Dreamtopia is a whimsical take on the classic mobile city builder
It says a lot that I can stop playing mobile social games for about six months, come back, and immediately find myself playing a city-builder that feels almost indistinguishable from what I was playing a couple of years ago. That’s not to say Dreamtopia is a bad game, because it isn’t, but it’s very much a game about giving an audience exactly what it expects. In Dreamtopia, you farm to gain resources that you then spend on building and customizing your own fantasy city.
Dreamtopia adds in the twist of quests handed out by NPCs, who want you to add particular features to your city as part of fulfilling their personal dreams. One NPC is a little bird who simply wants a birdhouse. Another is an aspiring mad scientist who needs a good education and an appropriately mad secret lab. Every building in Dreamtopia can generate resources over time, though the main draw for building them is the game’s colorful design sense. Every building looks strikingly different, sometimes with whimsical animations.
The resource you farm to get time-based currency in Dreamtopia is “emotions,” which sprout from patches of cloud. Instead of the usual FarmVille-style grind of having to pick a crop to plant, each cloud patch you put in your city can generate any of the emotions available in the game by default. You simply have to be willing to wait until the emotion generates and pay a modest up-front fee for what you want. Emotions run the gamut from joy to pride to love and everything in-between. Unfortunately there’s not much reason to take advantage of the different emotions unless you’re fulfilling a quest.
Dreamtopia‘s interface is largely standard. You manage menus of buildings to purchase and other game options by tapping icons along the interface’s side. You can zoom the game surprisingly far in or out by using a pinching gesture. You can rotate buildings by tapping a rotate icon, and otherwise position them by dragging them around the area with your finger. You’ll need to zoom in a bit to position buildings accurately, while positioning small decorations like street lamps feels frustrating no matter how far you’re zoomed in.
If you want to play a city-builder as a fun diversion while standing in lines, Dreamtopia is an excellent candidate. It’s an attractive game that behaves largely as a player would expect. Nothing about it is complicated or difficult to understand. The flip side to that, of course, is that nothing in Dreamtopia feels new or different. So if you’re already invested in another mobile city-builder, even one with a very different theme, you probably won’t feel the need to switch.