After taking a lot of time to sit down and play Daydreamer: Awakened Edition for PlayStation 4, I regrettably have to report that it’s an abysmal experience. Games are never designed to be bad, but a lack of polish and testing can become clearly visible to anyone that sits down to play for a short period of time. This is something that Daydreamer: Awakened Edition suffers from a lot through its entire campaign. I tried to find a reason to keep playing this 2D action platformer, but a myriad of game breaking bugs and poorly design levels completely ruined my experience.
Daydreamer is a story about a girl who is the last human on earth after aliens have conquered the planet. She is awakened from her eternal slumber by a being known as the Immortal Gate Keeper, and is tasked with saving the world from the aliens that rule over the planet. This is a great set up to what can be a good story, but it never really becomes anything special. The story is told through quick dialogue sections at the beginning and before any boss fights, but it feels like everything is glanced over too quickly. I never had a moment to just take in the events of the story, which is a shame because it could have turned into something interesting throughout the time I spent playing each level.
Calling Daydreamer’s gameplay broken would be a very big understatement. There are many poorly designed parts one can find by simply playing through a level of Daydreamer’s campaign. The controls are responsive by 2D platforming standards, but everything else that happens on screen is a complete mess. Using a melee attack on enemies is a guaranteed way to lose a significant portion of your health bar since they aren’t staggered whatsoever. Ranged attacks are the preferred approach, but ammo depletes way too quickly and doesn’t deal enough damage to most foes.
The most annoying aspects about Daydreamer are the level designs and bugs that happen all too frequently. Some levels I played were simple in their layout, but others felt poorly designed and almost unfair. One section required me to jump pass a spiked column that move up and down, but required me to do so while using a wall jump and ledge grab that didn’t properly work.
I struggled not because of the difficulty of these sections, but because the tools I was given were not functional most of the time. Sometimes I would randomly grab onto a ledge I could climb, while at other times it wouldn’t happen when I needed it most. Things like this, which should work when needed, were inconsistent in each level.
The worst part however, are the game breaking bugs that brought my entire experience to a screeching halt. My game completely stopped when I was damaged by a group of enemies and became stuck in an endless death animation loop while switching my weapon. I was able to fix this by closing and restarting the game on my PlayStation 4, but it happened to me again with a similar scenario in another level.
This happened to me a total of four times, including one I was able to replicate on my own after having it occur three times over. I was amazed and annoyed how nobody could have noticed this travesty before release. Whoever tested the game beforehand clearly ignored something important.
Daydreamer: Awakened Edition is not a good game. It has game breaking bugs that will frustrate you and make you question how some things were left in such bad shape. The concept of the story is interesting and could have been the game’s saving grace if more time was devoted to it. As it stands however, there is no reason to play through this broken game. Your time will be much better spent playing through anything else.
This review is based on a digital review code of Daydreamer: Awakened Edition for PlayStation 4 provided by ATLUS.