Dream Detective is a game set in dreams, where you experience the child-like joy of looking for and finding objects. A dream is defined as “a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep,” which mostly comes from memories, and the unique art and style reflect this. For example, you will find that none of the characters in the game have a face due to where the memories are pulled from in our brains.
Dream Detective is made up of 12 large, extraordinary levels with fantastical themes, uncommon artwork and hidden scenes where you can find over 300 tributes to classic stories. The “Super Star” level is shaped like a giant award comprised of buildings, with over 40 bits of film history scattered throughout. Hidden scenes recall the tesseract climax of “Interstellar” and other great movie moments. Some levels reflect romantic and fantasy themes, like The Sky Lantern Show, where you will float in the ancient, brightly lit sky, and Sakura Blossoming, where you will attend a Japanese culture themed party in your dreams.
Other levels feature adorable animals who will frustrate and entertain you in equal measure. In “Spotty Dogs,” cute puppies will welcome you to a party with many other cute puppies. Some are waiting at the window. Others are watching a cartoon. So cute, but so similar! You have only 60 seconds to find the exact puppies with specific spots. Other animals in this dreamland include pandas, monkeys and zebras. 42 levels feature a time limit.
The developers have also included some levels with special significance and meaning. In The Crossroads of Life, you will encounter and identify people with depression and learn more about supporting them. Another level calls upon players to protect endangered animals.
When you grow weary of looking for objects, you can use the coins you have collected in your travels to decorate the Dream Castle. You can also collect hundreds of costumes and mysteries as you go, and the naughty elves scattered throughout the game will bring unexpected gifts to the castle.