NiGHTS:  Journey of Dreams - Review

NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
Ages: Everyone

This game is very much like dreams some great ones and some recurring nightmares First the good It is a beautiful game, the scenes are filled with imaginative landscapes, under water-scapes, starry heavens, lush dark green night forests, a neon-bright carnival to dazzle the eye and like good dreams, you fly freely through it all. I cannot compare this game to the original Sega, NiGHTS Into Dreams because I never played it but it is a fair attempt at having another go at the admired 1996 original.

The story follows approximately the same line two children, 12 year old Will longing for a too-busy father and Helen, afraid of saddening/maddening her mother as she moves to a wider world of friends. Either one enters the dream world of Nightopia and is welcomed by an effusive owl and their to-be companion the impish NiGHTS. Flying is done by dualizing (merging) with the joyful jester, walking is done by the children. It's the kind of game that appeals to both children and anyone who has had dreams of flying.

The recurring nightmare: I should have suspected something when the manual had instructions for four different types of controls The Wiimote, Nunchuk + Wiimote, Wiimote and Classic Controller or Nintendo Game Cube Controller. I finally ended up preferring the Wiimote because NiGHTS would go to where I moved the Mindsight a circle of light . You have to keep the Mindsight close to NiGHTS for best control or she goes into free-fly mode. When you are too far away, the Mindsight glows red (not explained in the manual). I found the joy sticks too sensitive at the slightest pressure NiGHTS would zoom off wildly in some direction not of my choosing.

Options are minimal no way to turn down the music volume which overwhelmed the dialogue. I expect that children are a large part of the assumed market but no level of difficulty is offered. And worst of all no intermediate saves. In the first encounter, you must unlock three cages by pursuing a guard bird for the key and then fight the level Boss. Fail any one and your are returned to the beginning of Nightopia, fail five times and its "Game Over" and you have to endure all the beginning cut scenes and dialogues there is no bypass a recurring nightmare. Some things are never explained, the map on the lower right side, how exactly do you wrestle with a Nightmaren when you encounter them? Are the big orange and yellow blobs good or bad?

Because the flying felt so free during the tutorial, it was a while before I realized that the game is really a side scroller - side to side and up and down, X and Y but never Z. Which makes it a challenge to pursue a target going in the Z direction. I still have to figure out how the game cleverly changes perspective on me.

I began to wonder, why take such a gentle story with appealing and sympathetic characters that kids will identify with - and turn it into a battle game with Boss fights. I found them relatively hard I mean they are called Boss battles for a reason. It goes back to the old game ethos of having to earn the right to play the game. Pity.

Fun Factor: A beautiful and unique game flawed by poor game management and controls.
Female Factor: Equal time given for the female and the male character
Player Friendly: Frustrating lack of intermediate saves.

Reviewed by: Editor - 01/08

  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
  • © Sega
  • Platform(s): Wii
  • To Order: Win $49.99