NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams

Forget the game of your wildest dreams. NiGHTS is the game within your wildest dreams...

Strange things occur during sleep. Some people dream that they're drowning in jam, others that their thumbs are made of sponge. Some people are transformed into pop stars and others, astronauts.

We regularly envisage a DS game without mic blowing minigames. Crazy stuff indeed. But what links these slumbering japes? A lack of control. In the land of nod you are at the mercy of your mind at its oddest. But never fear - with Wii remote grasped firmly in hand Sega are here to reclaim the NiGHT.

More than a daydream believer
In their 1996 Sega Saturn title NiGHTS Into Dreams, Sega took the nutty inner workings of a sleepy cerebrum as their canvas and painted into it one of the most downright controllable characters ever to grace a console - that odd looking jester to our left, the titular NiGHTS.

An acrobatic air-surfing pirouetting wonder, NiGHTS followed set 2D tracks around 3D environments, loop-the-looping enemies into oblivion and snatching blue tokens to liberate the dreams of two young children from the cruel Nightmarens.

With a tweak of an analogue stick the androgynous NiGHTS swooped into both players' and the developers' hearts. "Ever since I could remember, I've always wanted to create the sequel to NiGHTS," says Journey of Dreams' producer Takashi Iizuka. "In the years of creating Sonic titles, neither the market nor platforms seemed right in recreating the sequel... that is until Nintendo released the Wii. As you remember, NiGHTS was originally released with the Sega 3D Control Pad that was specifically engineered to intensify the NiGHTS experience. In the same way, I think it makes the perfect fit for the innovative Wii controller."

It may seem odd to have a game's fate dictated by a controller setup, but anyone who played the original NiGHTS will understand that smooth arcing control is key to your appreciation of the game. The Saturn's analogue stick controller was specially created to help players carve a route through the sky, and in Iizuka's mind, "intensified the flight experience. So, with the Wii, I wanted to recreate this innovative experience further."

Fly by NiGHT
The exact control scheme is as of yet unknown. Considering that NiGHTS glides, for the most part, side-on along 2D tracks, a horizontally held remote could nicely mimic the motion of raising or lowering his flight path - with players tipping the remote sharply up at either end to enter a loop the loop. A few side-on boss encounters in Sonic and the Secret Rings prove that traditional side-on character movement can be handled by tilt controls, so perhaps we can expect similar here. Alternatively the flowing grace of flight could also work well mapped on to the remote pointer, allowing you to conduct NiGHTS' movement with ease.

Whatever the finalised setup, Iizuka guarantees that, "not only will the player be able to play with just the remote, but we are designing the game around the nunchuk so that in this you will be able to play it in two ways - traditionally like the original, or innovative with just the remote." A result for both retro-heads and the tilt-phobic.

Not featured in the original NiGHTS are three character-transforming masks, each imbuing NiGHTS with new abilities. Sliding his/her massive eyes into the dragon mask will morph NiGHTS into a scaly beast capable of flying into those gale-swept areas that would have previously torn his/her jesterly body limb from limb. The dolphin mask - no prizes for guessing the resulting transformation here - lets NiGHTS take a walk on the wet side, and the rocket mask injects a huge burst of Sonic-rivalling speed as you zoom beyond your usual capacities.

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