The Beautiful Dream is just that; beautiful and fleeting
What I’ve learned about myself recently is that I’m drawn to traditional Asian artwork. I’ve purchased paintings by Katsushika Hokusai as iPad skins, I’ve played through Tengami on three different systems now, and I’ve paid for alternate costumes for many of the characters in Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper on the Wii U. Yes, I’m a man in his 40s who has spent money to dress up Ayane as Sun Shangxiang because it just made more sense aesthetically.
This is likely why I was eager to try out NetEase’s The Beautiful Dream based on the screenshots alone. Screenshots like this one:
The colors in this game are gorgeous (as are the subtle animations), but they serve a greater purpose. Most of the puzzles are solved through color.
Created through NetEase’s intern program to foster creativity, The Beautiful Dream is based on The Peony Pavilion, a classic Chinese love story. To help the silent protagonist cross the bonds of life and death to reunite with his lost love, the player must pull colors from various items within the beautifully illustrated landscapes and use those colors to unlock access to other areas. A few mini games will change things up along the way, but most of the time is spent within the serene landscapes.
The gameplay isn’t really the focus of The Beautiful Dream; most of the solutions are pretty obscure and will likely be solved by random tapping. Rather, the game succeeds in creating a mood. It’s calming, like working with a Zen garden.
Sadly, like most good dreams, it’s also over far too quickly; you can finish the game in under half an hour. That’s fair—considering it’s a free download with no in-app-purchases—but I was hoping to spend a bit more time in this idyllic world.
Regardless, I applaud NetEase for supporting this type of creativity through its intern program, and I hope these developers will take what they’ve done here and continue to bring us such unique, engaging titles.
To live The Beautiful Dream yourself, visit the iTunes App Store.