While some cheeses can trigger dreams, it’s unlikely any would trigger ones in Dream Trigger. The game overflows with strangeness, from the abstract icons that are your enemies to the interactive music and 3D backdrops that flip between Tron-like vectors and scenes of nature.
But strip away the psychedelica and the backgrounds and what’s left is a traditional 2D shoot-'em-up with predictable enemy attack waves, power ups to collect and sprays of bullets to weave through.
To liven up its old school formula, Dream Trigger relies on some audio-visual pizzazz. Zapping an enemy causes a burst of colour and a brief soundtrack enhancement. Zap lots of enemies in quick succession and the game becomes a lightshow of vibrant visuals and rich sonics.
But there’s a twist as the enemies are invisible and indestructible until you reveal them using a burst of sonar and it is with this idea that Dream Trigger starts to lose its way.
Firing the sonar requires you to tap a grid of squares on the touchscreen that represent locations on the top screen, where the action happens.
But having to tap below while shooting and dodging above results in an awkward and uncomfortable control method that saps the fun out of the game.
Another problem is that the main mode arranges levels along paths that jut out in different directions and then requires you to spend the points you won by completing levels to move between them. This means it’s easy to get stranded due to a lack of points and having to replay levels over and over to get enough points to move on.
Add to that two more single-player game modes that add little to the formula and Dream Trigger’s initial audio-visual appeal quickly wears thin.