Dreamland re-review

Dreamland is a Facebook game from SongPop creators FreshPlanet. The game has been available for well over a year now and peaked just shy of 1,050,000 monthly active users last September. User figures dropped off again quickly but thanks to the immense popularity of the developer’s cross-platform music quiz game and the cross-promotion therein, the title appears to be on the rise once again. We last looked at Dreamland last July, but with the recent resurgence of popularity in the game we thought it would be a good idea to revisit the game and see if any of the developer’s proposed improvements have actually been implemented, or if the game has remained fairly “static.” Dreamland is an unusual game. Ostensibly, it is a turn-based role-playing game, but it also incorporates board game mechanics. Players are tasked with exploring various nightmare environments and defeating the dark creatures within while attempting to find the exit. Each level requires the player to locate a number of keys, some of which may be guarded by strong creatures, and then locate the exit. Upon completing a level, the player is given a bonus of soft currency according to how much of the map they explored and how many nightmare creatures they defeated.

Most actions in Dreamland are accomplished using die rolls. Movement is handled by a six-sided die and may be adjusted by spending “Pep” points. Pep may be used to adjust the die roll up or down by one, allowing the player a better chance of landing on a specific space. Players have a limited capacity for Pep, which may be upgraded by purchasing new items for their bedroom. Pep points may be restored during play by collecting items or landing on spaces with a special Pep bubble on them.

If the player lands on a nightmare creature, a battle begins. This is also handled using a six-sided die roll. Players deal damage to the enemy according to what they roll, with the final figure being adjusted down if the creature has stronger defenses. Players may also spend “Bravery” points to adjust the die roll up by one or roll it again — like Pep, Bravery has a limited capacity according to the items the player has purchased for their bedroom, and may be restored with items or special spaces.

The game plays very well and despite the player not having a huge amount of choice over what they do feels fun and interactive. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about the game, however, is its immaculate presentation. Animations are beautifully smooth and packed with character, while the background sound is atmospheric and appropriate to the setting. It’s certainly one of the most impressive-looking 2D Facebook games out there, and this will likely be a big contributing factor in attracting and retaining players. One of the biggest criticisms of the game upon launch was that there was a relative lack of customization options, particularly with regard to the player avatar, which was limited to a preset male or female model. This has now been improved, with a much wider selection of possible avatars available and customizable colors — though players are not able to mix and match elements from different costumes. It’s not possible to combine the default hairstyle with that of another outfit, for example. Social features have also been improved, with the most notable addition being a “photo” feature that allows players to take pictures of their customized bedroom and share them with friends. Defeating a particularly strong nightmare creature also gives players the option of sharing a video of their battle on their Timeline, and story sequences may also be shared to keep friends apprised of progress.

Despite its age, Dreamland is an impressive, fun Facebook game that looks set to enjoy a second wind of success thanks to cross-promotion from SongPop. The game is certainly good enough to perform well on its own merits, but by leveraging the music quiz’s enormous player base to acquire new users, FreshPlanet is setting itself up for a healthy degree of success. Dreamland currently has 640,000 monthly active users and 50,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.

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One of the best-looking, most unusual Facebook games out there.