Dream Land is a social board game by way of Tim Burton
Is there a scarier place than the nightmares of a young child? Though it’s called Dream Land, the new social game from FreshPlanet is actually about those less than pleasant places your mind wanders to when you fall asleep. With its charmingly creepy, Tim Burton-esque sense of style and clever board game structure and turn-based combat, Dream Land may actually make you want to explore nightmares.
The game itself is divded into different areas, and each area is a specific dream. You’ll move through these dreams much like you would through levels in a traditional single-player video game, completing one and then going on the the next. The levels are set-up like a board game, so in order to move you’ll be rolling a dice to determine how many steps you can take. In order to reach the exit and open the door you’ll also need to find a number of keys. Since unexplored areas are shrouded in a spooky darkness, you’ll be forced to explore each nook and cranny of the board, and occaisionally do a bit of backtracking as well.
But there’s more to each dream than just finding keys. Spooks and ghouls are littered on spaces all over, and when you land on them you’ll be transported to a turn-based combat mode that also makes use of the dice rolling mechanic. Each roll determines how many hit points you’ll inflict on your enemy, and you’ll take turns duking it out until one of you runs out of health. There are also items to collect and purchase from shops, such as pieces of clothing that boost your stats or consumable items that refill your energy.
The board game structure is a clever fit for a social game, and the multiple levels give you a clear and satisfying sense of progression. But what really sets Dream Land apart is its sense of style. The dark, yet colorful, visuals are absolutely gorgeous, with a distinct art style that manages to make the world feel both scary and oddly intriguing at the same time. It’s hard not to think of films like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride while playing. It’s a game you’ll want to play in full screen mode so that you can enjoy every little bit of it. The enemies are all clever plays on the nightmare theme, as each one is a physical representation of the real fears that children have. The music, too, manages to fit the overall theme perfectly, creating an incredibly well-rounded visual and audio experience.
Though it’s still in a relatively early open beta, Dream Land is already more polished and enjoyable than most games on Facebook. The gameplay and visuals all fit the theme so well, making for one of those rare games that both looks and plays great. We’ll continue to dig into the experience for our full review in the near future, but even though it’s a game about nightmares, Dream Land looks like it could be a dream come true for Facebook gamers.