NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (Wii)

Review: NiGHTS

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Action/Platformer/Adventure

Sega’s iconic game that I never played gets reviewed by others.

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Mark

What do you dream about when you go to sleep? Wealth, fame, happiness or a squeaky voiced ladyboy clad in purple Lycra? If it’s the latter you have either been playing to much of Sega’s NiGHTS or you need you lay off the post nocturnal dairy products. Many a retro head will recognise this franchise from its original debut on Sega’s Saturn that included NiGHTS: Into Dreams and the hard to find Christmas Nights. So what has NiGHTS been doing for the last ten years? Well apart from popping up it the odd Sonic game not much going by this instalment.

Float like a butterfly, talk like a eunuch.

Taking up the story of either a young boy with father issues or similar young girl who has equal problems of a maternal nature NiGHTS lets you enter their dreams through which they visit Dreamtopia your stereotypical kiddie safe la-la land filled with friendly anthropomorphic creatures and garish scenery. Following a very slick looking CGI intro you can explore Dreamtopia via a simple gallery of doors style hub through which you can play a new level or replay already completed levels to improve your rating or hunt down more of the sixty hidden dream drops to add extras to your ‘My Dream’ area (more on that later) and blue orbs that can be used during the flying levels.

The game itself is a unique mix of flight sim, platform and action. Controlling NiGHTS is done with the Wiimote or Wii nunchuck or Wii classic controller or even a Gamecube controller. That’s right there’s FOUR different control schemes for this game and what one is the best you might wonder, well it’s not a case of which is best but which sucks less than the others. I personally found the classic controller to have the right amount of precision control and ‘flow’ for gliding but Lurk swears by the old GC pad and maybe he’s right or maybe he’s a fool, I just don’t know.

They're not real coins, there's choloate under the foil.

Taking control of the purple jester NiGHTS via the pointless plot device of ‘Dualizing’ you have to defeat the machinations of the nightmares invading Dreamtopia by flying through hoops, catching flying enemies to retrieve keys, defeating bosses by hitting weak spots and suchlike. Completing these tasks give you a rating from a perfect A all the way down to barely adequate D grade. Completing the levels to a high enough standard unlocks like bonuses artwork and a music player along with adding extra content to your ‘My Dream’ area.

Your ‘My Dream’ area can be reached through the hub area and will gradually get filled with different trinkets and objects as you go through the game. At any time when you’re not in a level you can visit it and just skulk around enjoying the scenery and relaxing. It can also be tied into the Wii’s weather channel for an extra touch of flair mirroring the weather outside (Although maybe not a good idea if you dwell in rain swept Britannia like me) I should talk a little about the multiplayer but I can’t as every occasion I tried to find a game the Wii steadfastly refused to find anyone for me to play with and given the notorious Friends system probably won’t be worth it unless you fancy some local area WiFi action.

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Lurk

Secondary Review

Nights on the Wii is pretty much like the old Saturn game, which is great if you are a fan of the old game. The main differences are as its a Wii game the controls, there’s three control types.

Type one is Wiimote on its own, this is horribly inaccurate and a complete waste of space, though that can be said for a lot of Wii titles. Secondly there’s the Wiimote plus nunchuk which works in exactly the same way as the 3rd option which is a normal pad.

So the game ends up playing the same way as the original, which is good if not for the fact the graphics don’t look all that polished compared to the original. Though this could be down to lots of “jaggies” that I could see on my HDTV. Other things that annoyed me was the unskippable cut scenes. So you have to sit there watching an owl flap its wings about, before a level will load.

Saying that though the game is fun if not a little on the short side. Though with 2 separate sets of dreams to play through you do have a fair bit of variety in the levels.

You also have some new stuff for the Wii, like the online play, with races and battles. There is also a garden thing, that changes according to how you do in the game. You can invite people from your friends list to the garden to show them your shit.

Your garden is also linked up to the Wii weather channel, this means the weather in your garden is similar to what its like where you live. This means that my garden is pretty much flooded due to the terrible weather.

Secondary Score: 7/10

There is some variety to have been had in collecting different masks for NiGHTS that has him/her? … Seriously everyone refers to NiGHTS as a him but his voice is so high pitched and feminine that if you knew him by voice you’d swear he turned tricks in a Bangkok whorehouse … Anyway yes the masks that give new abilities like underwater movement or fly even faster and can be switched to on the fly with the D-pad.

When you separate the chaff like plot and exposition from the wheat of the game you’re still left with a solid game that plays well but often takes advantage of your good will in different ways. The flight sections where you control NiGHTS look amazingly nice with high resolution colours and smooth movement creating a luscious environment to romp in. Whilst the hub area where you control the children is pig ugly with washed out textures, jagged edges and invisible walls everywhere. After overcoming confusing hints and often repeated tutorials thanks to an over helpful owl that should have been shoot you can just spend your time happily replaying levels to nail a better grade or find another hidden dream drop.

Spending any amount of time in the hub makes you want to get back to the NiGHTS sections even more and just serves to remind you what a waste of time all the plot baggage is for this game. That’s right this is a game where I want LESS plot not more … who da thunk it!

The overall impression I’m left with this game is just how mediocre it is. Yes it looks good overall and plays a fun game but without any kind of built in nostalgia factor for me it’s just another game I’ll put aside in favour of another go on Zack & Wiki or Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. If you have young ones bored with mini game collections and can’t yet handle Mario Galaxy get them this but make sure you have the volume turned down during cut scenes.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

7/10

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