The Dreamlands: Aisling’s Quest review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: The Domaginarium
Developer: The Domaginarium
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

While there are lots of ways for point-and-click adventure games to distinguish themselves, as a baseline, they absolutely must to do two things well at a bare minimum: make it easy to point at objects, and make it easy to click on objects. I mean, it’s right there in the genre’s name; if a game fails at either of those facets, there’s really not much else to say about it.

And, hey, what do you know: The Dreamlands: Aisling’s Quest is pretty bad at both pointing and clicking.

To be sure, there are other things at which Aisling’s Quest doesn’t exactly excel. Most obviously, it’s pretty ugly, with graphics that look like they were lifted straight out of a mid-tier PS2 game. There’s also a story that’s not nearly enough to sustain a player’s interest over the course of a game — which is particularly bad when you consider that the whole thing can easily be beaten in under an hour.

But at its core, Aisling’s Quest fails because it makes it difficult for players to perform the most basic of tasks. It doesn’t explain anything, forcing you to touch blindly around the screen, hoping to trigger something new. On top of that, even when you touch the right spot, it doesn’t always respond, usually taking several taps before anything happens. It wasn’t uncommon for me to have to click something, click back out of the scene, and then click back in with the hopes that a second or third try would be the one that finally worked.

The worst part of the previous paragraph is that you’d think that the Vita’s touchscreen would actually lend itself to point-and-click adventure. After all, it works for every other adventure game I’ve played on the system. Yet, for whatever reason, Aisling’s Quest is finicky, which makes it impossible to enjoy the game.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a direct correlation between game not working properly and me not liking it. I can overlook outdated graphics, and I can overlook a mediocre plot. But when a game just doesn’t function — and make no mistake, The Dreamlands: Aisling’s Quest doesn’t — that’s simply unforgivable.

The Domaginarium provided us with a The Dreamlands: Aisling’s Quest PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: D