[Review] Dreaming Canvas – Nintendo Switch

Written by bretthill87

Reviewed by @Brett_SevenDaze

  • Developer: Playstige Interactive
  • Publisher: Playstige Interactive
  • Release Date: 27/09/2019
  • Price: £4.49 $4.99
  • Review code provided by Playstige Interactive

Intro

Dreaming Canvas is a unique first-person adventure game where you explore 5 worlds to find blank canvases to paint the colourful scenery around you. As you delve into the vibrant and diverse landscapes you can collect inspirational quotes from famous painters. With 5 palette shades to choose from on each canvas, there are endless combinations.

This is a title that is like no other and I can probably guarantee you won’t have played anything like this until you jump into Playstige Interactive’s latest offering, Dreaming Canvas. But can a game that shies away from the normal mould of gaming and feels more of an interactive project to demonstrate one’s passion for art resonate with gamers around the world?

With everything the game has to offer being unlocked from the get-go and the lacklustre gameplay, Dreaming Canvas can feel more like a power nap than a vivid dream from slumberland.

Artistic Expression

There are 5 levels to choose from, each one having a different landscape. Take a slow walk through a snowy Bavarian town or bask in the sunshine as you take a relaxing stroll across a beach plus others. The canvases can be located by searching for the red beacons that can be seen from all over. This takes away the adventure element from the game and deters you from exploring the landscape which is a real shame as the real art is in the level design.

I feel Dreaming Canvas would have benefitted from turning the red beacons off, leaving the player to find them on their journey and maybe have an onscreen menu showing how many canvases have been painted and how many are left to find. There is also no incentive to find all the inspirational quotes dotted about as there is no log showing which ones you have collected or not, a real annoyance for any completionist.

The menu has very little to offer including a language sub-menu where the only language option is English which I found baffling unless there are future plans to add more. To go back to the previous page you have to scroll down to back rather than using the B button or touchscreen functionality. This is only minor but can add time navigating the menu.

Not So Blank Canvas

When you have located a canvas and ready to get your art on the painting has already been done for you giving you 5 sliders letting you change the colour scheme. I feel the developer has missed a trick implementing touchscreen functionality, letting the player draw their own interpretation of the scenery around them. Another personal issue I have with the game is that the painting on the canvas doesn’t match the scenery behind the easel.

The NPC’s are described as interesting but truthfully they are far from it. Emotionless figures stand around with no interaction at all. I feel their only purpose is to be included in the landscape. When in canvas mode, I don’t know if it was intentional or a bug but you can only switch between the sliders by using the D-pad as the analogue stick moves character away from the easel causing it to go back into the first-person mode. If it was intentional then there is no need for the back button to be present.

The soundtrack was relaxing and fitting for the style of gameplay especially when zoning out trying to pick the right colour shades for the mood. The audio FX were spot on making the experience more realistic from water trickling near the river banks and exotic birds when walking through the rainforest.

Conclusion

The visuals look stunning with a vibrant art style but unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t do it any justice causing a dull experience. Due to the lack of content, it won’t be long before the player switches off. The concept is good but has failed at the execution leaving it feeling more like a tech demo. If the developer used the Switch to its full advantage and implemented the touchscreen it would have been a relaxing virtual oasis to unwind and let your inner artist out.

Pros

• Vibrant environments to explore
• Can be relaxing when trying to unwind
• A unique experience for lovers of art

Cons

• Lacks features, feels unfinished
• Feels more of a tech demo than a game
• price is a bit on the steep side

Verdict
A relaxing, tranquil game for fans of art. A unique experience that wasn’t executed well leaving the experience lacklustre.

2/5



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