Dream Flight: What We Think
Dream Flight is an endless runner where you play as someone who is flying in a dream. The game aims to give players a relaxing experience on the go, created mainly to be played on a phone, Dream Flight strives to create a simple but new experience for players by evoking mood through it’s music and visuals. The game was created by Jameson Quave and features a song by composer Kevin Macleod.
Endless runners flood the phone app marketplaces. I’ve dabbled with a lot of free to play endless runners that tend to offer re-playability over aspects like creating an interesting mood through visuals and music. Playing Dream Flight definitely gave me a different experience, one that I was not accustomed to.
I appreciated the relaxing feel of Dream Flight in contrast with other endless runners that typically bombard you with information or create an addictive experience. Though Dream Flight sets itself apart within its genre, however, it fails in a lot of ways to take advantage of its differentiation opportunity.
What Dreams May Come
You are constantly drifting forward through a dreamlike sky. You are moving forward automatically but drifting downward at the same time. Pressing on the screen causes your character to drift upwards, which allows you to avoid obstacles like buildings and floating squares.
The game controls are responsive and feel great. The game offers very little challenge which helps in creating a more relaxing experience. The song that loops throughout the game fits well, although when the four minute song ends an awkward moment of silence occurs as it starts up again after a couple of seconds.
Less Than Lucid
There is no reason to go back and play through the game. Nothing to collect, no leveling up system, no leaderboards. The only thing you do is avoid obstacles for the entirety of the seven minute long game.
You don’t know who you are playing as and the game offers no information about the world or character besides a couple of floating text you float by like “I drifted deeper in to sleep.” Floating text appears at the start of each of the five levels of the game but don’t really offer a lot of exposition or never have anything particularly interesting to say.
This text could have been poetic, informative, vague, or mysterious – things that would have made it interesting. The dreamlike world is bland, as you progress through the five levels you see how similar they are, not changing much besides the background and obstacles you need to avoid.
At the start of one level the floating text says “The dream world grew more abstract and strange” and the game introduces floating beds and pine tress to avoid. I would have liked to see Dream Flight become more surreal and unexpected – exploiting the promise of floating through a dream world. Maybe by adding some hints or symbolism in those objects to further flesh out the narrative…
Dream Flight fails to create an engaging experience which makes it difficult to recommend. It’s a relaxing, short game that controls well but doesn’t offer much else besides that. It had some interesting aspects which ultimately felt like wasted opportunities to create something truly special, a game that would stand out above the rest of the many endless runners out there.
UPDATE [February 6, 2014]:
Shortly after my original review, Dream Flight received an update that added new levels, clouds to collect within the levels, Game Center achievements, an all-original music score, an Endless mode and leaderboards.
I enjoyed the new levels added in this version which stand out because they are more interesting and visually appealing. One new level in particular had a section where the world was rotating clockwise around me, forcing me to collect the otherwise optional clouds to progress.
All the added features help the game in a lot of aspects that were previously lacking; additions like the collectible clouds and leaderboards help add much-needed replay value as it is targeted towards mobile platforms and consoles. Dream Flight now feels less repetitive, and more engaging. More creative and an overall better experience.