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Daydreamer: Awakened Edition Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Inspired by titles like Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier, Daydreamer: Awakened Edition is a solid action game with a promising premise. Sadly, it's marred by an off-putting art design and boring weapons. Those who stick with the game will discover an action-packed experience full of large boss battles and weird worlds. Rating: 64%
Daydreamer: Awakened Edition
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  • B-
As much as people like saying that graphics don't matter, sometimes they do. That can be especially true when a developer employs a divisive art style or character design, making it hard to get fully invested in a game. That's the case with Daydreamer: Awakened Edition, the surreal new 2D action platformer from Maryland-based Roland Studios. For as much as I admire its unique perspective on the world, there's just something about the look that I can't warm up to.

Daydreamer doesn't give you much time to notice the unorthodox art style before throwing you into the deep end. We're told that our hero's planet was conquered by aliens and everybody has been kept suspended in a Matrix-style alternate reality. The Gate Keeper frees us from our slumber, but only under one condition -- Nylon will need fight her way through a lot of unfriendly terrain while searching for the Sky Tower, where her newfound alien friend is being held captive.


This sets up an odd little 2D platformer that seems to be inspired by games like Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier. Nylon is surprisingly nimble for a girl just waking up from a Matrix-like slumber. Much like Jason Bourne, all it takes is a quick refresher course and she remembers all kinds of useful skills, such as double jumping, quick slides and even slowing down time. This game doesn't slowly ramp up Nylon's expertise; she starts out as a badass and remains one for the entire adventure.

Nylon is more than just nimble; she's also good with guns. I'll confess, given the setup and cartoony hero, I didn't expect Daydreamer to turn into a fast-paced run-and-gun shootfest, but that's exactly what we get. We're able to hold several guns at once and switch between them on the fly, allowing them to recharge ammo when you're not firing. Nylon also carries a whip, though it's short-range and rarely as effective as the guns.

Daydreamer: Awakened Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Sadly, these weapons aren't anywhere near as strange and surreal as the world we're fighting through. We're given a flamethrower and spread shot, the types of guns Bill and Lance used to kick Red Falcon's ass in Contra. I found the homing shots to be the most effective, but wished the developer would have focused on an assortment of weird weapons. This was a big missed opportunity.

Unfortunately, that's how I feel about a lot of design in Daydreamer: Awakened Edition. This is a side-scrolling action game that gets most of the basics right, but it never quite gels in a way that kept me glued to the screen. The game hints that it's going to be wild and weird, but outside of a few strange boss fights, the action feels surprisingly plain and normal. If any game needed to go all-the-way over-the-top, it's this one.

Daydreamer: Awakened Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

I think a large part of the reason I had trouble connecting with Daydreamer is because of its unique art style. To be completely fair, I think Daydreamer has strong visuals that look good on the PlayStation 4. That said, I had a real hard time warming up to the character designs and art style. I found most of the enemies, bosses and even friendly faces to be disturbing in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on. It's not poorly drawn or shoddily implemented; it's just not my thing.

I suspect that there will be a lot of people who not only dig the art, but get really into exploring this unusual world. Nylon has enough techniques, weapons and friendly animal helpers to keep the action engaging and fun. And much like the Treasure games that inspired it, Daydreamer offers a number of large bosses to contend with. I can see all of the individual pieces that make for a great game, but they don't quite come together in Daydreamer: Awakened Edition.
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