NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
We let Sharan out of his cage for this one.
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More than a decade has passed since the original NiGHTS into Dreams was released for the Sega Saturn. In those ten years a lot has changed. Sega left the hardware business. Newcomer Sony won the console wars two generations in a row. All the staff at Kikizo also unfortunately became ten years older. One thing didn't change though: fans still wanted a sequel to what was one of the most amazing Saturn titles released.
This long overdue sequel, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, starts with the story of Will Taylor, a young boy in London. One night his dreams take him to the dream gate in Nightopia, the hub of the game. Here he meets NiGHTS, who you can "Dualise" with to gain Peter Pan-like flight ability. As you progress through Will's Story, another child, Helen Cartwright, will be unlocked providing a new story to follow.
The basis of the game is to take control of NiGHTS, a clown like character, who has the ability to fly through pre determined routes. The scenic levels are full of loops, orbs and a few nasty enemies. NiGHTs can also use the orbs he collects to "Drill Dash". This allows him to propel forwards at a greater speed and is very useful for breaking objects or shaving seconds off the clock.
Generally the first time through a level, you'll be after some kind object, followed by a mini boss, a few mini games based on the level and then a final boss. The main levels are as charming as ever, some with similar themes to the original game. Guiding the character can be a real joy, especially with the fantastic background music in place.
Failing missions in the game is extremely aggravating, though. Within the main levels, rather than return to the ground as a kid and be chased by a giant alarm clock, the game abruptly ends. This is even more frustrating during a boss battle, as rather than just retry the battle you're chucked back to the beginning of the level, including having to sit through any cut scenes you have already seen.
The mini games within the levels are a lot of fun. One of the first is to fly though loops as quickly as possible and get a combo of over 30. Definitely harder than it sounds, but you won't get bored trying. In multiplayer mode you can race offline and online through a number of different levels. A battle mode is also available offline which allows you to hurl round objects at each other.