Dreams. Still largely unknown, the one thing we do know is that we all experience them. Whether its falling in mid-air or showing up to work naked they all have vastly different meanings. How about racing a magical flying creature through an endless enchanted forest? It might be a psychiatrists field day, but its also Sunbreak Games newest release on the Nintendo eshop. With an animated style oozing charm Buddy & Me could be a dream come true or it might just be a complete nightmare.
Straight off the beautiful art style will grab you and give you an overall feeling for the tone of the title. The Disney-like approach of this child’s dream will encapsulate you the moment you start to chase your companion Buddy through the tree-mendous (apologies, couldn’t resist) forest. The premise is a simple one; Collect as many stars as you can to obtain the highest score. The action is all platform based with your selected protagonist whether boy or girl continually sprinting. You then need to jump accordingly to progress the furthest. With A to jump, A A to double jump and A A and hold to double jump then glide, you will launch into the level within seconds understanding the simple mechanics.
Complementing the journey well is the Irish folk music that brings a sense of tranquility and peace. Then picking up the pace once the star meter is full allows you to hop on Buddy’s back and fly for a period of time bringing some much needed speed changing up the pace nicely.
Promising different levels every play is a bold statement and one that is not completely lied about. How much of a difference is where we disagree. Yes the levels layouts may change partially, though this is the bare minimum with platforms or tire swings lazily moved to other parts of the screen. Doing this sadly doesn’t stop the repetition setting in meaning within half a dozen to a dozen dreams you could be ready to wake up.
Trying to increase the life span, I appreciate the attempted extras with customisable clothes, gallery images and seasons to try change things up but they only stretch so far and don’t add anything worth while. One upgrade too is pretty poor. Different modes would have been much more enticing or a side story to complete would have kept me more awake. Anything really that feels like i’m making progress.
Buddy & Me: Dream edition offers some fun, however at the end of the day it is a mobile game and when you port over to console some changes need to be made. Currently in the aesthetic of the controls and gameplay you can feel that its lacking. On mobile its more acceptable because of the limited buttons but not here. Aimed possibly at a younger audience you have got to remember that kids are smart, they don’t need to be dumbed down and they are capable of learning. In turn from helping players pick it up quick the absent depth will inevitably just as fast make them put it down.
The most disappointing feature is the promise from the art style and character designs. From the outside they look vibrant and enriching even blown up on a wide screen. So when you get to the repetitive gameplay, you feel like the animated duo deserve better. I would love to see a platforming-adventure devoted to the two, maybe similar to a boy and his blob showcasing their relationship and exploring all corners of what a dream can offer; darker times included like nightmares. The IP’s and style would shine brilliantly playing with the idea of dream and reality. So now analysing the final product of Buddy & Me, I do feel there is much more untapped potential for something greater, than just an endless runner. This is because no matter how much charm and personalty the game exhumes, it will quickly run out of steam. Sorry Buddy.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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