With the 3DS' library still lacking in just about every area, first adopters are about to begin being treated to the second wave of launch releases. One of the games that is hoping to begin to bolster the device's profile is D3Publisher's "Dream Trigger 3D." Offering an entirely new take on the shoot-'em up genre, the title had the potential to open up doors for new players. Unfortunately, those doors should've probably stayed closed.
"Dream Trigger 3D" plays out like a futuristic shoot-em up, unlike anything you may have played before. The action takes place on both screens, with the top representing the character you are controlling, and the bottom housing a radar system. As the player places sonar bombs on the bottom screen a soundwave sweeps across from left to right (similar to a Tenori-On) and the bombs explode, exposing the enemies above, and leaving them vulnerable to attack.
The game features a world map campaign mode that includes 50 different levels over ten environments, as well as time attack, and free play options for unlocked levels. Additionally, there's a local only two-player mode where you can go head-to-head with a friend, or take on the levels together in co-op.
A New Kind of Shmup
There hasn't been a grand scale evolution in the shump genre in quite some time. Some things have changed in recent years, but nothing as major as what "Dream Trigger" has done by thinking outside of the box and drastically tweaking the controls as well as the overall gameplay. Borrowing the bottom screen's ping targeting from the Tenori-On, and the top screen's shooting from the classic "Star Wars" arcade game, it results in a blend that creates something entirely new, and fresh.
At first listen you may not notice it, but some of the world's greatest composers have leant their work to "Dream Trigger." There are famous tracks from Mozart, Chopin, Bach, and more, that have been reworked and integrated into the game as a function of the gameplay. As a player drops pings on the bottom screen, the soundwave that scrolls across triggers them as beats in the song, creating both an interesting visual and auditory experience.
There's So Much Going On Here
DS and 3DS games where there's simultaneous action on both screens are challenging – they aren't always "hard" in the traditional sense, but they offer a type of gameplay that's uncommon to 99% of games on the market. "Dream Trigger" is no different: keeping track of where to shoot, where the enemies are coming from, anticipating where they are going to be, where to place pings and how much energy is left on your power gauge will have your eyes shooting back and forth, and could be a bit much for most gamers.
What Am I Supposed To Do?
"Dream Trigger" offers multiple tutorials to help introduce the player to how to play, as well as how to navigate the multiple modes, and while they're all necessary, they may not necessarily help. Since the gameplay itself is a challenge, reading through the lengthy (for a handheld game) tutorial doesn't really help piece together the abstract nuances of the game, it's only after you start playing that you might be able to figure out just what the heck is going on.
"Dream Trigger 3D" feels like a great start to something very interesting, but it's unfortunately not going to appeal to the average fair-weather gamer. The gameplay can start off both confusing and involved, particularly because it's so action heavy on both screens. However, if you can stick to it, and work your way over those barriers of entry, there's actually an enjoyable game to be found. It's just a shame you have to work so hard to find it.