Review: NiGHTS : Journey of Dreams

Wii Review

"It's clear that a lot of care and attention to detail has been implemented throughout the majority of the game."

In the nights, dream delight.... Oops, we're getting carried away... but we're pleased to report that this substantial sequel to the much-loved Sega Saturn title has managed to retain that magical sense of wonder that made the original such a classic. Cast aside your doubts right now, as we review your journey of dreams...

Asking the many who have played and adored the original game what single element above all else made it such a magical and mesmerising experience, and we can almost guarantee it will be the feeling of free-flowing flight. That is not to rule out the rest of the game however, as it's core experience was backed up by an awe-inspiring art style and a simply sublime audio score which all helped to amplify the title's awesome aerial acrobatics which became the game's enduringly endearing element for years to come.

Since then over a whole decade has passed and many fans have been starved for a sequel ever since... right up until early last year. Less than a tenth of the time some of us have been waiting onward and the new game is finally upon us - but has it been worth the wait? Well, here's how we think everything balances out on the scales of judgement.

As already aforementioned this Wii follow-up to the cult classic certainly manages to recreate that magical sense of wonder that gets instantly instilled into the player right from the start. Everything from the stunning FMV introduction sequences to the story select screens is as beautifully presented as it ever was if not more so; It's clear that a lot of care and attention to detail has been implemented throughout the majority of the game.

Starting off the main game, your chosen character arrives at the "Gate of Dreams" which basically acts as the game's main hub, and you are greeted by a wise bird somewhat originally named "Owl" who acts as your optional guide throughout. You then meet the purple persona itself - NiGHTS - and everything goes from there really; learning to fly when "Dualized" is something of a mixed experience at first depending on which control scheme you choose, and it should be noted right now that contrary to it's further intentions of added motion control this is one game best suited to a pad.

Playing with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo works just fine as you are controlling movement with the Nunchuk's control stick, dashing with either A or B and performing further acrobatics with a flick or twist of the remote. Using the Wii-mote on its own however, trying to control an on-screen cursor, is just simply too erratic in this instance, and does nothing but hinder the otherwise predominantly joyful experience.

With that point noted, we highly recommend checking out both the Classic and GameCube Controller configurations as they work as well if not better than the Sega Saturn 3D pad, which the original game was based around. Once you've chosen the controller style you liked best and learned the basics from flying around the Plaza at the centre of the Dream Gate, you must go on through one of the doors of Nightopia to free the land from the clutches of the evil Wizard Wizeman and his band of frightful Nightmarens.

This is where the game truly shines and all the familiar elements that make the game come into play; colour and creativity collide in such a way that makes it stand out as a joy to experience in ways that other games can only dream of achieving. Dashing through a dream world, rushing through rings, pulling off paraloops, linking, shrinking, rising, sinking, diving into the sea, trying for that next "B", flying so perfectly; all the simple things that filled you with glee in the past are back here for you to find so effortlessly.

Indeed, it's the simple joy of flight that wins through once more above all other elements (such as the games wonderful artistic style and exemplary audio which once again shine through. That's not to say that the game doesn't have it's downsides however; as at certain parts of the game you will need to play on-foot as one of the children you have selected (Will or Helen), through stages that, while not terrible, just aren't particularly well accomplished. An example of this is the games main hub, which while functional remains relatively sparse.

Still, it's hardly surprising that Sonic Team wanted to try to and add a few new things to the NiGHTS universe after so long, and it's not all bad - the new forms ranging from Dolphin, Dragon, Rocket and even Roller-coaster personae certainly add a extra diversity. Likewise, the variations on established elements (such as the changing viewpoints and brilliant boss battles) are as well accomplished as ever, with both returning and newly realised foes alike contributing well to the main experience.

As a general rule the main game itself can be cleared in only a few hours per character with three main worlds per side all bursting with originality and creativity and another shared world tying each storyline together. Additional extras are available in reasonable abundance, including a competent multiplayer race mode over Nintendo WFC and a battle mode which can be played locally. Add to that various audio tracks and concept art which can be unlocked and the ability to replay each of the varied challenges and boss battles and you have a reasonable amount of scope for future play.

In many ways this represents a dream come true - it's the long overdue return of the beloved NiGHTS that fans and newcomers alike can both experience. It's a shame however that motion control could not be implement effectively enough to be used reliably and that more variety could have been put into the weaker on-foot sections that could have been much more accomplished. The negatives however are still minor blemishes on what is otherwise a fantastic follow-up to a firm fan favourite and hopefully any future releases or re-releases (NiGHTS re-make for Wii please Sega?) will take note of this. But for now, it's good to have a truly great and underrated Sega franchise finally reaching out to a deserved wider audience.

It seems some dreams really do come true... Check out our final review scores below!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

N-Europe Final Verdict

While this revival is a dream come true as opposed to a nightmare, some newer elements are somewhere in-between.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Everything that made the original great is reborn
Awesome visual style
Well composed audio score
Decent level of presentation


Wii Remote only control isn't usable
On foot sections need refining or axing
It ends too quickly

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