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DREAM-AGE KICKS

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Dreams PS4 (Sony)

Players and creators become one in Sony’s sandbox experiment. Dreams provides the tools to create your own videogame. If you prefer to sit back and let others do the hard work, there’s a mammoth collection of people’s interactiv­e creations. Art’s Dream

is the showcase title. This movielengt­h interactiv­e musical, about a down-on-his-luck jazz musician, reveals the amount of genres you can dream up. Platform adventures? First person shooters? City building games? Racing titles? It’s all here for marathon gaming gorging.

Personal favourites in the Dreams

catalogue include Blade Gunner, a 1980’s Defender-style arcade game, and Art Therapy, in which you smash up an art gallery with a bat. Players have created odes to classic games (Silent Hill),

television shows (Stranger Things),

and even pop stars (Freddie Mercury). There is a lot of crap to trawl through: dreams becoming nightmares.

With the help of your personal avatar, known as an Imp, pulling together environmen­ts, sound effects and characters in creation mode is easier than you might think. The wider community of Dreams can be called upon to help craft your masterpiec­e. 9/10

Hunt: Showdown Xbox One (Crytek)

You may find yourself, in Hunt: Showdown, up shit creek without a paddle. But at least you’ll have a shotgun, a bear trap, and a pick-axe. Accompanyi­ng you on this sojourn through the Louisiana swamps are grubby water zombies, pulsating pus-filled monsters, and the occasional rabid dog. Down boy!

Hunt: Showdown, a first person shooter on a mission, is a fermented dose of southern gothic, in which your nerves will be jangling in time with the chains on a hillbilly’s porch. The goal is simple. Begin by tracking down three clues, using your extrasenso­ry powers. Once found, they will reveal the location of a boss creature: giant spiders, butchers and assassins. Once the creature is defeated, grab their loot, then leg it off the map.

Sounds simple, but in practice it’s Leaving Cert stressful. Like classic zombie drama Day Z, there is “perma death”. If you die, you have to restart the game. Other players may be on the map, lurking around each corner, preparing to bury an axe between your eyes. But you won’t know if they are there, or even if they’re playing.

The open world swampland is graphicall­y grotty, but the monstrous sound effects are guaranteed to have you shaking like a pooping poodle. 7/10

World Of Horror PC (Ysbryd)

Loading up World Of Horror is like falling down a rabbit hole to 35 years in the past where everyone has massive shoulder pads, perms, and JR Ewing is on the telly box.

This was the era of old-school text adventures like The Hobbit, in which the graphics looked as though they were created with ink and cardboard. “Do you want to open the chest?” the game would ask. “Y” you would tap, meaning “yes”. Honestly, this was caveman stuff.

Yet there is something hypnotic about World Of Horror and its

Ì>i œv > Ïii«Þ wň˜} ۈ>}i ˆ˜ Japan, overcome by tentacled horrors torn from the pages of HP Lovecraft. You play a local teen, trying not to be decapitate­d by a maniacal scissors-woman and other anti-social goons. A number of other retro genres sit alongside the text adventures and crude

1-bit graphics: turn-based, RPG ÃÌޏi w}…ÌÃAE >˜` Yu-Gi-Oh! style card games.

Discoverin­g that the game wasn’t created by a mangaobses­sed developer in Tokyo, but a part-time dentist from Poland (called Pavel), makes the whole experience even weirder. An hour into the adventure, my PC crashed. I was expecting a longhaired woman to emerge from the screen, like the one from Ring, so I went to bed and cried myself to sleep. 6/10

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