Dream Chronicles (series)

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Dream Chronicles series
Dream Chronicles Series Logo.png
Official logo of the series
Genres Adventure, hidden object, puzzle
Developers KatGames
Publishers PlayFirst
Creators Miguel Tartaj
Artists

Pablo Vietto
3dBrigade (Pt. 2-5)
Polygonfarm Studio (Pt. 2-5)
Bon Art Studio (Pt. 2)

Nikitova (Pt. 1)
Writers

Eleanor Burian-Mohr (Pt. 1-2 & 4)
Pete Clark (Pt. 4)
Michelle Woods (Pt. 2-3)
Patrick Baggatta (Pt. 3)
Cornerstore Entertainment (Pt. 1-2)

Alexei Othenin-Girard (Pt. 2)
Composers

Adam Gubman

Kane Minkus, Nick Thomas (Pt. 1)
Platforms Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
First release Dream Chronicles
June 12, 2007
Latest release Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water
April 24, 2011

Dream Chronicles is an adventure, hidden object and puzzle casual game series created by Miguel Tartaj for KatGames, owned and originally published by PlayFirst. It is also the name of the first game in the series. The original Dream Chronicles game was pitched to PlayFirst at the Casual Games Association event in Amsterdam in February 2006, became one of the first adventure games to be released in casual games.[1] Its prototype had been rejected by several publishers; but after coming up with the premise of Dream Chronicles, KatGames was signed up by PlayFirst and completed the first game. The whole series earned positive receptions from game critics, often being described as "Myst-style adventure[s] featuring stunning Art Nouveau-inspired graphics, gripping music and an absorbing storyline[s]."[2] With a total of five games released within four years, Dream Chronicles became one of the most popular and recognizable casual game series, with the first three games have been downloaded more than thirty million times as of July 2009.[3] The series had been originally published by PlayFirst, until Big Fish Games took over its distribution since June 2010. From November 2012, PlayFirst only distributed the series on iOS platform, and left other third-party publishers to do the same on PC/Mac platform.

The Dream Chronicles series was supposed to be divided into two trilogies, Faye's Journey and Lyra's Destiny, with three games each and two core stories. However, only the first intended five games were released eventually. First released as a digital download in June 2007, the original Dream Chronicles quickly became a casual game hit, peaking high on many major casual game charts,[4] and proved to be one of the biggest and most innovative casual games of 2007.[1] The original game went to won a Zeeby Award's "People’s Choice Award for the Best Hidden Object & Adventure Game of 2007" in July 2008.[5] It also marked the birth of the "Hidden Object & Adventure" genre in casual games, which is very popular and highly demanding then.[6] Faye's Journey trilogy continued successfully with Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze and Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child, which were released in February 2008 and April 2009 respectively,[7][8] enjoying the same success on casual game charts, and earned many thumb-ups from game critics and casual gamers. The second Lyra's Destiny trilogy started with Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air released in June 2010,[9] and ended abruptly with Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water released in April 2011; though they were both criticized for not matching the standards of the Faye's Journey trilogy.

As PlayFirst had initially announced and The Book of Water's final scenes implied, there would be a sequel called Dream Chronicles: The Book of Fire to be released. However, since November 2012, PlayFirst cancelled releasing and distributing its casual games on PC/Mac platforms in order to focus on its growing mobile gaming market.[10] Because PlayFirst holds the rights to publish the Dream Chronicles series, that forced its developer KatGames to move on with other projects; namely The Cross Formula, a Dream Chronicles-alike game was released in early 2012.[11] Partly due to that cancellation, The Book of Water was cut short its development time, thus making itself felt unfinished and awkward; it was also the last collaboration between PlayFirst and KatGames, and The Book of Fire will not be developed and released.

Development[edit]

Over the course of 2005, Miguel Tartaj, KatGames' CEO and lead game designer, shared the game idea with two potential partners but according to him "it didn't go anywhere". Tartaj wanted to find a publisher who could provide his team with creative input and non-development support. He also needed a partner whom his team trusted and had a track record of successfully navigating the casual games market. Tartaj first met PlayFirst's creative director Kenny Dinkin and Director of Publishing Craig Bocks at Casual Connect Amsterdam in 2006. He was impressed by their dedication to creativity and innovation and could immediately sense that they shared his vision to make this unique game a reality.[12] KatGames eventually signed an agreement to PlayFirst on what came to be known in June 2007 as Dream Chronicles.

Tartaj shared: "We knew that an adventure game like Dream Chronicles was going to be unique for our team and unique for the casual games industry. In a world where swapping colored gems in a match 3 game, or juggling tasks in a time management game is the norm, the iterative nature of a story-based game like Dream Chronicles was going to require a much higher degree of flexibility throughout the game's design and development process. Each new scene involved unique graphics, puzzles, and story elements, so we knew that it wouldn't all be 'figured out' up front. I prefer to work more iteratively and put pieces together to try things out as we go along. PlayFirst's willingness to accept this fact was something that I appreciated in terms of my work style. Not only being able to work this way, but to also be supported in doing it was a great advantage for my team. We truly were able to 'dream' as we went along."[13]

After the success of the original Dream Chronicles, KatGames devoted their time to making the Dream Chronicles series, which is supported by PlayFirst and other third-party developers. KatGames team designed the concepts, artworks and gameplay while partners worked on visual effects, music, story and marketing.

Dream Chronicles was inspired largely by the work of Antonio Gaudi and the Art Nouveau movement.[14]

Story[edit]

Backstory[edit]

Players can have a fully deep look about the fairy world in the Dream Chronicles series by solving 15 Dream Jewels' secrets in Dream Chronicles 2. Those secrets also reveal how the story in the first Dream Chronicles begins.

Long ago, the first fairies were created from mortals when a meteor collided with a field of magic crystals. This occurred at the Ancients' Place, where fairies have since lived for thousands of years. There, they created a hierarchy, assigning each fairy to an area of the earth: some to the oceans, some to the air, some to weather, and some to dreams. The Fairy Lord directed everything and selected a Dream Librarian to record everything the fairies did, said, and decided. The first fairies used the Print Stones Machine to create the first volumes of fairy knowledge and history. These volumes were overseen by the Dream Librarian, who has later editions of the same volumes deep in the bowels of the Dream Library. New works and observations are created constantly.

Many years after the creation of the fairies there was another spectacular astrological event. Three stars aligned in the heavens and then fell from the sky. The fairies took that as a sign that it was time to leave the Ancients' Place and spread out all over the world to run the realm in the ways they had determined. That was when some fairies assumed control over the dreams of mortals. With their sudden exodus, they left behind many structures that now help others understand the Way of the Ancient Fairies. Finally, after seeing a sign from the heavens, the fairies left the Ancients' Place. They still return to meditate upon their fairy origins. No mortals may enter this sacred place. Any who do cannot be allowed to leave, lest they divulge fairy information or history. Fairies have inbred for centuries, due to their system of arranged marriages. Few have gone out into the mortal world to live as mortals, and those who have are generally shunned. Once they infiltrated the Mortal World, fairies put their hands into everything. Their specialties and assigned duties were to watch over natural forces, such as wind and fire, tides and growth, and all matters plant-related. Initially, they did just that under the Fairy Lord's guidance and watchful eye. The Dream Librarian documented those natural events.

The Fairy Lord once embarked on one of his usual quests, in one of his many disguises, during which he routinely checked on fairy functions and took care of problems within the realm. After paying a visit to the Fairies of the Deep, he vanished. For a long time, the Dream Librarian admitted to no one that the Fairy Lord was missing. She filled in diligently, making decisions, mediating disputes, and continuing to chronicle all fairy matters. But the tasks are too great, even for a fairy as learned as she. Deep down, she believes the Fairy Lord is gone, and that she must find a replacement desperately. None of the existing fairies can become Fairy Lord. Their baggage is too great, their scope too limited. The Dream Librarian seeks someone with roots similar to those of the original Fairy Lord, who began as a mortal and became a fairy. Meanwhile, Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, took advantage of Fairy Lord's disappearance by capturing a fairy named Fidget and putting the mortals of Wish under a dream spell.

Faye's Journey[edit]

Dream Chronicles, Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze and Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child belong to the first trilogy of the series named Faye's Journey, telling the story of a mortal woman named Faye, who is the only one to be able to wake up from a dream spell and embarks on many long-lasting dangerous quests to save her husband as well as her daughter.

Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams, casts a sleep spell upon the entire Wish town, making every mortal fall into a magic sleep. She also abducts a fairy named Fidget living there. However, before his abduction, Fidget, using his remaining power, removes the sleep spell from Faye - his wife and the heroine - and leaves a path for her to follow in his diary. Waking up from the dream, Faye can't believe that those things that have happened in her dreams really happen in reality. No one besides her, even if yes, they're sleeping sound. Along with facing many obstacles arranged by Lilith as she wants to prevent anyone from ruining her sound-to-be-perfect plans, Faye starts to discover her in-law family's secret: They're ALL fairies. She also discovers that all marriages are arranged in the Fairy Realm, and the concept of love was unknown until his parents Aeval and Tangle as fairies fell in love. Fidget was to marry Lilith, but his parents chose to raise him in the mortal world, so he, too, could marry for love. Lilith believes that her marriage to Fidget will strengthen her powers as the Fairy Queen of Dreams. But since Fidget married Faye, Lilith has started hatching an evil plan to make sure that Fidget is only for her own. Even being so confused, Faye has to believe what her husband has said as she discovers a human-talking carnivorous plant named Herbert; according to Fidget, is his mother's best friend. Leaving the comfort of in-law's family and her hometown Village of Wish, Faye ventures outside on the lonely quest to save her husband but she quickly gets lost when moon rises. Luckily, a sign shows her directly to Lilith's mansion, where Faye thinks Lilith is keeping her husband. She finally finds and reunites with Fidget momentarily. Unfortunately, as Lilith appears, she separates the couple the second time, brings Fidget with her and casts another sleep spell upon Faye.

Lilith, having abducted Fidget again, sends Faye to a forgotten fairy prison where no mortal has ever escaped from. Waking up from Lilith's dream spell again, Faye is helped by Aeval - the Fairy Queen of Flora, Faye's mother-in-law - who manages to send a diary and helps Faye find way out. Escaping from the prison rooms, Faye explores the Ancients' Place, the fairy's birthplace, where they used to live for a long time ago. She also has to start facing many obstacles arranged by Lilith as she wants to prevent Faye directly from ruining her almost perfect plans. Looking at the nearest crystal ball, Aeval informs Faye that Lyra is no longer sleeping in her bed, and it is assumed that Lilith has taken her hostage. Aeval also tells Faye to hurry, as Fidget's hope of being rescued is fading, and he may succumb to marrying Lilith. Faye needs to meet and ask for help of an old Aeval's friend names Merrow, an inventor who lives in the Mortal Realm. Arriving at Merrow's cottage, Faye actually finds him as a human-talking plant at his secret lab. Merrow agrees to take Faye to the Tower of Dreams where, according to him, Fidget and Lyra are being kept hostage by Lilith. Beside the Tower has a strange tree but Merrow declares that "it's not important", Faye skips it and enters the enormous tower, thing that no mortal have done before. She enters without Merrow's help as he can't enter. Reaching the sixth and top floor, Faye founds a bed there, reminding her much of the bedroom in home. Bearing enough nightmares since husband was abducted, Faye just wants to have a nap. But as soon as she touches the bed, Aeval tells Faye that Merrow is a traitor and she must escape from the tower. Faye jumps out of the tower window and is caught by Aeval's vines. Aeval then leads Faye to the Eternal Tree, that tree she skipped before, where Fidget and Lyra are thought to be being held underneath. Faye enters the tree and finds a sleeping Fidget and Lyra's favourite teddy bear. Aeval tells Faye to find a root potion from the Eternal Maze that will awaken Fidget. After Faye emerges from the Eternal Maze with the potion, the teddy bear vanishes. Faye gives the potion to Fidget, and they are finally reunited, but they must now find their missing daughter.

Faye is living in a tree house as Brenna, having lost all her memories of the previous adventures. Images of a strange man, a little girl and an evil woman often appear in dreams and frustrate Brenna as well. One day, waking up from a dream like this, Brenna suddenly finds a crystal ball, in which a man - just like in her dreams - appears to urge her to find a girl named Lyra. Bewildered and confused, Brenna still listens to the strange man's tips as she says she can trust him. Brenna is led to a strange house owned by a herbalist through a magical nexus gateway. After concocting a memory recovery potion, Brenna finally remembers everything: herself Faye, her husband Fidget, her missing daughter Lyra, and her rival Lilith, the Fairy Queen of Dreams. Faye quickly goes on her way to rescue her daughter, following clues left to her by an unknown. Now she knows that Lilith is hiding in her retreat beneath the sea. As Faye feels closer to Lyra, she knows that she must continue on. After going under the sea, traveling through many strange rooms and two labyrinths, Faye arrives at Lilith's retreat and meets her. Faye demands to know where Lyra is. Lilith calmly tells Faye that the Dream Librarian has abducted Lyra, believing her to be the Chosen Child of prophecy. This prophecy states that a half-fairy, half-mortal child will replace the missing Fairy Lord. Lilith reveals that she has been the one guiding Faye all along and that she refuses to accept Lyra as her Fairy Lord. Suddenly, strangely, Lilith offers to help Faye bring Lyra back. Aware that Lilith has her own "selfish interests at heart," Faye still accepts her help. Going back to the Enchanted Tree, Faye takes Lyra's teddy bear and brings Lyra back at her home in Wish. Faye's family is finally reunited. A new life has already opened for them. Faye says these fairy adventures will haunt her dreams forever. One thing she didn't know is that Lilith was pregnant. And no one knows exactly what Lilith is up to.

Lyra's Destiny[edit]

Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air, Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water and Dream Chronicles: The Book of Fire belong to the second trilogy of the series named Lyra's Destiny, telling the story of a mortal young girl named Lyra, who embarks on many unforeseen quests, just like her mother Faye used to do, to reveal and to accept her unique destiny: Become the new Fairy Lord.

The day before her 18th birthday, Lyra, Faye and Fidget's daughter, a half-mortal, half-fairy girl, has a strange dream. All her friends and family are present and her grandfather Tangle says he has an amazing gift. But then Lyra hears a whisper and everyone disappears. Lyra stays alone in her beloved town of Wish, trapped in a parallel dimension which is very similar to her own. Guided by the messages left by Tangle and using her father's airship, Lyra tries to find the Clockmaker, the only person who can help Lyra get back home and reunite with her family and friends. She finally finds the Clockmaker in his hideout, and thankfully he agrees to help her. Lyra must find 3 keys in 3 separately hidden areas - the Treehouse Village, the Wind Music Island and the Water Collector - to re-activate the Clockmaker's Time Synchronization Machine. On arriving in the Wind Music Island, Lyra is notified that the music eons in this island was once created by fairies who used to live there. Lyra finds her grandfather's notified note confusing but she gradually believes what is happening with her is touched by fairies' hands: the magical chalkboard, the hidden airship, the strange whisper..., not including those powerful powers that Lyra discovers by herself. After finding all 3 keys, Lyra backs to the Clockmaker's house to finish her mission there and can finally head back to her original dimension with so much questions that are yet to be answered. But instead of welcoming Lyra with sunshine, the Village of Wish becomes dark and full of thunders. Lyra wonders what will be waiting her next.

When Lyra arrives at the Village of Wish, the huge storm makes her airship crash at the Wish Town gate. Lyra finds a note which tells that Lilith has cast a storm spell over the entire Village, and everyone left except for Fidget, who is very ill. Lyra arrives home to see that the Founder of Wish statue has changed to a woman figure and Fidget is in deep sleep, ill. She finds a note of Faye's handwriting telling that Lilith went there looking for a book called the Book of Water. Fidget managed to send it to the Barge City when Tangle, Lyra's grandfather, deceived Lilith. Lilith found the truth out and cast the spell that changed Fidget's life into a terrible storm. Fairies can't kill but Lilith's son, Kenrick is a half-fairy, like Lyra, destroyed Tangle. Lyra goes to the herbilisk, to make a potion to save Fidget and returns to Wish. But the potion makes Fidget's illness get worse. Now the only chance to save him is to break Lilith's spell. Lyra goes to the Barge City and finds the Book of Water, which tells that the only way to break the spell is to find the seven magic figurines and put them in the seven caves of the Crater of Time. Then, she must collect seven magic symbols and place them on the center of the Power of Spell. But the three of the figurines have been destroyed during a human Great War, and Lyra discovers that other four figurines have been taken by Faye. Lyra goes to find the four figurines in different places; the Barge City, the Obelisk and the Merrow House. The Clockmaker tells Lyra that the final figurine is in the Herbalisk backyard in exchange of the last page of the Book of Fire. Lyra finds all of them, takes the seven magic symbols and places them at Lilith's statue at Wish. With the storm gone and Fidget recovers but Faye doesn't came back.

Characters[edit]

The first four people listed below are the main characters, the rest are recurring characters. In the Dream Chronicles series, characters normally appear in cut-scenes, but there are some exceptions: Fidget appears in person in the last scene of both Dream Chronicles and Dream Chronicles 2, and Lilith appears in the 24th scene of The Chosen Child.

  • Faye is a mortal woman who is the main protagonist of the first Faye's Journey trilogy. Waking up from a dream, Faye realizes everyone in Village of Wish is falling into a magical sleep spell and her family has already vanished. Faye embarks on a dangerously lonely quest to rescue her husband Fidget, her daughter Lyra and can finally save them. On the quest, Faye explores many secrets about her in-law family: their identities, their fairy roots and a lots of Dream Realm's mysteries. According to her husband, Faye is a smart and strong and persistent woman, who never gives up hopes and always tries hard to get her family back to their old peaceful days. Though being the main character but Faye hasn't appeared yet in person because you play as her point of view.
  • Lilith is the Fairy Queen of Dreams, the daughter of the Fairy King of Darkness and Fairy Queen of Night, which is both good and bad. She is the main antagonist of the first Faye's Journey trilogy. Lilith was betrothed to Fidget before he married Faye and is determined to claim Fidget as her husband. She repeatedly abducts Fidget, as she believes marrying him will make her powers stronger. Lilith also casts an enchanting sleep spell on everyone in Village of Wish to make sure that her plans go smooth and no one can disturb her bringing Fidget back to the Land of Fairies forever. She first appears only in cut-scenes. Lilith finally appears in person in The Chosen Child to reveal Lyra's fate with Faye and seems like she's hatching other evil plans in the future.
  • Fidget is the beloved teacher in the Village of Wish and the son of parents highly placed in the fairy world. His parents broke from fairy tradition and married out of love. Considered outcasts, they settled in the mortal town of Wish. He was raised as a mortal though born a fairy. As Fidget grows older, his parents tell him of his roots and teach him the Way of the Fairy. Fidget is well educated by his parents, both in things of his mortal world and things of the fairy world. He followed in his parents' footsteps and fled an arranged fairy marriage to Lilith to follow his heart. The secret of his fairy roots was once safe, until Lilith snatched him away. Already being aware of Lilith's evil plans, Fidget tried to protect his family but when things goes wrong, Lilith abducts and brings him to the Dream Realm. She finally releases Fidget at the end of Dream Chronicles 2, unfortunately she sends him into a crystal ball. Fidget has appeared in all Dream Chronicles games, also plays as Faye's guider in the original Dream Chronicles. He only appears at the end of the first game, the beginning and the end of the second game and along with Faye in the third one as her helper.
  • Lyra is the half-fairy, half-mortal daughter of Faye and Fidget. Lyra falls into Lilith's sleep spell like any other person in Village of Wish in the original game and then Lilith kidnapped her too before she releases Fidget. Lyra is believed to be the Chosen Child who is prophesied to replace the missing Fairy Lord. Her destiny is revealed at the end of The Chosen Child. Lyra plays a minor role and only appears three times in each Faye's Journey trilogy's game. But in the second series, she replaces her mother Faye as the central character.
  • Aeval, Fairy Queen of Flora, is Fidget's mother and Faye's mother-in-law. She fell in love with Tangle, and they escaped to the Mortal Realm together. Aeval not only talks to plants; they talk to her. There are plants throughout the Mortal and Fairy Realms, they can communicate with each other through their root systems, through fallen leaves captured by the wind fairies, and through pollen and seeds carried by the water fairies. All these plants ultimately communicate with Aeval. If there is trouble far away, the plants are able to transmit this information to Aeval. Her best friend is actually a carnivorous plant named Herbert. She and her plants try to help Faye to find Fidget in Dream Chronicles 2 and is not mentioned much in this installment.
  • Tangle, Fairy King of Knowledge, is Fidget's father and Faye's father-in-law. He and Aeval escaped to the Mortal Realm together to make sure that their children will be brought up naturally and humanly. As Fairy King of Knowledge, reading books is his "endless pursuit", said Fidget. Tangle was the Dream Librarian's most devoted student, and is almost as knowledgeable as her. Tangle has the advantage of knowing more of mortal life, having lived in the mortal world for so long, but the Dream Librarian knows more of the Fairy Ways. Tangle did not appear in the first series but he plays as Lyra's guide in The Book of Air. Like his wife, Aeval, he's only mentioned and plays a minor role in the first trilogy. In The Book of Water, Lilith attacked the Family a few days before Lyra came back. Lilith was searching for a book called The Book of Water when she attacked. While distracting them, Fidget opened up a portal to Barge City and threw the book there to protect it. Since Fairies cannot destroy each other, Lilith ordered her 10-year-old half-fairy, half-mortal son, Kenrick, to kill Tangle, and he did. Tangle is the first character to die in the series.
  • Merrow is a fairy who left the Fairy Realm to pursue the study of science without the interference of magic. This angered Lilith's mother, who stripped him of his fairy powers. When Tangle and Aeval escaped with baby Fidget, Merrow helped them. In gratitude, Aeval gave him the ability to communicate with plants. Though he is eccentric, he is knowledgeable, and knows secret passages into the Fairy Realm. Only he can guide a mortal there. In Dream Chronicles 2, he - as an insect-eating plant – helps Faye to reach the Tower of Dreams and then disappears strangely.
  • Dream Librarian holds all knowledge, history, and wisdom, and uses it to create countless volumes of books in her enormous library. She has, or can find, the answers to every question involving the Fairy Realm. Because of her vast knowledge, she is the primary advisor to the Fairy Lord. Lilith once reveals that Dream Librarian believes that Lyra was the Chosen Child and that she is actually the one who tries to separate Faye and Fidget. This character hasn't appeared yet, she's only mentioned by Lilith and through Dream Jewels' secrets in Dream Chronicles 2.

Setting[edit]

KatGames design a mystical world of realistic fantasy where mortal and fairy realms collide for the Dream Chronicles series, which no casual game developer has done before. In every game, players have to travel back-and-forth between 2 realms and gradually discover the history of each location. The series is set in an illustrated fantasy world with a floral/woodsy theme to many items, from architecture to furniture. The early games in the series follow the adventures of Faye as she tries to rescue her daughter Lyra. Beginning with the fourth game, The Book of Air, Lyra becomes the protagonist in a new series of adventures that charts a new direction for the franchise, although the essential style of puzzles (primarily hidden object games) and gameplay remain consistent. There are many notable locations in the series:[15]

  • The Village of Wish: This is the tiny town of Wish, where Faye lives with her husband Fidget, her daughter Lyra and Fidget's parents, Tangle and Aeval. It’s an insular place, far from cities and civilization. The town is surrounded by tall walls, not to keep the residents inside, for they have no desire to leave the safety and warmth of their community. The walls are there to keep the outside world outside, and are secured with complex weighted locks first seen in Dream Chronicles. The streets are cobbled, lined with colorful dwellings and stores. Beyond the walls of Wish lie lush forests and winding roads that, eventually, lead to other larger towns. But the folk of Wish have little desire to visit those distant places. Their homes are secure in their beloved village where, they believe, no harm can come to them. Before Faye, no one had left this village in many years. This is where Faye to start her journey for the first time.
  • Lilith's Mansion: This is Lilith's temporary home. In the original Dream Chronicles, she executed her plans to kidnap Fidget from this location.
  • The Forgotten Prison: There are 3 chambers in this prison. Fairies that fought the elements of nature were imprisoned here. This is where Faye to start her journey for the second time.
  • The Ancient's Place: This is the birthplace of the fairy race. Fairies have kept its location secret from mortals for thousands of years. It is protected by an impenetrable force field, making it an ideal spot for Lilith to imprison a mortal like Faye in Dream Chronicles 2.
  • The Mortal Maze: This is the underground tunnel that leads from the fairy realm to the mortal realm.
  • Merrow's Cottage: Merrow's cottage was once a sanctuary for fairies escaping into the mortal realm.
  • The Tower of Dreams: It holds all the knowledge, wisdom, history, and insights of the fairies. Because of the value of its contents, it is guarded by five ancient Fairy Knights and each floor is protected by ingenious locks. The upper floor is where dreams can be made and watched. In Dream Chronicles 2, Merrow believes that Lilith is holding Fidget and Lyra on that floor. The Eternal Maze lies near this tower.
  • The Eternal Maze: As a final safeguard so that no mortal could ever enter or leave the Ancients' Place, the fairies created an underground maze with no light and no map. Unfortunately, this made fairy passage almost impossible as well, and so some of the fairies created a map to help them find their way between realms.
  • The Treehouse Village: The people of this village believe that strange occurrences will befall them if they don't live high in tree tops. This is where Faye to start her journey for the third and final time. This is also a part of the green belt that runs through the fairy world. It is all part of Aeval’s plant network. Though others may doubt it, Aeval always knew that the trees saw and remembered everything. Over time they have been used to hide treasures and secrets. In The Book of Air, someone within the fairy world has turned the trees to gold, keeping them from “speaking” with Aeval. The trees are being used to protect a key – the very key the Clockmaker needs to fix his Time Synchronization Machine. Lyra must help the trees in order for the trees to help Lyra.
  • The Nexus Gateway: This is the transportation hub that fairies use to travel quickly from the fairy realm to the mortal realm. In The Chosen Child, players can travel to 6 locations from here: The Treehouse Village, the Herbalist's House, the Observatory, the Village of Wish (Faye's House), the Underwater Retreat, the Eternal Maze.
  • The Observatory: The magic telescope is used to convert constellations into molds. Molds are used in the Forge to create Dream Jewels to open new places in the Nexus Gateway.
  • The Herbalist's House: The herbalist is a mortal who acquired fairy knowledge and experimented with potions from various plants. Known for his expertise in potion-making, the Herbalist has recipes for very powerful magical concoctions.
  • The Underwater Retreat: Expectant Fairy Mothers travel to this spa-like retreat to rest and restore their magical powers. In The Chosen Child, after releasing Fidget, Lilith decides to go there to restore as she's pregnant. But she still sends notes, instructions, a crystal ball to help Faye unite with Lyra.
  • The Clockmaker's House: This is a distant frozen tundra from where the Clockmaker, a powerful if solitary fairy, synchronizes time both in the mortal and fairy worlds. The low temperatures at the Clockmaker's House are useful for slowing any clocks that might consider racing ahead. The eternal snow keeps the Clockmaker’s parts pristine. No plants grow in his frozen wasteland but long ago Aeval brought him flowers from a more hospitable clime, and their image is now pressed into various pieces throughout the Clockmaker’s domain.
  • The Wind Music Island: This is the place where fairies created the first music, using the instruments that can be found there. Mortal music, it is said, is born when mortals hear bits of fairy music while they sleep. In the distance, looming ominously, it's the Tower of Dreams, where Faye searched for Fidget in Dream Chronicles 2. Before the fairies moved on from Wind Music Island, they created a stone instrument band—musical instruments of stone that played music on their own so that the music would continue forever.
  • The Water Collector: This is the basis of the infrastructure for fairy civilization. Here water is collected, purified, and dispersed. For many years Aeval took a proprietary interest in the Water Collector, to be certain all plants were adequately nourished. There is a system inside the cottage which tests not only the purity of the water, but the amount of elements within each measure of water. Water from different sources carries different properties, which are utilized by fairies responsible for different aspects of the world.
  • The Barge City: This is an enchanting fishing village built over the water, well south of the Village of Wish, is the home of many fishermen and merchants, and where houses float on water, connected by wooden boardwalks.
  • The Obelisk: This imposing structure holds a magical figurine inside used in The Book of Water, but it is not easy to access or open. This is also a very arid and quiet place, in the middle of the desert, but people must still live in those houses carved into the rocks.
  • The Crater of Time: This barren area holds the seven magic symbols needed to stop the Eternal Storm spell in The Book of Water. They are locked inside seven mysterious caves.

Gameplay[edit]

When players enter a room or any location for the first time, Faye/Lyra makes some entry statement to set players on the right track. Almost all the objects in the room can be described to players by Faye/Lyra, players just need to click on them and they’ll have a statement with a probable hint. Clicking items place them in your inventory at the bottom of the screen. Once there, players can use them on other objects and combine them to solve the various conundrums encountered. However, unlike most hard-core adventures, players never lug around any unnecessary inventory items here. All the items players collect can be used only within the location players found them in, but not in future puzzles. Solve the poser at hand and players unlock the door to the next location.[16] But start from Dream Chronicles 2, the objects that players find may be used in a scene other than the one they found it in. Objects will stay in inventory until players need to use them. All objects that players are able to pick up will serve a purpose, whether they are used in that scene or not. A lot of times in this game the pieces players pick up may only be used as they get to the next scene. Some items may not become visible in a scene right away, players must perform other tasks first before they become visible.[17]

Each Dream Chronicles game consists of a series of puzzles that the players, as Faye/Lyra must solve to reach the next chapter. Most involve searching for and making use of hidden objects, while others are logic puzzles. The players are required to do is collect a lot of items from the scenes or areas and put them back where they belonged. The whole game covers a wide range of game types, including adventure/role-playing, jigsaw, seek-and-find, Simon-style memory, word unscrambling, sliding, ask-and-answer... and even has a few mazes. Players are given hints as to how to proceed, and some brief instructions, but they need to work out what is actually required themselves.[18] Every puzzle or item in each Dream Chronicles game is blended well with context and Dream Realm-themed story. The game is separated into many segments and there is a cut-scene between these ones. Cut-scenes in the Dream Chronicles series are often cinematic-like, wide-screen briefs, which tells the story as Faye/Lyra's point of view. Only a few characters appears directly in these.

Throughout each game, the players find various colored/transparent gems. These are Dream Pieces, gems that make up the unique Dream Jewels collection. Each Dream Chronicles game has its own different Dream Jewels collection with different names, shapes and usages. Completion of Dream Jewels is necessary to complete each game in the series. In the original Dream Chronicles, 8 Dream Jewels give a lot of detailed information about fairies and their roles in Dream Realm. In Dream Chronicles 2, 15 Dream Jewels answer and explain many dark secrets about Lilith, Lyra and Dream Realm. While in The Chosen Child, 10 Dream Jewels are used to open new areas. Finally, in The Book of Air, Dream Jewels come with special powers. Overall, finding and completing Dream Jewels also adds to the player's score at the end of the game. There are numerous Dream Pieces molding some exact numbers of Dream Jewels to complete in each Dream Chronicles game.[16] Dream Jewels collection is a unique element of Dream Chronicles, which differs this series from any other casual games on the market. Though often being credited for borrowing Myst concepts but, in fact, Dream Chronicles is one of the earliest casual game series which has adventure elements combining with hidden object proportions.

Along with new designs, backgrounds, music, story-line and puzzles, KatGames add on every Dream Chronicles sequels a lots of twists to make sure that any new feature they added brought depth and enhanced what people already love about the Dream Chronicles experience and didn’t feel "tacked on" or unnecessary.[19] The gameplays in Dream Chronicles sequels are quite the same traditional with the original Dream Chronicles but they're more involved than it. In Dream Chronicles 2, in order to solve puzzles, players can go back-and-forth among relative scenes in a separate area. While in The Chosen Child, players can travel to any of 7 areas in game by using nexus gateway. And in The Book of Air, players totally control their traveling by using Fidget's airship to explore the Dream Realm.

At the end of each game, player earns a high score, mostly based on how quick players can solve the puzzles and how fast they finish the game but in each installment has its different extra count. In the original Dream Chronicles, players only need to find and complete the Dream Jewels collection to earn high score, along with solving puzzles quickly. In Dream Chronicles 2, they have to solve Dream Jewels' secrets to do this. And in The Chosen Child, they have to find extra gold nuggets.

Main games[edit]

The series is mainly designed and developed by KatGames and released first by their direct publisher PlayFirst.

Game title(s)
Release date(s) Platform(s)
Dream Chronicles June 12, 2007 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS,[20] Nintendo DS, Mobile,[21] PS3,[22] Xbox 360[22]
Welcome to the Dream Chronicles, where the lines between reality and fantasy no longer exist. Follow subtle clues to help Faye find her missing husband and escape the mysterious sleeping spell that has taken over the town of Wish. Stay sharp and focused and you may unravel this intriguing, dreamy mystery!
Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze February 14, 2008 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
Locked away within the Ancients' Place by Lilith, Fairy Queen of Dreams, Faye continues her quest to reunite with her beloved husband, Fidget. Navigate this stunning story world of intricate puzzles and magical landscapes as you unravel the secrets of your family's past in this alluring sequel. Dream Chronicles 2 takes you deeper into the Dream Realm than ever before with over 80 engaging puzzles offering all-new challenges and longer gameplay.
Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child April 16, 2009 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
Unlock the secrets of the mysterious fairy realm in the third installment of the award-winning Dream Chronicles series, The Chosen Child. Discover hidden clues and challenging puzzles as you join Faye on her quest to save her daughter from the clutches of Lilith and reveal the secret prophecy of the Chosen Child in this all-new hidden object adventure with unexpected twists.
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air June 24, 2010 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
The epic Dream Chronicles saga continues in PlayFirst's award-winning adventure series. Play as Lyra, Faye's daughter, who finds herself trapped in a strange dimension on the day before her 18th birthday. Following clues sent by her grandfather, she flies across the realm in search of the Clockmaker who will help her restore time and return home. Solve intriguing puzzles and search for items that will reunite Lyra with family and friends in The Book of Air!
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water April 24, 2011 Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
The award-winning adventure by PlayFirst continues in the most suspenseful chapter of the Dream Chronicles saga. A devastating storm has hit the village of Wish. Play as Lyra, and find a way to lift the evil curse. Embark on a quest to solve challenging puzzles and seek answers to save Lyra hometown in The Book of Water.

Reception and influences[edit]

The first set of Dream Chronicles trilogy

Since the first release in June 2007, the series has garnered mostly positive reviews from game critics for its visuals, audio, dream-themed story, characters, and puzzles.[16][18][23][24]

Gamezebo, a casual game review site, rated the original Dream Chronicles 5/5 stars. Chuck Miller praised: "It's best described as a casual cousin to epic, hard-core adventures like Myst and Uru. A mix of fantasy and reality, its hypnotic dreamland engages you in a larger-than-life quest, a mystery that needs to be solved one puzzle at a time as the story unfolds around you. [...] Dream Chronicles has all the necessary ingredients of an exceptional game, one that lives up to its marketing hype. Art Nouveau graphics are beautifully rendered, an ethereal soundtrack helps bring the world to life, its engaging narrative draws you into the story and diverse puzzles of varying difficulty keep play interesting and challenging. [...] In short, solving Dream Chronicles's mysteries is a thoroughly enjoyable experience."[16] Dream Chronicles was honored as one of the best casual games of 2007 in the annual Top Games list by Gamezebo's editors, and won a "Zeebys" award for People’s Choice for the "Best Hidden Object & Adventure Game of 2007"[5] as well placing at number one in 2007 customer favorites[25] by Big Fish Games.

The two sequels, Dream Chronicles 2 and The Chosen Child, enjoyed the same success on many major casual game charts and accolades from critics.

Awem Studio praised Dream Chronicles 2: "The artwork is gorgeously dreamy and it adds some special coloring to the entire atmosphere of mystery and enigma and is a true feature of Dream Chronicles games. ... The visual and sound aspects are greatly satisfying and create a real Dream World. Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze is one of those games that will be engraved in your memory and win over your heart."[26] In July 2009, Dream Chronicles 2 was honored with 2 awards by RealArcade, "Top Adventure Game of 2008" and "Best World Design", in their first Great Games Awards.[27]

John Bardinelli of Jay Is Games said in his review of The Chosen Child: "The latest installment in the Dream Chronicles series ... [is] as breathtakingly brilliant as everyone would expect. A little bit of hidden object finding, a little bit of puzzle solving, and a whole lot of adventuring can be found in this superb sequel, along with some of the most gorgeous scenery you've seen since looking out your own window (assuming you live in a fantasy world with fairies, fountains, and vibrant gardens). ... These [Dream Chronicles] titles just keep getting better and better. It's a perfect blend of object finding and adventure gameplay, and the puzzles are constructed so cleverly you might even giggle when you think of the solution. And I swear you'll melt from the combination of the gorgeous visuals and enchanting music."[28] In late 2009, The Chosen Child was placed at number two 2009 customer favorites by Big Fish Games.[29]

Criticism generally focuses on the first and forth games, for their short length. Gamezebo's Erin Bell once stated: "The length is disappointing when compared to other adventure games, even while acknowledging the attention to detail that care that KatGames put into every scene and puzzle."[24]

As of July 2009, the first three games had been downloaded more than 30 million times.[3]

The second trilogy Lyra's Destiny, started with The Book of Air. Though the game proved to be another commercial success, it garnered many lukewarm reviews, which criticized it for not matching the standards of the previous games. Some reviews praised its Dream Chronicles-trademarked high-quality production values and tricky gameplay,[30][31] while negative reviews focused on its very short length (only 16 main scenes, shorter than the original Dream Chronicles) and some repetitive puzzles.[32]

As PlayFirst had initially announced and The Book of Water's final scenes implied, there would be a sequel called Dream Chronicles: The Book of Fire to be released. But soon after The Book of Water was released, since July 2011, PlayFirst cancelled releasing casual games on PC/Mac platforms in order to focus on its growing mobile gaming market.[10] Because PlayFirst hold Dream Chronicles trademarks, KatGames must have their approval in order to develop a new sequel, thus KatGames had to move on with other projects. Due to that cancellation, The Book of Fire will not be developed and released, and The Book of Water was the last collaboration between PlayFirst and KatGames. Furthermore, due to that early cancellation, the game's development time was cut short to fit PlayFirst's game schedule. KatGames had to reuse several previous games' scenes, background music, and sound effects. The animation was not designed in 3D as KatGames did in previous games. Some puzzles were also cut short and lacked difficulty towards the end; and even the same voice-over was used for both Lyra and Faye; thus overall making The Book of Water felt unfinished and simplistic.

Critical reception[edit]

Game title(s) Gamezebo's Rating(s) Jay Is Games' Rating(s)
Dream Chronicles 100%[16] 90%[18]
Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze 90%[2] 92%[23]
Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child 80%[24] 92%[28]
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air 70%[32] 90%[31]
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water 40%[33] 88%[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Dream Chronicles

- Big Fish Games — "2nd Runner-Up Best Puzzle Game of 2007"[35] (nominated)

- 2008 Zeeby Second Annual Casual Game Awards — "People’s Choice Award for the Best Hidden Object & Adventure Game of 2007"[5] (won)

  • Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze

- 2009 RealGame Great Game Awards — "Top Adventure Game of 2008"[27] (won)

- 2009 RealGame Great Game Awards — "Best World Design"[27] (won)

  • Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child

- 2010 GameHouse Great Game Awards — "Top Hidden Object Game of 2009"[36] (nominated)

- 2010 GameHouse Great Game Awards — "Best Story"[36] (nominated)

  • Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air

- Big Fish Games - "2nd Runner-Up Best Adventure Game of 2010"[37] (nominated)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Casual Connect (2008-02-01). "Dream Weaving: Dreaming Dream Chronicles Into Reality". Casual Connect. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  2. ^ a b Gamezebo (2008-02-18). "Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  3. ^ a b SonicBoom (2009-07-20). "Sonic Boom, Inc. to Launch PlayFirst's Dream Chronicles on Mobile in North America". SonicBoom. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  4. ^ CasualCharts.com (2007-06-12). "Dream Chronicles Detail". CasualCharts.com. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  5. ^ a b c Gamezebo (2008-07-25). "Zeeby Awards - The results are in!". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  6. ^ Gamezebo (2008-01-02). "2007: The Year that Was . . . And Wasn't". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  7. ^ CasualCharts.com (2008-02-14). "Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze Detail". CasualCharts.com. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  8. ^ CasualCharts.com (2009-04-16). "Dream Chronicles - The Chosen Child Detail". CasualCharts.com. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  9. ^ PlayFirst (2010-06-10). "Official Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air trailer and release date". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  10. ^ a b Jim Squires (2011-11-19). "Is PlayFirst out of the PC gaming business?". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  11. ^ Erin Bell (2011-11-25). "The Cross Formula Preview". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  12. ^ Gamasutra (2008-04-22). "Postmortem: Kat Games' Dream Chronicles". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  13. ^ Gamasutra (2008-04-22). "Postmortem: Kat Games' Dream Chronicles, Page 3". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  14. ^ PlayFirst (2009-04-10). "Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child – The Artistic Inspiration". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  15. ^ PlayFirst (2009-03-01). "Dream Chronicles Home". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Gamezebo (2007-06-12). "Dream Chronicles Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  17. ^ Gamezebo (2008-02-19). "Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze Walkthrough". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  18. ^ a b c JayIsGames.com (2007-07-28). "Dream Chronicles". JayIsGames.com. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  19. ^ PlayFirst (2009-04-15). "New Feature Highlights for The Chosen Child!". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  20. ^ PlayFirst (2009-04-27). "Award-Winning Dream Chronicles Game Launches on the iPhone". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  21. ^ PlayFirst (2009-10-05). "You can now play Dream Chronicles on your mobile phone!". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  22. ^ a b Hudson Entertainment (2010-02-08). "Dream Chronicles Weaving Its Way to Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network". Hudson Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  23. ^ a b JayIsGames.com (2008-02-15). "Dream Chronicles 2". JayIsGames.com. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  24. ^ a b c Gamezebo (2009-04-17). "Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  25. ^ Big Fish Games (2008-01-01). "Big Fish Games' 2007 Customer Favorites for PC". Big Fish Games. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  26. ^ Awem.com (2008-11-09). "Dream Chronicles 2. Dreamy World". Awem.com. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  27. ^ a b c GameHouse (2009-07-21). "RealGames Recognizes Outstanding Developers with First Annual Great Game Awards". GameHouse. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  28. ^ a b JayIsGames.com (2009-04-16). "Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child". JayIsGames.com. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  29. ^ Big Fish Games (2010-01-01). "Big Fish Games' 2009 Customer Favorites for PC". Big Fish Games. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  30. ^ Awem.com (2010-03-24). "Dream Chronicles The Book of Air. Game Preview". Awem.com. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  31. ^ a b JayIsGames (2010-06-25). "Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air". JayIsGames. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  32. ^ a b Gamezebo (2010-06-24). "Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  33. ^ Neilie Johnson (2011-05-03). "Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  34. ^ Grinnyp (2011-04-24). "Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water on Jay Is Games". Jay Is Games. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  35. ^ Big Fish Games (2007-07-20). "Dream Chronicles Game Download for PC". Big Fish Games. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  36. ^ a b GameHouse (2010-06-18). "Nominees Announced for Second Annual GameHouse Great Game Awards". GameHouse. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  37. ^ Big Fish Games (2010-12-29). "2010 Customer Favorites Awards". Big Fish Games. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 

External links[edit]