In less than a month the 3DS will be getting it’s first 2D (2D/3D? (2/3)D? 6D?) shooter, a unique looking title named Dream Trigger 3D that looks like the child of Rez, Galaga, Lumines, and DoDonPachi. If this combination brings a smile to your face, then read on for more.
As a dedicated fan of the 2D shooter (aka “shmup”) genre (and by dedicated I mean that I have around 50 1-Credit-Clears under my belt, including a few from the modern danmaku shooters), it has always been an exciting time for me whenever a new console gets its first unique shmup. In fact, I can still remember driving all over Huntsville back in July of 2005, searching desperately for a copy of Shin’en’s Nanostray. Thankfully, I did eventually find a copy (ironically at the location I would work at two years later) and the next few weeks were filled with combating folks across the world on their online leaderboard website.
In less than a month, the 3DS will be getting it’s very first shmup, a unique looking title by the name of Dream Trigger 3D from developer ART Co. that is being published by D3 Publisher (the saints who brought us Earth Defense Force 2017 on Xbox360). Of course, Dream Trigger 3D is most certainly not your average 2D shooter experience. As one would expect, with it being a new title for the fairly new 3DS system, the 3DS’s 3D technology is going to be put to use; and it may be that Dream Trigger 3D will be the first title to really showcase the impact that 3D can have on gaming.
The premise of Dream Trigger 3D is fairly straight forward. You are a fixer of dreams and you are tasked with turning nightmarish landscapes into pleasant dreamscapes. Of course, beyond the plot Dream Trigger 3D quits being quite so straight forward as its game design forces the player to basically play two games at once.
On the top screen you control an avatar (no, not your Mii) that fits with the world you are in (of which there are 10, each split into 5 sections). This avatar is being assaulted by enemies in classic danmaku (bullet hell/manic shooter/whatever) fashion, but unfortunately for you, you can’t harm the enemies. The reason for this is because on the bottom screen there’s a “sonar” type game going on, one that, as far as I can tell, resembles Lumines slightly but maybe not so much. From what I gather, the way this mechanic works is that you first have to drop a line of “sonar panels” (which are limited), then, you draw a path along the bottom screen with the stylus (or your finger or whatever you use on the touch screen) that causes a blip to go out. Once this blip hits the coordinate on the touch screen that corresponds with where the enemy is on the top screen, you may proceed to destroy that enemy. Of course, destroying said enemy is also different than what goes on in the typical shmup, because instead of firing out from your ship, you fire into the screen. Therefore, you have to move your avatar over the enemy in order to destroy it. Thankfully, while you hold down fire a shield forms over your ship so that combating enemies is not an act of suicide. However, you cannot simply hold down fire for the entire game as you have limited energy, which is replenished whenever you hit an enemy in the sonar game on the bottom screen.
Got all that?
The way in which Dream Trigger 3D utilizes the 3D is a bit subtle, but as I understand it, it actually has an impact on how the game is played. Power-ups start off in the background and, in 3D mode, they move to the foreground, where you may snatch them up once they are on the same plane as your avatar. I assume these power-ups have something to do with the blocks you have on the bottom screen (as I have read these are limited), so grabbing them will likely be vital to surviving the game. With the 3D turned off however, the power-ups simply glow when they can be picked up, which apparently makes planning out your course of action over the barrage of bullets a bit trickier, so “serious players” will more than likely opt to go with the 3D on.
Dream Trigger 3D Launch Video
From a gameplay standpoint, I think Dream Trigger 3D sounds intriguing. The early descriptions almost remind me of Jupiter’s “The World Ends with You” on the original DS, only this time not so much in JRPG format and more in danmaku form. As long as the hit detection, framerate, and controls are solid, I can see this being an early cult classic for the 3DS. I imagine the difficulty (which is mentioned in every single preview I’ve read) may drive off the casual gamers (you know, the people that got Nintendogs+Cats as their only launch title) , but for those of us who are always looking for a unique and challenging experience, Dream Trigger 3D sounds like it is going to be the game to get in May.
Dream Trigger 3D is set to release on May 10th, 2011. So if you’re looking for something original for your 3DS and you have a taste for the shmup genre (and the danmaku subgenre in particular), be sure to pick it up! And if you’re unsure, just keep checking Sestren around the time of launch as we will be putting up a review of it.