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Dream Trigger 3D

Dazed and confused...

Games on 3DS have so far mostly been familiar franchises simplified for either a younger audience or arthritic old-timers. Dream Trigger 3D sets itself apart from this line-up by not only being a completely new franchise, but by also delivering a type of game that you've never played before.

You'll see some of the rhythmic puzzle gameplay of Lumines, with a sprinkling of Rez's artistic sensibilities, all glued together with an accuracy testing mechanic that scratches an old-school itch that hasn't been properly tended to since Ikaruga. But despite borrowing elements from many excellent games, Dream Trigger 3D never quite comes together to become as addictive as any of those titles.

The biggest problem is that it's incredibly confusing. The game does a poor job of explaining just what it is you're meant to be doing, which leads to many deaths, all of which seem to occur in the first stage.

The barrier of incomprehension will eventually be scaled, though, and once you get past this point Dream Trigger becomes a much more exciting game, one that has the potential to appeal to fans of frantic-side-scrolling shoot-'em-ups.

It's futile to attempt to describe how it works in detail, but it requires frequent use of the touch screen, in co-ordination with a cycling trigger that follows the rhythm of the music.

While you're tending to the touch screen and listening to the soundtrack, you're also helping a ship on the top screen avoid tons of bullets to the best of your ability. It's complicated and difficult, but can be rewarding. It may be confounding, but one element you can't fault is the presentation.


The visuals make great play of the 3D, using it for gameplay purposes by moving powerups and enemy attacks between the foreground and background. The 3D feels less like a gimmick and more like an important aspect of the game - which is exactly what 3DS should be doing with its groundbreaking top screen.

If you're prepared to put in the time to fathom out Dream Trigger's nuances, it's a rewarding and occasionally dazzling game. It's an original, interesting shooter that takes full advantage of the 3DS hardware, and should lure in any old-school types who've so far been unimpressed by what the new handheld has to offer

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The verdict

Dream Trigger 3D is quirky to the point of brain-bursting confusion. But it's a welcome change from 3DS's current line-up of simplified titles

  • Great style that works well in 3D
  • Music works well
  • Interesting shooter that plays by its own rules
  • It's all trance music, no variety
  • Gameplay is initially quite confusing
Nintendo 3DS
Shoot 'em Up