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The Casual Gamer reviews Renatus Media's hidden object game: Dream

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Renatus Media's Dream

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Palo Alto-based Renatus Media is just starting to gain visibility in the casual arena with its multifarious mobile games, and this month we take a look at one of the publisher's works in progress--a hidden object game called Dream.

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Developed by Ukrainian development company, Komar Games, Dream is a free-to-play, fairy-tale-themed hidden object game for iPad. What makes many Eastern European games unique are their amazingly beautiful graphics and their off-the-wall game ideas. Dream is a great example of both of these. Set on a series of floating islands, Dream takes place in the realm of the unconscious--literally. The inhabitants of the dream world are in danger of being sucked into an ominous black hole and your job is to keep that from happening.

Like most social hidden object games, there isn't a lot of exploration or puzzles in Dream and most of your time is spent playing through different hidden object scenes in order to find lost items for distraught dream creatures. These scenes occur in colorful places with names like The Candy Cabin, The Underbed and The Enchanted Forest that are all cleverly composed and graphically, quite beautiful. There are different kinds of hidden object play too, from the regular old list-type, to silhouettes or even word lists that have been half eaten by a weird little beastie.

There's tons of story to be had here, and every character you encounter has a lot to say about his or her particular plight. This is a great thing for gamers who love fairy tales, but could be overwhelming for gamers who don't enjoy reading lots of text.

In addition to helping out the dream world's denizens, part of your motive for exploration is finding items and creating Collections. This portion of the game however, appears to only be partially working at this time. Which brings us to one of Dream's obvious issues: it's not finished. Social games have made it the norm to release unfinished games and continue adding features post-release. Dream does this too, and prevents you from gifting items to friends or sharing things on social media

Dream also suffers from a problem found in so many free-to-play games; it quickly turns into a money sink. In order to explore the various areas, you must be drowsy enough (Drowse is the equivalent to the Energy found in other games) and though at first you're given a generous amount of drowse, after that, it takes far too long to restore. Presumably, that's meant to force you to purchase drowse from the game's store where it's available for anywhere from $.99 cents to $99.99. This is an annoying state of affairs that proves once again how hard it is to hit that fine balance between not making money at all and gouging players.

Dream has lots of good things going for it. It's pretty, quirky, chock-full of fantasy stories and reasonably entertaining hidden object scenes. It also belongs to what's become a genre that's always a work-in-progress, and as such, there's hope that its balance issue will eventually be addressed along with its missing elements. For hidden object fans, it's worth a look, if only to see Komar's graphic expertise.

To download Dream, go to the iTunes app store.

For more information about Komar Games, visit the developer's official website.

For more information about Renatus Media, visit the publisher's official website.

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