Review by PickHut
"You sing along to Dreams Dreams, don't ya? Admit it!"
NiGHTS into Dreams... has got to be the prettiest time attack game I've ever played.
Sonic Team took good advantage of the dream aspect of this title to make really vivid and twisted dream worlds for you to explore. Like the valley and seaside dreams at the start, then the forest and snow dreams afterwards, and finally the desert and... Okay, so they aren't exactly the most original locations you've seen in a video game, but Sonic Team managed to make unique little touches to each dream. As you take to the skies with NiGHTS, fly through dozens of loops, and gather up blue chips for the completion of the stage, you begin to notice stuff. Like when you try to fly upwards, only to be greeted with an upside-down ground acting as a ceiling. As you float along through a mysterious forest... traffic lights and signs occupy the landscape. Yet, despite one car that magically starts following you around on the ground, there's really no need for any of that stuff. The inhabitants are just as quirky, with little, conehead angels hanging around everywhere, minding their own business... until you accidentally blow one away with your Paraloop, a vortex-type attack.
Indeed, NiGHTS is definitely a colorful world overflowing with imagination, but take too long sightseeing, and you'll eventually run out of time. In each dream, you basically do the same thing: collect 20 chips, blow up a giant crystal ball (or Ideya Capture, if you want to be fancy), and move onto the next section before time runs out. Fail to beat the clock and you'll lose your ability to fly, forcing you make a mad dash back to the start of the dream before a big, floating egg clock hunts you down. Yeah, the gameplay is really quite simple, but due to the unique structure of each dream and a couple of interesting obstacles, you'll keep playing till the end. Even then, it would have been nice if the team could have put a bit more effort into some aspects.
I don't know if it was because of the limitations of the Saturn or what, but some areas of the game came off kind of half-arsed. The best example has to do with the final sections of most dreams, which usually features an on-rail segment that dominates most of that section. Riding a sled down a slope, swimming through an underwater cave, being shot out of a cannon and off of various objects, you name it. The problem with these segments is that they play more like minigames, they're literally over in a few seconds. It's neat at first, but when you realize you have to rerun through the stage's course at least two or three times to collect enough chips, it gets old quick. The best of these segments is in Stick Canyon, where you spend a considerable amount of time doing other things before hitting that stage's "minigame". It's a tough one, because if you waste some time, you'll barely make it out of that stage just as the time counts down to zero. It would have been great if the others were like this.
Another part of NiGHTS that suffers is the boss fights. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because Sonic Team has an insane track record of ho-hum boss fights, but still... I can forgive one of the first bosses for being insanely easy (all you do is attack its head until its body is no more), but I'm surprised at how absurdly simple some of the others are. Like Clawz, Frozen Bell's creepy cat boss. All you do is destroy all the mouse rockets in the arena before they explode, and once you do that, you can rid of the boss in one hit. That was pretty sad. Sonic Team essentially put more effort into the look of the boss stages than the fights themselves.
However, I don't want to give you the impression that NiGHTS into Dreams... is a bad game. Even now, many years later, the title still stands out just for its looks and creative designs alone. It also has replay value in the form of trying to get the best rating in each stage. You'll try to memorize the layout, speed through them as fast as you can, and collect as many points as possible for that A rank. The music is really catchy as well, delivering upbeat and melodic vibes to everything, complementing the dream-like atmosphere. So, yeah, it's a nice game to play, but it's not great. It just happens to be one of those titles that people remember when they think of the Saturn.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/07
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