Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air (often shortened to Dream Chronicles 4 or The Book of Air) is a 2010 adventure, hidden object and puzzle casual game developed by KatGames and published by PlayFirst. It is the fourth game in the popular Dream Chronicles series, the third sequel to 2007's award-winning casual game Dream Chronicles, and the opening part of the second Dream Chronicles trilogy called Lyra's Destiny. It marked the first time players to play the role of Lyra whose daughter of the previous main heroine of the series Faye. On the day before the eighteenth birthday, Lyra wakes up from a strange dream, finding herself in another dimension which is very similar with her own one. With the help of her grandfather's friend the Clockmaker, Lyra finds her way home through a series of obstacles and locations by using grandfather's granted powers plus father's precious airship.
The Book of Air was first presented as a beta version in March 2010. It was released as two editions, Collector's and Standard, on June 24 and July 8, 2010 respectively by PlayFirst. Unlike three previous games, the game was received mixed reviews from game critics, describing it as "a beautiful point-and-click fantasy game that mixes puzzles and slight hidden object hunting to create a beautiful adventure series" though criticized it for not matching the highly-polished standards of three previous games and its very short length. The game still proved to be commercially successful, reaching the top of seven major casual game charts. The Book of Air was preceded by Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child and followed by Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water.
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air is the first part of the second Dream Chronicles trilogy called Lyra's Destiny, in which the player play the part of Lyra whose daughter of the previous games' main character named Faye. It has a light connection with the first three games, in which events occur ten years after those in Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child.
On the day before the eighteenth birthday, a mortal girl named Lyra has a strange dream. All Lyra's friends and family are present here to celebrate this special event, and her grandfather Tangle prepares "an amazing gift" for her. But then Lyra hears a whisper, and everyone quickly disappears. Waking up from that dream, Lyra finds herself alone in her beloved Town of Wish, as she is trapped in a parallel dimension which is very similar to her own. Guided by the messages left by Tangle plus using her father Fidget's airship, Lyra tries to find the Clockmaker — the only stranger who can help Lyra get back home, and reunite with her family and friends. She finds the Clockmaker in his hideout Crater of Time, and thankfully he agrees to help. Lyra must find three magical keys in three separately hidden areas — Treehouse Village, Wind Music Island and Water Collector — to re-activate the Clockmaker's Time Synchronization Machine. On arriving to the Wind Music Island, Lyra is notified by Tangle that the music eons in this island were once created by fairies who used to live here. Lyra finds her grandfather's notified note confusing, though she gradually understands that "fairies" have responsibility for what have been happening to her: magical chalkboard, hidden airship, strange whisper...; not including five powerful powers that Lyra self-discovers. After finding all three keys, Lyra returns to the Crater of Time to finish her favor here, and can finally head back to her original dimension with many questions opened. Instead of welcoming Lyra with sunshine and daylight, the Town of Wish becomes dark and full of thunders. Lyra wonders what will be waiting her next.
In the bonus chapter, Lyra has a new dream. She was in the Town of Wish, and the family was calling for her. But Lyra couldn't hear them over the sound of rushing water. Her body became light as if she had been floating. Lyra held her breath and fell deeper into that strangely new dream. Once again, she finds herself in another unrecognizable place, a small office of the Barge City, where she starts her unique journey for the second time in Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water.
CharactersFor the first time in the Dream Chronicles series, players can hear characters' in-game voices. Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air has three main characters, which only introduces a minor part of the second trilogy Lyra's Destiny.
- Lyra is a soon-to-be-eighteen mortal girl. She is the main protagonist of The Book of Air as well as this Lyra's Destiny trilogy. Embarking on the unexpected quest for the first time ever, Lyra feels insecure initially. But, like her powerful mother Faye, she gradually gains hopes and faiths. Lyra doesn't know her fairy root, as she still doesn't know who has sent her to another dimension too. With all the troubles happening on the day before the eighteenth birthday celebration, Lyra tries as much as she can to get back home, and finds her truly answers to all of these. Lyra doesn't appear in person because players play as her point of view.
- Tangle is Lyra's beloved grandfather. He plays as Lyra's guide through scattered notes in game. Tangle is the Fairy King of Knowledge, and he keeps that secret from Lyra. Even that he is still very close to his granddaughter, often making toys to gift her when she was a child. Tangle only appears at the beginning of the game.
- The Clockmaker is a Tangle's friend, who is the only person can help Lyra turn back home. He lives in a remote area called "Crater of Time" to control the time of both fairy and mortal world. Obsessing with his eternal job, the Clockmaker never leaves the Crater of Time, and tries to prevent any person from coming to his hideout. He doesn't like Lyra's father Fidget because he thinks that Fidget tries to be "smarter" than him. The Clockmaker doesn't appear in person yet players can hear his voice.
GameplayDream Chronicles: The Book of Air's gameplay is more of a quest-like adventure than a traditional hidden object game. There are no lists of items to find but a huge amount of inventory based puzzles, logical riddles and quests to solve." Players as Lyra have to solve all of the puzzles that have been scattered through the locations in game in order to help her get back home. The objects that players find may be used in a scene other than the one they found it in. Objects will stay in inventory until players need to use them. All objects that players are able to pick up will serve a purpose, whether they are used in that scene or not. A lot of times in this game the pieces players pick up may only be used as they get to the next scene. Some items may not become visible in a scene right away, players must perform other tasks first before they become visible. Primarily, The Book of Air is a puzzle game.
Featuring loads of puzzles and logical quests with different difficulties, The Book of Air still assure that puzzles are well-tricky and tightly blended with the story, which is a typical feature of quest or click-and-point games, such as: putting together parts of broken statues, reconstructing tricky mechanisms and unscrambling messages using the power of Dream Jewels and many more. Unlike three previous games of the series, Dream Jewels come with five special powers. Now they can be used to decode "fairy" words, make hidden "fairy" things visible, transmute gold into wood, illuminate dark rooms and create thunder or rain. In order to activate Dream Jewels, players need to fill them with Dream Pieces which are thrown throughout the locations. Another notable feature is a system of hints for locating difficult items. Now players can use ‘hint power’ to locate items they can pick up. But if there aren’t any, the power of hints is not used.
For the first time in the Dream Chronicles series, players can easily travel among sixteen exquisite scenes and five big areas of The Book of Air by using the Lyra's father Fidget's airship.
There are two difficulty modes to play, Casual and Challenge. Each mode has the same puzzles but their complexities are different. At the beginning, the game offers players the option to play in either Casual or Challenge Mode, and if they want the game to offer the slightest bit of resistance they'd pick the former. While Casual Mode offers simpler puzzles and the ability to skip them if players get stuck long enough, Challenge Mode offers slightly harder puzzles, but won't let players skip any. Players can't change the difficulty once they've chosen it.
One of the biggest improvements The Book of Air has over its predecessors is its hint system. Although it is still possible to get hung up on some of the game's more taxing brainteasers, players will no longer find themselves stuck trying to find items thanks to a recharging magnifying glass that can be used to reveal an object's location. Players can also use it to find Dream Jewels.
As usual, in the end, players earn a score. How quick players can solve the puzzles and complete the game, the quantities of Dream Pieces that players can find, times players skip the puzzles will all determine their final score.
- On June 2, the first sneak peek of The Book of Air, including 2 artworks named "Airship" and "Streets of Wish", was revealed on publisher PlayFirst's blog. Developer KatGames' art director Pablo Vietto explained the ideas behind "Streets of Wish" artwork:
"I wanted to make a very rustic and compact interior where we could place everything necessary for the navigation of the airship. The artistic inspiration came from the old machines designed by Da Vinci and used in the Jules Verne stories, but adapted to our own style. My favorite part of this scene is the metallic work of the chimney. [...] I wanted to keep the essence of the Wish village from the first Dream [Chronicles], respecting the roofs and cupules in green tonalities. I love the cupules. The idea of having a house with a cupule for a roof was in my mind since the first Dream Chronicles, so this was the perfect opportunity to use it. Some other details, like the iron works and lights, were inspired by works done by Hector Guimard, a French architect and one of the most important ones for me during Modernism."
- On June 9, The Book of Air's teaser trailer and game preview was both released on Gamezebo. On next day, the release date was revealed: June 24, 2010. The game would be released as two editions, Collector's and Standard. The Collector's Edition contains an extra location, seven mini-puzzles, some progress artworks, a soundtrack pack, a step-by-step walkthrough, a PC screensaver, six 1600×1200 wallpapers and a sneak peek of the fifth game The Book of Water.
- On June 15, the whole new interactive map was linked on the Dream Chronicles official homepage. With clicking on notable spots on the map, now players can get more details of all important places having appeared in the Dream Chronicles series.
- On June 22, the second sneak peek containing three artworks named "Wind Music Island", "Wind Music Island Cave" and "Water Collector" was revealed on PlayFirst's blog. Pablo Vietto returned to talk about the production artworks. Talking about the "Wind Music Island" artwork, Vietto shared:
"We needed an extravagant scenario showing antique constructions made with rocks and natural things around, like coral. Part of the spaces and forms were inspired by the Güell park from Antoni Gaudí. The sculptures and instruments resulted from a combination of the natural forms coming from coral, other sea elements and the figure of a woman (which is always present in our style)."
- On June 24, PlayFirst's blog staff interviewed the game producer Ryan Sindledecker and Ryan gave players an in depth look at The Book of Air. Taking about coming up with the new features, he said:
"The developer, Kat Games, came up with all the new features, including using Dream Jewels as powers. With each Dream Chronicles game, Dream Jewels were used differently. In The Book of Air there was a need to add these powers and a need to have a new use for the Jewels and they just fit together perfectly."
- On June 30, the Dream Chronicles airship ride's celebration event was posted on PlayFirst's blog. To celebrate the official launch of The Book of Air Collector's Edition, PlayFirst hosted seven members of the media, three of their local Dream Chronicles fans, their CEO Mari Baker, and senior product marketing Manager Becky Ann Hughes on a real airship ride over San Francisco.
- On July 9, after the official release of Standard Edition, game producer Ryan Sindledecker uploaded the special game team's walkthrough. This is the final PlayFirst's blog post about The Book of Air.
"The Dream Chronicles series has earned a reputation for its stunning art, extraordinary puzzles, and intricate, evolving storylines [...] With Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air, these hallmarks of the series are taken to new heights, with the addition of features that will delight both the casual and expert player. Fans will not believe where the story of this new trilogy takes them."
|Jay Is Games|||
The Book of Air was another commercially successful Dream Chronicles game, peaking at number-one on seven major casual game charts: PlayFirst, Big Fish Games, iWin.com, SpinTop Games, GameHouse, MSN Games amd Pogo.com; reaching number-three on Yahoo! Games, number-four on Amazon.com... and more. But unlike three previous Dream Chronicles games, The Book of Air has earned some lukewarm reviews from game critics and casual gamers. Positive reviews praised its Dream Chronicles-trademarked high-quality production values and well-tricky gameplay while negative reviews criticized its very short length (only sixteen scenes to explore, which is even shorter than the original Dream Chronicles) and some repetitious puzzles like collapse-style fuel puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, placing gears... The Book of Air Standard Edition was released later on July 8.
Awem Studio soon had their own thoughts in The Book of Air game preview:
"Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air game surrounds you by mysteries and enigmas of the dreamy world. It has its unique and exceptional atmosphere which is typical only to Dream Chronicles games, polished graphics and enchanting music. Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air fantastic locations and fairy tale scenery carry you away to the magical world of Dreams!"
"Animated sequences and highly detailed environments make the game easy on the eye, and the character voice-overs and pleasant soundtrack round out the high production values that we've come to expect from a Dream Chronicles game."
But mostly in her review, Bell cited many weak spots of this installment:
"The Book of Air lacks some of the "wow" factor of previous games in the series. Most of the mini-games are variations on things we've seen dozens of times before [...] The story ultimately falls a bit flat as well, perhaps because instead of dealing with meddling fairies and their interfering magic, you're simply searching for a bunch of keys. The Book of Air is still an enjoyable casual adventure/HOG, but compared to the high standards set by previous games in the series, it comes up a little short. Let's hope that Lyra's next adventure is a more memorable one." and gave it 3.5/5.0 stars.
Meanwhile, DoraDoraBoBora, a Jay Is Games editor described:
"Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air is the first installment in a planned trilogy, and a beautiful point-and-click fantasy game that mixes puzzles and slight hidden-object hunting to create a beautiful adventure series that might not pose too great of a challenge to some players, but is still a captivating experience while it lasts. [...] Visually the game is striking, and wandering through it feels appropriately dreamlike."
Like Gamezebo's Erin Bell, Dora noted some notable weak spots of The Book of Air:
"It seems like the whole point of this installment is to set the stage for the next; there are a lot of hints and whispers that point out something big on the horizon, but The Book of Air mostly just sends you from place to place solving puzzles. After a while, it starts to feel more like a virtual tour of the world as you fly from place to place, some stranger and more interesting than others. [...] If you've been champing at the bit for another foray into the Dream Chronicles world, you might be disappointed by how quickly the game is over."
Before the game was released, there had been an official announcement confirming that Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air would have two direct sequels, Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water and Dream Chronicles: The Book of Fire, which will be both released back-to-back in 2011. A sneak peek of The Book of Water, actually some artworks, can be shown in the bonus chapter of The Book of Air.
- The game can be played in Casual Mode or Challenge Mode. Puzzles are more difficult on Challenge Mode and cannot be skipped. On Casual Mode, puzzles can be skipped after one minute has passed.
- Dream Jewel slots at the left side of the screen can be filled with Dream Pieces, which can be found in many areas of the game. Enough Dream Pieces enables a new spell, required to perform tasks in the game.
- The default mouse cursor in the game is the yellow arrow. White text will appear over objects that can be examined more closely or picked up when players move their cursors around the screen. The cursor will change to a white directional arrow when a new area can be accessed.
- Collectable items will be added to the inventory window at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on an item in the inventory window and selecting an object in the playing area to use the inventory item.
- The Dream Journal shows a description of all the events that have happened in the game so far, as well as all of Tangle's notes that have been found. The current goal to complete is displayed in red text. The journal also has a 'Dream' tab page which gives a description of all six Dream Jewels.
Release history and charts
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 CasualCharts.com (2010-06-24). Dream Chronicles - The Book of Air Collectors Edition Detail. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 JayIsGames (2010-06-25). Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air. JayIsGames. Retrieved on 2010-06-25
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Awem.com (2010-03-24). Dream Chronicles The Book of Air. Game Preview. Awem.com. Retrieved on 2010-03-24
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Gamezebo (2010-06-24). Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air Review. Gamezebo. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- ↑ PlayFirst (2010-06-02). Sneak peek at Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air art. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-06-02
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 PlayFirst (2010-06-10). Official Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air trailer and release date. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-06-10
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 PlayFirst (2009-03-01). Dream Chronicles Home. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2009-03-01
- ↑ PlayFirst (2010-06-22). Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air concept art. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-06-22
- ↑ PlayFirst (2010-06-24). Special early release of Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air! Meet the producer!. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- ↑ PlayFirst (2010-06-30). Dream Chronicles airship ride. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-06-30
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 PlayFirst (2010-07-09). Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air Walkthrough. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-07-09
- ↑ PlayFirst (2010-06-24). PlayFirst Opens a New Trilogy with the Launch of Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air. PlayFirst. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.9 CasualCharts.com (2010-06-24). Dream Chronicles - The Book of Air Collectors Edition Charts. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2010-06-24
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 CasualCharts.com (2010-07-08). Dream Chronicles - The Book of Air Charts. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2010-07-08
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 CasualCharts.com (2010-07-08). Dream Chronicles - The Book of Air Detail. CasualCharts.com. Retrieved on 2010-07-08
- Dream Chronicles Home on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles Page on Facebook
- Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air Collector's Edition on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air on PlayFirst
- Dream Chronicles: The Chosen Child on Daily1Game
- Dream Chronicles: The Book of Water on Daily1Game
- Dream Chronicles 2 The Eternal Maze on Daily1Game