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Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air

Score: 80%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: PlayFirst
Developer: Kat Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air kicks off a new trilogy in the Dream Chronicles series, and this time you control Lyra, the daughter of the previous trilogy's heroine.

The game has a great visual presence. While it doesn't try to be photo-realistic, the colorful backdrops give the various locations Lyra visits a very distinct feel. These locations range from the emptied city of Wish, to a massive airship, to the house of a clockmaker and even a strange seashell-covered island. Each location is pretty distinct looking, but they all tie together nicely with the same basic tone and feel.

From what I understand, this is the first time in the series where there are actual voiceovers, and The Book of Air does a pretty decent job of it. Granted, there aren't a whole lot of characters in the game as you pretty much only interact with Tangle, Lyra's grandfather and guide, and The Clockmaker who seems to be the only one who can bring Lyra (who is also voiced) back home.


Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air fits the standard point-and-click adventure structure. Your job starts off with simply trying to figure out what has happened to Lyra and why her dream seems to have left her in an abandoned city. You quickly learn not only the basic inventory-based puzzles, but you also gain access to special powers that allow you to progress in the game.

These powers are the key to many of the game's puzzles, and quite frankly, the only way to progress. Once you have collected enough Dream Pieces scattered around the world, a jewel lights up on the side of your screen, and then using the ability is just a mouse-click away. The first Dream Jewel magic you get is the ability to read fairy writing, and you will need this in order to decipher a series of basic picture-based coded symbols in order to gain access to the airship that will act as Lyra's base of operations for the game.

Other powers include the ability to show things that are hidden, a transmutation ability to turn gold into wood (which seems a bit backwards to me), one that will let you turn on the lights wherever you are and a fifth that will create storms. While a lot of these powers seem random, they each have their purpose and are used during Lyra's journey. Now, whether the puzzles and their solutions fit well and smoothly into the game's story is another matter as the game often seems to throw puzzles at you that simply don't feel like they fit.


Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air has two difficulty modes, Casual and Challenge, and while the game doesn't pose too much of a threat to long-time adventure fans, it's nice to have the choice. The main difference between the two modes is the ability to skip puzzles in the Casual setting. This is a good option for more casual adventure gamers that mainly want to know the story, as well as those times you get stuck behind a puzzle just a bit too long. The Challenge mode not only removes the ability to skip puzzles, but also provides noticeably tougher versions of the same problems.

The Book of Air also offers a pretty useful hint system in the form of a spy glass that will show you objects that you need to interact with. To help balance the game out some, this ability needs a bit of time to recharge before giving the user another hint.

Game Mechanics:

Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air's use of the Dream Jewels and their various abilities is one of the game's more interesting aspects. I didn't have the pleasure of playing the previous games, so I'm not sure if this is a staple of the series or not, but it is definitely an aspect that allows The Book of Air to stand out. It's rare that I've seen a game give the character some innate ability that can be used pretty much anytime, as sort of a permanent inventory item. In this sense, you not only have the various items you've picked up along your journey to try during those frustrating moments, but several other abilities as well, and the fact that you have to earn them just adds to the complexity of this mechanic.

Overall, Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air is a fun adventure experience that offers a good mix of problem types. The game does feel a bit short, but with the promise of two more following Lyra, hopefully we won't have to wait too long before we can continue this story.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP/Vista, 1.2 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM, DirectX 8.0, 166 MB Hard Disk Space

Test System:

Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

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