First appearing in 1996 on the Sega Saturn, NiGHTS into Dreams was a strange creature. Created by the legendary Sonic Team, the game is part fantasy, racer, platformer.
You can choose to play as either Claris or Elliot, a boy and a girl who have found themselves in the land of dreams. In this land they encounter a being called NiGHTS. NiGHTS is the last of its kind and needs help to save the land of Dreams.
As the game starts you’ll have to move your character through the landscap until you reach a collection of columns, once you enter these columns you’ll transform into titular NiGHTS and soon be off flying through the level. Each level has four paths, each path contains orbs, and you must collect 20 orbs and deposit them in the giant snow globe type thing to move onto the next path. Each path also has a time limit; if you fail to collect the orbs within the time limit then you’ll crash back to the ground, transforming back into your chosen character and be forced to collect the orbs by hand.
The first thing to say about the game is how good it looks; the HD remake doesn’t actually apply to the original Saturn game though. The HD part is actually an update to the Japan-Only PlayStation 2 remake, there is an option to play the game using the original Saturn graphics, but that’s more for those that remember the game the first time around. If you’re new to NiGHTS then you may be better off sticking with the updated version.
After each level you’ll come up against a boss and this is where the game starts to falter. Each boss is unique, but usually involves spinning into them either to cause damage directly or to ricochet them off causing damage indirectly. The bosses are timed as well which makes them more difficult than they really have any business being. Some bosses can stun you making the race against the clock very tight and with some it may not be immediately obvious how you’re meant to defeat them. Couple that with a camera that sometimes seems to be working against you and you’ll find that it will usually take more than one attempt to defeat a boss.
The game isn’t especially long, each of the two characters gets four individual levels and then they share the final one, the total game length is probably only just a few hours. Sega are aware of this so they have given you the choice of playing the original Saturn version too, you can also unlock the Christmas NiGHTS levels which will pad out the game a bit further.
NiGHTS into Dreams is a fun game to play, it harkens back to a simpler time of gaming, and the up scaling has been well done which makes the game more enjoyable to play. It’s not a perfect game by any means, games today are more refined and we don’t easily accept faults like we used to, but with NiGHTS we can see past those faults and see how much fun it is to fly.
NiGHTS into Dreams is available now on the PlayStation Network for £6.49 and the XBLA for 800 MS Points.
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Tim Bowers is the ex-Editor of Zero1Gaming, he also occasionally writes when he's able to string sentences together. He can usually be found waiting for Nintendo to remember about Samus Aran.