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NiGHTS into Dreams Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . As a Saturn game, NiGHTS into Dreams under-delivered. Sixteen years later it's easy to see why, but that shouldn't keep you from playing through this bizarre dreamscape. Just be ready for some frustrating boss fights and linear flying stages! Rating: 64%
NiGHTS into Dreams
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
After catching lightning in a bottle with Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega intended NiGHTS into Dreams to be the next big thing for their fledgling Saturn. Sega was so confident in its success that they decided to bundle it with a brand new analog stick-enhanced controller. Forget about the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation, this was going to be the game that took the 32-bit system to the next level.

Unfortunately, NiGHTS into Dreams didn't quite live up to Sega's expectations. For years the game seemed like it was lost to time; a relic of the past that would never again see the light of day. Despite game journalists like me singing its praises, Sega clearly wasn't interested in keeping this franchise alive. The one glimmer of hope was the PlayStation 2 port, and even that was confined to a Japan-only release.

NiGHTS into Dreams (PS3)

Just as it looked like Sega was done with NiGHTS, the company surprised everybody with a Wii sequel. And now, five short years later, they're finally getting around to re-releasing this long-forgotten gem on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This will be many gamers first time with the much hyped platformer. I have a hunch that a lot of people are going to be left scratching their heads wondering why this was a big deal.

NiGHTS is one of those games that purposely keeps you at arm's length. No matter how hard you try to get close, it will thwart your advances at every turn. It refuses to play by convention to the point of frustration. And yet, despite its deliberately impenetrable exterior, it turns out to be an incredibly moving experience with a lot of truly great ideas you don't often see in this style of game. Sadly, few will see what makes NiGHTS into Dreams so memorable.

You play either a young boy (Elliot) or girl (Claris) as they explore a 3D dreamscape. All of their orbs are stolen at the beginning of each stage, so it's up to them to traverse the area and regain what they lost. Thankfully they aren't alone. By going to the temple, Elliot and Claris will be magically transformed into a third character, a flying jester named Nights.

NiGHTS into Dreams (PS3)

Although it sounds needlessly convoluted, the basic goal is the same from level to level. As Nights, you fly around a set course collecting blue orbs, defeating enemies and spinning through hoops. Eventually you'll come across a floating platform that will only be destroyed if you have enough blue orbs. Once you've collected enough orbs and destroyed the floating platform, you're free to speed back to the temple and move on to the next part of the level. Each stage has four different sections, each with their own set paths.

While this may sound easy, the rub is that you only have two minutes to complete each stage. Sometimes it will take two or three laps around the world to collect enough blue orbs to complete the stage, which means you'll be fighting the clock to get back to the temple. Run out of time and you'll revert back to the teenager you started as.
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