Dreamscapes: The Sandman – iPad
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: Shaman Games Studio
Release Date: Jul 24, 2013
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Review Score: 4 of 5

Dreamscapes: The Sandman sounds like some horror movie you might watch on the SyFy channel late on a Saturday night, and you aren’t too far off. The story deals with a young woman, Laura, who has been suffering from terrible nightmares since her childhood. A magical dreamcatcher has protected her right up until you started playing this game – way to go! Now the evil Sandman has entered our world and crushed her talisman trapping Laura in her own living nightmare. It’s up to the player to enter her dreams, collect the pieces of the dreamcatcher and try to save Laura.

The first order of business is to get Professor Sanders dream machine up and working. This task introduces the player into the basic navigation and puzzle-solving controls they will have to look forward to for the next 3-5 hours. Yes, Dreamscapes is rather short, not so much in a lack of content but purely for the fact that nothing is terribly difficult, at least for experienced HOA gamers. Still, the story and presentation is second to none when it comes to this genre.

The one thing I enjoyed about this game was that it moves away from the typical laundry list of random hidden objects and has you searching the environments for things you actually need – you know…like a REAL adventure game. Sure, some items need to be found and some even combined with others before revealing their true function, but it just offers a much more logical sense to the proceedings. For those who want to scan every last pixel for collectibles, there are over 109 Beholders to find and some are well-hidden.

The visuals of this game are gorgeous with both amazing and terrifying visuals for Laura’s nightmares coming to life. There is a unique hybrid approach to the levels that are taking place in both the real world and the dream world, and you can make subtle changes to the latter as you progress through the story and solve the puzzles.

I for one am getting tired of all the cookie-cutter HOA games out there so this is a breath of fresh air and a great return to more traditional adventure gaming on the iPad. There are 13 locations and 65 scenes; each more striking than the last, and with fantastic cutscenes, great music, sound effects, and emotionally charged music, Dreamscapes: The Sandman is a nightmare you will find terrifyingly addictive and delightful for as long as you play.