Friday, October 07, 2011

Dream Trigger 3D: ouch, my hands

Dream Trigger 3D caught my attention due it being touted as a imagining of Rez. It's not an imagining of Rez, unless it's in the imagination of someone who's a little hard of understanding and thinks that you can fundamentally change something and it still stays the same.

The basic premise is the same - you target things, avoid bullets, shoot them. It's set to music, and it's even the same kind of trippy dance music which manages to not be entirely unpleasant. That's where similarities end, however, and where Dream Trigger 3D starts to lose out.

The targeting system in Rez was simple - you moved your target over enemies, and released it with the music, hoping to destroy several at once. On the top screen here, you also have to target enemies, but it's not that simple. Enemies don't show on the top screen until you've revealed then on the lower screen. You do that by laying sonar pings with the stylus, which are activated as the beat line sweeps across them. If there is an enemy by the solar ping as it goes off, it shows up on the top screen and you can destroy it.

Simple enough. But the enemies move, so you need to anticipate where they'll be when the beat line hits, and all the time avoid their shots - yes, they can shoot at you even when not revealed - and collect powerups and try not to get distracted by the pretty 3D backgrounds behind your target/butterfly/ship/whatever icon they've given you this time. There's a lot going on in the game. And tied to this, you have to control the stylus with your right hand, while holding the 3DS with your left hand, while using the circle pad and the L trigger. The stylus sets sonar pings on the bottom screen, the circle pad moves the target on the top screen, and the left trigger shoots the enemies under the target. You can't just keep firing constantly since you have a limited shot gauge, which is refilled by shooting things or the beat sweeping across.

It's this multitude of controls that leads to the title for this blog post.  I've completed five stages of the story mode now, and I'm starting to get used to looking at the top screen and feeling my way around the bottom. The console is just a little too awkward to hold, particularly since the headphone socket is where I'd naturally put my left little finger. I'd like to play more - it's actually a really good game - but I dread to think what sort of claw hands I'd end up with. Maybe tomorrow.

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