Nights: Journey of Dreams
Nights: Journey of Dreams, developed by Sega, is the successor to one of the most popular games ever on the Sega Saturn. Personally I never got to play the original, let alone see it, so I have no clue what it’s supposedly all about. Anyway, I hope for all the fans of that old bugger that it did better than what we get on the Wii now as this is just plain sad…
The entire story is built around two enfants called Will and Helen. Both dream at night of wonderful worlds filled with mystical areas and cute cudly creatures. One they they’re sucked into their nightly adventures and end up in Nightopia, the world of dreams. What awaits them there will put their world upside down as, so it appears, nothing is what it seems. Nightopia is threatened by an evil being called “Wizeman”, leader of the Nightmarens, and it’s the job of Will, Helena and the dream friend NIGHTS to beat him. How they’re going to do that? NIGHTS, a human-like creature from the dream world, can melt together with one of the children (in-game called Dualizing) which makes the duo get astonishing powers. A combination out of a thousand, ready to face evil. By Dualizing you can fly, transform into a boat or dolphin and do many other wacky stuff that can help you get rid of all possible opposition in a quite violent way.
The transformations aren’t equally divided through the game though. Most of the time you’ll be flying through the air as NIGHTS. Well, flying… the controls are so shaky that you can hardly call it flying. Personally I would rather call it fluttering like a madman, hoping that you don’t crash into something. The same goes for all other means of transportation by the way. The people at SEGA may have spent too much time developing two different possibilities to take control of NIGHTS.
The first option is by using nothing more than the Wii-mote. By pointing the cursor to the right direction you can determine NIGHT’s direction of flight, but this system hardly ever works. What I do appreciate about Sega is that they warn in advance that this way is harder than the other one. Just use the Nunchuck and Wii-mote and the analog stick will control Nights while the Wii-mote is only used for the buttons.
As I said, the controls clearly suck. However, they’re not the only thing to make you go mad. Also the different modes in both single and multiplayer are pretty thin to say it gently. If you play alone you can shoot through the story with the same things coming back in just about every level. One time you need to race and catch three birds, the next time you’re after some octopus-like creature and try to go through as many circles he leaves behind as possible… What might be the most interesting in this game, and also is an important part for the single player experience, are the fights with different bosses. They contain multiple original gameplay elements like some sort of giga pinball machine through which you need to flush a balloonclown and more bizarre stuff like that which could easily come from the average nightmare.
The multiplayer doesn’t go any further than some battle and race modes with the first easily being called quite ridiculous. The idea is to hit an opponent with big balls the fly so slowly that the opposition can easily fly a tour around them and study them in detail before doing an effective way of evasion. What I’m trying to say is that hitting any opposition is hardly impossible. In other words: Battle is a no-go.
The racing does bring some counterweight but also here several problems occur. After a while it gets so repetitive that you could easily slip in a real dreamworld.
If this game is supposed to be better than the original, I don’t understand why people praise it so much. I’ll just go with the idea that the predecessor was just better and rather the superlative of what we get to see here on the Wii. Average to bad graphics, monotone soundtrack and repetitive gameplay (except for some bossfights). And then we’re not even talking about the bad controls that make things even worse. For me this is the kind of game that will never leave the closet again.