the rival Lilith as the Fairy Queen of Dreams. Faye quickly goes on her way to rescue her daughter, following clues left to her by an unknown. Now she knows that Lilith is hiding in her retreat lies beneath the sea. As Faye feels more closer to Lyra, she knows that she needs to keep going on. After going to under the sea, traveling through many strange rooms and two labyrinths, Faye eventually arrives at Lilith's retreat and meets her. Faye demands to know where Lyra is. Lilith calmly tells Faye that the Dream Librarian has abducted Lyra, believing her to the Chosen Child of prophecy. This prophecy states that a half-fairy, half-mortal child will replace the missing Fairy Lord. Lilith reveals that she is the one guiding Faye all along with those clues she left for Faye before, as she refuses to accept Lyra as her Fairy Lord. Suddenly, strangely, Lilith asks to help Faye bring Lyra back. Being acknowledge that Lilith has her own "selfish interests at heart" but Faye still accepts Lilith's help. Going back to the Enchanted Tree, Faye takes Lyra's teddy bear and brings Lyra back at her home in Wish. Faye's family is finally united after all. A new life has already opened above them. With Faye, she says these fairy adventures "will haunt my dreams forever". But one thing she doesn't know that Lilith is pregnant. And no one knows exactly what Lilith will be up to.
Lyra's Destiny[edit | edit source]
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air, Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water and Dream Chronicles: The Book of Fire belong to the second trilogy of the series named Lyra's Destiny, telling the story of a mortal young girl names Lyra, who embarks on many unforeseen quests, just like her mother Faye used to do, to reveal and to accept her unique destiny: Become the new Fairy Lord.
The day before the 18th birthday, Lyra, a mortal girl, has a strange dream. All her friends and family are present and her grandfather Tangle says he has an amazing gift. But then Lyra hears a whisper and everyone disappears. Lyra stays alone in her beloved town of Wish, trapped in a parallel dimension which is very similar to her own. Guided by the messages left by Tangle and using her father's airship, Lyra is trying to find the Clockmaker, the only person who can help Lyra get back home and reunite with her family and friends. She finally finds the Clockmaker in his hideout, the Crater of Time and thankfully he agrees to help her. Lyra must find 3 keys in 3 separately hidden areas - the Treehouse Village, the Wind Music Island and the Water Collector - to re-activate the Clockmaker's Time Synchronization Machine. On arriving in the Wind Music Island, Lyra is notified that the music eons in this island was once created by fairies who used to live here. Lyra finds her grandfather's notified note confusing but she gradually believes what is happening with her is touched by fairies' hands: the magical chalkboard, the hidden airship, the strange whisper..., not including those powerful powers that Lyra discovers by herself. After finding all 3 keys, Lyra backs to the Crater of Time to finish her mission here and can finally head back to her original dimension with so much questions are yet to be answered. But instead of welcoming Lyra with sunshine, the Village of Wish becomes dark and full of thunders. Lyra wonders what will be waiting her next.
Characters[edit | edit source]
First 4 people listed below are the main characters, the half rest are recurring characters. In the Dream Chronicles series, characters normally appear in cut-scenes, but there are some exceptions: Fidget appears in person in the last scene of both Dream Chronicles and Dream Chronicles 2, and Lilith appears in the 24th scene of The Chosen Child.
- Lilith is the Fairy Queen of Dreams, the daughter of the Fairy King of Darkness and Fairy Queen of Night, which is both good and bad. She is the main antagonist of the first Faye's Journey trilogy. Lilith was betrothed to Fidget before he married Faye and is determined to claim Fidget as her husband. She repeatedly abducts Fidget, as she believes marrying him will make her powers stronger. Lilith also casts an enchanting sleep spell on everyone in Village of Wish to make sure that her plans go smooth and no one can disturb her bringing Fidget back to the Land of Fairies forever. She often appears mostly and almost in cut-scenes. Lilith finally appears in person in The Chosen Child to reveal Lyra's fate with Faye and seems like she's hatching other evil plans in the future.
- Fidget is the beloved teacher in the Village of Wish and the son of parents highly placed in the fairy world. His parents broke from fairy tradition and married out of love. Considered outcasts, they settled in the mortal town of Wish. He was raised as a mortal though born a fairy. As Fidget grows older, his parents tell him of his roots and teach him the Way of the Fairy. Fidget is well educated by his parents, both in things of his mortal world and things of the fairy world. He followed in his parent’s footsteps and fled an arranged fairy marriage to Lilith to follow his heart. The secret of his fairy roots was once safe, until Lilith snatched him away. Already being aware of Lilith's evil plans, Fidget tried to protect his family but when things goes wrong, Lilith abducts and buys him to the Dream Realm. She finally releases Fidget at the end of Dream Chronicles 2, unfortunately she sends him into a crystal ball. Fidget has appeared in all Dream Chronicles games, also plays as Faye's guider in the original Dream Chronicles. He only appears at the end of the first game, the beginning and the end of the second game and along with Faye in the third one as her helper.
- Aeval, Fairy Queen of Flora, is Fidget's mother and Faye's mother-in-law. She fell in love with Tangle, and they escaped to the Mortal Realm together. Aeval not only talks to plants; they talk to her. There are plants throughout the Mortal and Fairy Realms, they can communicate with each other through their root systems, through fallen leaves captured by the wind fairies, and through pollen and seeds carried by the water fairies. All these plants ultimately communicate with Aeval. If there is trouble far away, the plants are able to transmit this information to Aeval. Her bestfriend is actually a carnivorous plant named Herbert. She and her plants try to help Faye to find Fidget in Dream Chronicles 2 and is not mentioned much in this installment.
- Tangle, Fairy King of Knowledge, is Fidget's father and Faye's father-in-law. He and Aeval escaped to the Mortal Realm together to make sure that their children will be bought up naturally and humanly. As Fairy King of Knowledge, reading books is his "endless pursuit", said Fidget. Tangle was the Dream Librarian's most devoted student, and is almost as knowledgeable as her. Tangle has the advantage of knowing more of mortal life, having lived in the mortal world for so long, but the Dream Librarian knows more of the Fairy Ways. Tangle did not appear in the first series but he plays as Lyra's guide in The Book of Air. Like her wife, Aeval, he's only mentioned and plays a minor role in the first trilogy.
- Merrow is a fairy who left the Fairy Realm to pursue the study of science without the interference of magic. This angered Lilith's mother, who stripped him of his fairy powers. When Tangle and Aeval escaped with baby Fidget, Merrow helped them. In gratitude, Aeval gave him the ability to communicate with plants. Though he is eccentric, he is knowledgeable, and knows secret passages into the Fairy Realm. Only he can guide a mortal there. In Dream Chronicles 2, he - as an insect-eating plant - helps Faye to reach the Tower of Dreams and then disappears strangely.
- Dream Librarian holds all knowledge, history, and wisdom, and uses it to create countless volumes of books in her enormous library. She has, or can find, the answers to every question involving the Fairy Realm. Because of her vast knowledge, she is the primary advisor to the Fairy Lord. Lilith once reveals that Dream Librarian believes that Lyra was the Chosen Child and that she is actually the one who tries to separate Faye and Fidget. This character hasn't appeared yet, she's only mentioned by Lilith and through Dream Jewels' secrets in Dream Chronicles 2.
Setting[edit | edit source]
KatGames design a mystical world of realistic fantasy where mortal and fairy realms collide for the Dream Chronicles series, which no casual game developer has done before. In every game, players have to travel back-and-forth between 2 realms and gradually discover the history of each location. There are many notable locations in the series:
- The Village of Wish: This is the tiny town of Wish, where Faye lives with her husband Fidget, her daughter Lyra and Fidget's parents, Tangle and Aeval. It’s an insular place, far from cities and civilization. The town is surrounded by tall walls, not to keep the residents inside, for they have no desire to leave the safety and warmth of their community. The walls are there to keep the outside world outside, and are secured with complex weighted locks first seen in Dream Chronicles. The streets are cobbled, lined with colorful dwellings and stores. Beyond the walls of Wish lie lush forests and winding roads that, eventually, lead to other larger towns. But the folk of Wish have little desire to visit those distant places. Their homes are secure in their beloved village where, they believe, no harm can come to them. Before Faye, no one had left this village in many years. This is where Faye to start her journey for the first time.
- Lilith's Mansion: This is Lilith's temporary home. In the original Dream Chronicles, she executed her plans to kidnap Fidget from this location.
- The Forgotten Prison: There are 3 chambers in this prison. Fairies that fought the elements of nature were imprisoned here. This is where Faye to start her journey for the second time.
- The Mortal Maze: This is the underground tunnel that leads from the fairy realm to the mortal realm.
- Merrow's Cottage: Merrow's cottage was once a sanctuary for fairies escaping into the mortal realm.
- The Tower of Dreams: It holds all the knowledge, wisdom, history, and insights of the fairies. Because of the value of its contents, it is guarded by five ancient Fairy Knights and each floor is protected by ingenious locks. The upper floor is where dreams can be made and watched. In Dream Chronicles 2, Merrow believes that Lilith is holding Fidget and Lyra on that floor. The Eternal Maze lies near this tower.
- The Eternal Maze: As a final safeguard so that no mortal could ever enter or leave the Ancients' Place, the fairies created an underground maze with no light and no map. Unfortunately, this made fairy passage almost impossible as well, and so some of the fairies created a map to help them find their way between realms.
- The Treehouse Village: The people of this village believe that strange occurrences will befall them if they don't live high in tree tops. This is where Faye to start her journey for the third and final time. This is also a part of the green belt that runs through the fairy world. It is all part of Aeval’s plant network. Though others may doubt it, Aeval always knew that the trees saw and remembered everything. Over time they have been used to hide treasures and secrets. In The Book of Air, someone within the fairy world has turned the trees to gold, keeping them from “speaking” with Aeval. The trees are being used to protect a key – the very key the Clockmaker needs to fix his Time Synchronization Machine. Lyra must help the trees in order for the trees to help Lyra.
- The Nexus Gateway: This is the transportation hub that fairies use to travel quickly from the fairy realm to the mortal realm. In The Chosen Child, players can travel to 6 locations from here: The Treehouse Village, the Herbalist's House, the Observatory, the Village of Wish (Faye's House), the Underwater Retreat, the Eternal Maze.
- The Observatory: The magic telescope is used to convert constellations into molds. Molds are used in the Forge to create Dream Jewels to open new places in the Nexus Gateway.
- The Herbalist's House: The herbalist is a mortal who acquired fairy knowledge and experimented with potions from various plants.
- The Crater of Time: This is a distant frozen tundra from where the Clockmaker, a powerful if solitary fairy, synchronizes time both in the mortal and fairy worlds. The low temperatures at the Crater of Time are useful for slowing any clocks that might consider racing ahead. The eternal snow keeps the Clockmaker’s parts pristine. No plants grow in his frozen wasteland but long ago Aeval brought him flowers from a more hospitable clime, and their image is now pressed into various pieces throughout the Clockmaker’s domain.
- The Wind Music Island: This is the place where fairies created the first music, using the instruments that can be found there. Mortal music, it is said, is born when mortals hear bits of fairy music while they sleep. In the distance, looming ominously, it's the Tower of Dreams, where Faye searched for Fidget in Dream Chronicles 2. Before the fairies moved on from Wind Music Island, they created a stone instrument band—musical instruments of stone that played music on their own so that the music would continue forever.
- The Water Collector: This is the basis of the infrastructure for fairy civilization. Here water is collected, purified, and dispersed. For many years Aeval took a proprietary interest in the Water Collector, to be certain all plants were adequately nourished. There is a system inside the cottage which tests not only the purity of the water, but the amount of elements within each measure of water. Water from different sources carries different properties, which are utilized by fairies responsible for different aspects of the world.
- The Barge City: This is a town built over the water, well south of the Village of Wish, and is the home of many fishermen and merchants. Lyra's journey will take her here in the fifth game of the series, The Book of Water.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
When players enter a room or any location for the first time, Faye/Lyra makes some entry statement to set players on the right track. Almost all the objects in the room can be described to players by Faye/Lyra, players just need to click on them and they’ll have a statement with a probable hint. Clicking items place them in your inventory at the bottom of the screen. Once there, players can use them on other objects and combine them to solve the various conundrums encountered. However, unlike most hard-core adventures, players never lug around any unnecessary inventory items here. All the items players collect can be used only within the location players found them in, but not in future puzzles. Solve the poser at hand and players unlock the door to the next location. But start from Dream Chronicles 2, the objects that players find may be used in a scene other than the one they found it in. Objects will stay in inventory until players need to use them. All objects that players are able to pick up will serve a purpose, whether they are used in that scene or not. A lot of times in this game the pieces players pick up may only be used as they get to the next scene. Some items may not become visible in a scene right away, players must perform other tasks first before they become visible.
Each Dream Chronicles game consists of a series of puzzles that the players, as Faye/Lyra must solve to reach the next chapter. Most involve searching for and making use of hidden objects, while others are logic puzzles. The players are required to do is collect a lot of items from the scenes or areas and put them back where they belonged. The whole game covers a wide range of game types, including adventure/role-playing, jigsaw, seek-and-find, Simon-style memory, word unscrambling, sliding, ask-and-answer... and even has a few mazes. Players are given hints as to how to proceed, and some brief instructions, but they need to work out what is actually required themselves. Every puzzle or item in each Dream Chronicles game is blended well with context and Dream Realm-themed story. The game is separated into many segments and there is a cut-scene between these ones. Cut-scenes in the Dream Chronicles series are often cinematic-like, wide-screen briefs, which tells the story as Faye/Lyra's point of view. Only a few characters appears directly in these.
Throughout each game, the players find various colored/transparent gems. These are Dream Pieces, gems that make up the unique Dream Jewels collection. Each Dream Chronicles game has its own different Dream Jewels collection with different names, shapes and usages. Completion of Dream Jewels is necessary to complete each game in the series. In the original Dream Chronicles, 8 Dream Jewels give a lot of detailed information about fairies and their roles in Dream Realm. In Dream Chronicles 2, 15 Dream Jewels answer and explain many dark secrets about Lilith, Lyra and Dream Realm. While in The Chosen Child, 10 Dream Jewels are used to open new areas. Finally, in The Book of Air, Dream Jewels come with special powers. Overall, finding and completing Dream Jewels also adds to the player's score at the end of the game. There are numerous Dream Pieces molding some exact numbers of Dream Jewels to complete in each Dream Chronicles game. Dream Jewels collection is a unique element of Dream Chronicles, which differs this series from any other casual games on the market. Though often being credited for borrowing Myst concepts but, in fact, Dream Chronicles is one of the earliest casual game series which has adventure elements combining with hidden object proportions.
Along with new designs, backgrounds, music, story-line and puzzles, KatGames add on every Dream Chronicles sequels a lots of twists to make sure that any new feature they added brought depth and enhanced what people already love about the Dream Chronicles experience and didn’t feel "tacked on" or unnecessary. The gameplays in Dream Chronicles sequels are quite the same traditional with the original Dream Chronicles but they're more involved than it. In Dream Chronicles 2, in order to solve puzzles, players can go back-and-forth among relative scenes in a separate area. While in The Chosen Child, players can travel to any of 7 areas in game by using nexus gateway. And in The Book of Air, players totally control their traveling by using Fidget's airship to explore the Dream Realm.
At the end of each game, player earns a high score, mostly based on how quick players can solve the puzzles and how fast they finish the game but in each installment has its different extra count. In the original Dream Chronicles, players only need to find and complete the Dream Jewels collection to earn high score, along with solving puzzles quickly. In Dream Chronicles 2, they have to solve Dream Jewels' secrets to do this. And in The Chosen Child, they have to find extra gold nuggets.
Main games[edit | edit source]
The series is mainly designed and developed by KatGames and released first by their direct publisher PlayFirst.
|Dream Chronicles||June 12, 2007||Windows, Mac OS X, Nintendo DS, Mobile, iPhone, Online, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze||February 14, 2008||Windows, Mac OS X, Online|
|Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child||April 16, 2009||Windows, Mac OS X|
|Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air||June 24, 2010||Windows, Mac OS X|
|Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water||TBA 2011||Windows, Mac OS X|
|The Book of Water will be released after The Book of Air somewhere in early 2011. It will be the fifth game of the Dream Chronicles series.|
|Dream Chronicles: The Book of Fire||TBA 2011||Windows, Mac OS X|
|The Book of Fire will be released after The Book of Water somewhere in late 2011. Rumors that it will be the sixth and the final game of the Dream Chronicles series.|
Reception and influences[edit | edit source]
Since the first release in June 2007, the series itself has garnered mostly positive reviews from game critics and outstanding applause from casual gamers for its stunning visuals, enchanting audio, intriguing Dream Realm-themed story and characters; which are mixed well with various types of interesting puzzles and twists to make the series always feel fresh and original.
Gamezebo, a popular casual game review site, rated the original Dream Chronicles the rare 5/5 stars. The reviewer, Chuck Miller, praised: "It's best described as a casual cousin to epic, hard-core adventures like Myst and Uru. A mix of fantasy and reality, its hypnotic dreamland engages you in a larger-than-life quest, a mystery that needs to be solved one puzzle at a time as the story unfolds around you. [...] Dream Chronicles has all the necessary ingredients of an exceptional game, one that lives up to its marketing hype. Art Nouveau graphics are beautifully rendered, an ethereal soundtrack helps bring the world to life, its engaging narrative draws you into the story and diverse puzzles of varying difficulty keep play interesting and challenging. [...] In short, solving Dream Chronicles's mysteries is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Place it at the top of your list of must-play games for 2007." In late 2007, the original Dream Chronicles was honored as one of the best casual games of 2007 in the annual Top Games list by Gamezebo's editors. In Zeebys 2008, the second annual casual game awards, the original Dream Chronicles game went to won a Zeebys award for People’s Choice Award for the "Best Hidden Object & Adventure Game of 2007" in July 2008. Before that, in late 2007, the game was also awarded for the "2nd Runner-Up Best Puzzle Game of 2007" as well as being placed at number one 2007 customer favorites by Big Fish Games.
Prior to Dream Chronicles release, hidden object games in casual game primarily featured only finding lists of objects. And the original Dream Chronicles and the series itself has been being acclaimed well because of its marking the birth of a new genre — rather the combination of hidden object portion and adventure-like elements — "Hidden Object & Adventure": Not only finding objects, players have to use the objects they've found to solve the in-game puzzles. After its initial release, there many Dream Chronicles-like, hidden object & adventure-combined casual games have been released following this formula, such as Escape the Museum, Natalie Brooks, Mushroom Age... with similar gameplays and concepts.
Two sequels, Dream Chronicles 2 and The Chosen Child, like the original Dream Chronicles, enjoyed the same success on many major casual game charts and earned many thumb-ups from critics and gamers.
Awem Studio praised Dream Chronicles 2: "The artwork is gorgeously dreamy and it adds some special coloring to the entire atmosphere of mystery and enigma and is a true feature of Dream Chronicles games. The backdrops are fragrant with eye-soothing nature and landscapes while the sounds of the game are incredibly enchanting and fascinating. The visual and sound aspects are greatly satisfying and create a real Dream World. Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze is one of those games that will be engraved in your memory and win over your heart. Don’t hesitate even for a moment and give it a try and you will see how much you’ll feel delighted and how deeply motivated you’ll be to complete Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze." In July 2009, Dream Chronicles 2 was honored 2 awards by RealArcade, "Top Adventure Game of 2008" and "Best World Design", in their very first Great Games Awards.
Meanwhile, John Bardinelli of Jay Is Games reviewed in his The Chosen Child game review: "The latest installment in the Dream Chronicles series has arrived, and it's as breathtakingly brilliant as everyone would expect. A little bit of hidden object finding, a little bit of puzzle solving, and a whole lot of adventuring can be found in this superb sequel, along with some of the most gorgeous scenery you've seen since looking out your own window (assuming you live in a fantasy world with fairies, fountains, and vibrant gardens). It's an excellent follow-up to the previous Dream Chronicles games and a fantastic game in its own right." Later in his review, he said: "These [Dream Chronicles] titles just keep getting better and better. It's a perfect blend of object finding and adventure gameplay, and the puzzles are constructed so cleverly you might even giggle when you think of the solution. And I swear you'll melt from the combination of the gorgeous visuals and enchanting music." In late 2009, The Chosen Child was placed at number two 2009 customer favorites by Big Fish Games. This is the second time a game in Dream Chronicles series entered the Big Fish Games' annual most popular games list. In June 2010, RealArcade announced that The Chosen Child was nominated for 2 awards, "Top Hidden Object Game of 2009" and "Best Story", in their second annual Great Game Awards but it didn't win any eventually.
But the Dream Chronicles series sometimes gets criticism, mostly for the first and forth game, for its short length which may cause disappointment to gamers. Gamezebo's Erin Bell once stated: "The length is disappointing when compared to other adventure games, even while acknowledging the attention to detail that care that KatGames put into every scene and puzzle."
Dream Chronicles soon becomes one of the most popular and recognizable casual game series. As of July 2009, the first 3 games had been downloaded more than 30 million times. In May 2010, PlayFirst announced that Dream Chronicles series will be expanded to 6 games, instead of 3 before, which means this is the second series in casual game history to accomplish this feat, after Mystery Case Files.
The second trilogy Lyra's Destiny started with The Book of Air. Though the game proved to be another commercially successful Dream Chronicles game, peaking high on many major casual charts, but unlike 3 previous games, The Book of Air gained many lukewarm reviews, which criticized it for not matching the standards of 3 previous games. Positive reviews praised its Dream Chronicles-trademarked high-quality production values and well-tricky gameplay while negative reviews criticized its very short length (only 16 main scenes, which is even shorter than the original Dream Chronicles) and some repetitious puzzles like collapse-style fuel puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, placing gears...
Critical reception[edit | edit source]
|Game title(s)||Gamezebo's Rating(s)||Jay Is Games' Rating(s)|
|Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze||90%||92%|
|Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child||80%||92%|
|Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air||70%||90%|
Awards and nominations[edit | edit source]
- Dream Chronicles
- Big Fish Games — #1 2007 Customer Favorites
- Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze
- 2009 RealGame Great Game Awards — "Best World Design" (won)
- Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child
- Big Fish Games — #2 2009 Customer Favorites
- 2010 GameHouse Great Game Awards — "Best Story" (nominated)
References[edit | edit source]
- Casual Connect (2008-02-01). Dream Weaving: Dreaming Dream Chronicles Into Reality. Casual Connect. Retrieved on 2008-02-01
- Gamezebo (2008-02-18). Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze Review. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2008-02-18
- Gamezebo (2008-01-02). 2007: The Year that Was . . . And Wasn't. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2008-01-02
- SonicBoom (2009-07-20). Sonic Boom, Inc. to Launch PlayFirst's Dream Chronicles® on Mobile in North America. SonicBoom. Retrieved on 2009-07-20
- CasualCharts.com (2007-06-12). Dream Chronicles™ Detail. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-12
- Gamezebo (2008-07-25). Zeeby Awards - The results are in!. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2008-07-25
- CasualCharts.com (2008-02-14). Dream Chronicles™ 2: The Eternal Maze Detail. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2008-02-14
- CasualCharts.com (2009-04-16). Dream Chronicles - The Chosen Child Detail. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-16
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Official Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air trailer and release date
- PlayFirst (2009-03-01). Dream Chronicles Home. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2009-03-01 Cite error: Invalid
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- Gamasutra (2008-04-22). Postmortem: Kat Games' Dream Chronicles. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2008-04-22
- Gamasutra (2008-04-22). Postmortem: Kat Games' Dream Chronicles, Page 3. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2008-04-22
- PlayFirst (2009-04-10). Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child – The Artistic Inspiration. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2009-04-10
- JayIsGames.com (2008-02-15). Dream Chronicles 2. JayIsGames.com. Retrieved on 2008-02-15
- Gamezebo (2009-04-17). Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child Review. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2009-04-17
- Awem.com (2009-02-25). Dream Chronicles. A Spell Of Dream. Awem.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-25
- Gamezebo (2007-06-12). Dream Chronicles Review. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2007-06-12
- Gamezebo (2008-02-19). Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze Walkthrough. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2008-02-19
- JayIsGames.com (2007-07-28). Dream Chronicles. JayIsGames.com. Retrieved on 2007-07-28
- PlayFirst (2009-04-15). New Feature Highlights for The Chosen Child!. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2009-04-15
- PlayFirst (2009-10-05). You can now play Dream Chronicles® on your mobile phone!. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2009-10-05
- PlayFirst (2009-04-27). Award-Winning Dream Chronicles® Game Launches on the iPhone. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2009-04-27
- Hudson Entertainment (2010-02-08). Dream Chronicles Weaving Its Way to Xbox LIVE® Arcade and PlayStation® Network. Hudson Entertainment. Retrieved on 2010-02-08
- Big Fish Games (2007-07-20). Dream Chronicles Game Download for PC. Big Fish Games. Retrieved on 2007-07-20
- Big Fish Games (2008-01-01). Big Fish Games' 2007 Customer Favorites for PC. Big Fish Games. Retrieved on 2008-01-01
- Awem.com (2008-11-09). Dream Chronicles 2. Dreamy World. Awem.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-11
- GameHouse (2009-07-21). RealGames Recognizes Outstanding Developers with First Annual Great Game Awards. GameHouse. Retrieved on 2009-07-21
- JayIsGames.com (2009-04-16). Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child. JayIsGames.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-16
- Big Fish Games (2010-01-01). Big Fish Games' 2009 Customer Favorites for PC. Big Fish Games. Retrieved on 2010-01-01
- GameHouse (2010-06-18). Nominees Announced for Second Annual GameHouse Great Game Awards. GameHouse. Retrieved on 2010-06-18
- Awem.com (2010-03-24). Dream Chronicles The Book of Air. Game Preview. Awem.com. Retrieved on 2010-03-24
- JayIsGames (2010-06-25). Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air. JayIsGames. Retrieved on 2010-06-25
- Gamezebo (2010-06-24). Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air Review. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
[edit | edit source]
- Dream Chronicles Home on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles Page on Facebook
- Dream Chronicles on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air on PlayFirst
- Postmortem: Kat Games' Dream Chronicles on Gamasutra