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Dream Chronicles:
The Book of Air


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Rating: 4.7/5 (39 votes)
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Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air

DoraSo apparently there is this thing called Dream Chronicles that is pretty popular. You don't need to have played the original games to enjoy this new trilogy, which follows Lyra, a half-human half-fairy girl, whose birthday party is rather rudely interrupted by a mysterious power that transports her to another dimension. (I hate when that happens, don't you?) She discovers that if she ever wants to return home, she'll have to seek out someone called "The Clockmaker"... which would be a lot easier if not for the shadowy presence that seems determined to sabotage her efforts and make sure she remains stranded here forever.

Dream Chronicles: The Book of AirDream 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. Please note that currently only the Collector's Edition is available; the standard edition will be released in a few weeks.

Use your mouse to interact with the world by clicking on various items and places. But primarily, The Book of Air is a puzzle game. When you begin, the game offers you the option to play in either casual or challenge mode, and if you want the game to offer the slightest bit of resistance you should probably pick the former. While casual mode offers simpler puzzles and the ability to skip them if you get stuck long enough, which is nice for people who just want to enjoy the game, challenge mode offers slightly harder puzzles, but won't let you skip any. You can't change the difficulty once you've chosen it, so think carefully. To help solve certain puzzles, Lyra will need to use spells, which are unlocked as you collect Dream Pieces scattered around the environment, so keep your eyes peeled for the tiny gems. (There are definitely more than you need, so don't panic if you miss a few.)

Dream Chronicles: The Book of AirAnalysis: Having never played the original series, I admit I went into The Book of Air with a bit of trepidation. Phrases like "half-human, half-fairy daughter" are to me the same sort of warning signs as bright orange colouration on a bug might be to a bird, and I expected an overly fluffy tale about princesses and pink dresses. Instead, The Book of Air puts you into a mystery from the get-go, and most of your time is given to trying to work out puzzles in order to proceed. There's a vague The Longest Journey vibe to the world you explore that I liked immediately, and fans of Myst will definitely enjoy the puzzle-centric gameplay. The addition of various spells is a nice touch, but some of them only get used once or twice.

Visually the game is striking, and wandering through it feels appropriately dreamlike. This downside to this is that the whole pace of the game is extremely slow, and not a whole lot happens. 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.

Dream Chronicles: The Book of AirPart of the reason for this is a tendency to overcomplicate simple directives for the sake of lengthening the game. Imagine if you tried to make yourself a bowl of cereal, but when you went to get the milk the fridge was locked. To unlock it, you needed a combination. But the combination is encoded, so you need to find the decoder. But the decoder is torn into pieces and scattered around the room. So you hunt all the pieces down, assemble them, decode the combination, unlock the fridge, and get your milk... only to find the cupboard that has the cereal is guarded by a swarm of bees that need to be soothed with smoke from a specific piece of wood, which is buried in your backyard, and... well, you get the idea. It can be frustrating in The Book of Air since more often than not these extra steps take such a minuscule amount of effort to complete that there's no real reason for them to be there at all.

If you've been chomping at the bit for another foray into the Dream Chronicles world, you might be disappointed by how quickly the game is over. Of course your speed largely depends on how many puzzles you skip, and how quick you are at solving the ones you don't, but you can probably expect to spend around four hours on it. Try the demo and see if you feel it's a return to form for the series you loved so much, and remember that the standard edition will be available in a few weeks' time.

A Collector's Edition is also available. It contains a bonus locations and gameplay, soundtrack, strategy guide, screen savers, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version
Also available: Collector's Edition

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version
Also available: Collector's Edition

Walkthrough Guide


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We've completed a Dream Chronicles 4 Walkthrough guide, complete with images to help you through...

http://jayisgames.com/archives/2010/06/dream_chronicles_the_book_of_air_walkthrough.php

28 Comments

We've completed a Dream Chronicles 4 Walkthrough guide, complete with images to help you through...

http://jayisgames.com/archives/2010/06/dream_chronicles_the_book_of_air_walkthrough.php

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It's fun, looks pretty, has some good puzzles. If you like puzzle games then I don't see why anyone wouldn't like this one

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smjjames Author Profile Page June 26, 2010 12:30 PM

Despite its claimed overcomplicatedness, the game itself is actually really short compared to the others.

Still pretty good though.

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Merricat Author Profile Page June 26, 2010 2:19 PM

It's very beautiful - gorgeous graphics, great attention to detail - but Dora's right: WAAAAY too fiddly. It shouldn't take 20 minutes to decode a cupboard lock...and it doesn't. But by the time you've found the magic thingy that lets you decode the OTHER magic thingies that hold the code parts for the lock - oh, but don't forget that you FIRST have to figure out where/what those holding-thingies are in the first place...and what/where the decoding-magic-thingy is and where to find it and how to use it...

Uffa

I got myself into a ship and got it to the Character Who Holds The Key To The Next Part, who told me where to go next. Eventually. And that took 55 minutes. It should have taken 10. This makes Ravenhearst look like a speed-run.

No sale. When it's a $2.99 Daily Deal, maybe.

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wjguest June 26, 2010 3:21 PM

Can anyone please tell me how to put in the code for the cabinet in the school room. I just started and I cant get past this. I know the code, and have the first 2 symbols in place but trying everything to get the third one to stop in the right place is impossible for me. Is there some trick I can use to do this. Im just playing the free tryout but if this is like its going to be thoughout the game, then i'll have to pass. Thanks for any help received.

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wjguest: Are you sure you have the symbols in the the right order? When you click on the top of the cabinet to change symbols it only moves one at a time, I don't see how you would have trouble getting it to stop at the right place.

Re-check the books and make sure you are putting the symbols in the right order. The left page of each book where you found the symbols tells you which order they go in :)

Hope that helps!

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I found this very short and easy compared to the other Dream Chronicle games. It wasn't a challenge at all. It was, however, quite pretty and the story fit with the other games.

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wjguest June 27, 2010 4:46 PM

Kero: Yes I do have the symbols in the right order. The problem is when I click on the symbol it doesn't just change one at a time , but changes 2 or 3 at a time and never lands on the right symbol. The first 2 changed one at a time so I had no problem with them. Only the third one. Must just be a glitz on my pc. Thank you for trying to help.

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I'm a fan of the Dream Chronicles series, but I'm kicking myself for spending $20 on something worth significantly less. I suggest waiting for the cheaper version to come out before purchasing.

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I love the Dream Chronicle series but, personally, in this day and age, I'm tired of paying $20 for a game that is over and done with in the space of 3 or 4 hours.. It's not worth it..

My advice is to wait a month and pick up the game for $6.99, for, while the game is lovely to look at, it lacks true game play.. It does not have the excellent storyline and difficulty of play that the first two Dream Chronicles had.. It's like the 3rd, short, pretty to look at and lacking everything that made those first two more then worth the money..

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Anonymous June 30, 2010 5:45 PM

I agree with Alee. Very, very, very dissapointed in the length for a $20 'collector's edition'.

Save your $13 and wait until the regular verson comes out - the bonus chapter is alo extremely short and only shows some bonus artwork.

Although a fan of the series, I think the developers have let their greed get the better of them - feels like half a game. I gave it one 'shroom out of 5 due to the exorbitant price tag. Boo!

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I can't find the second set of stones to leave the mountains. I might have picked them up and added them before. I remember finding two sets. Now I cannot leave the clockmaker's. What can I do??

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Ann: They are in the room on the right when you go up the clockmaker's tower.

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Offroadhoney Author Profile Page July 8, 2010 10:53 PM

Why oh why do I keep doing this to myself??? In my opinion, even $6.99 was a waste for this game and touche for the creators for getting it off of me even though I knew they were taking 1 game and breaking it up into parts to sell seperately. WAY too short. I have a 7 month-old and relish the time I get on the puter, well that time was wasted today my friends. Someone said it right, wait till it's $2.99 if you really feel like wasting the 3-4 hours it'll take you to beat it!

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Hi there, I am a big fan of the dream chronicle games. I haven't long started this one though but I'm already stuck - even after reading your walkthrough up to this stage.

I am in the balloon after having put it back together again, my fuel tank is full, I have the map co-ordinates which in this case are heading 0 ? SSE.

I have put the co-ordenates into the wheel then pulled the lever and am told that I have to have the fuel full and to enter the right co-ordinates. I have checked this over and over again but cannot get any further. Can somebody solve this for me please. Dianne

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Dianne: try putting more rocks into the fuel tank and see if that works for you. Also double check the co-ordinates for the clockmaker, you will hear a chime when you have the right bearings in.

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You were absolutely right kero, I had the co-ordinates right and the fuel was showing as full. I had added two lots of stones but then tried a third and the airship took off.
I suppose it doesn't help that I prefer to play the game with the sound switched off so didn't hear the ping for the right co-ordinates either. Thank you so much,

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Integra Author Profile Page July 22, 2010 9:47 PM

I am ready to return home again, after solving the clock puzzles in the top room, but I have no fuel! Where can I get some more rocks? Thanks.

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Integra: There are some in the room on the right of the Clockmaker's tower, same place you got them last time.

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I really enjoy this game, but I'm stuck at the columns in the "music place". I can't get the last one to work. And I can't reset it to do the spoiler-thing either. Suggestions?
/Mia

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I need help getting past the blue stones on the music level.

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I saw a new Dream Chronicles and I was so excited and paid twenty dollars to get it. What a mistake. I'm glad that I have added it to my collection but it was nowhere near the length and fun that the other ones are. There is obviously a sequel because it leaves you hanging. I will check the comments when the next one comes out because if it's anything like this one I will not buy it. Many players agree.

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Terry Kellum September 6, 2010 8:31 AM

I obtained the 3 keys and went back to the clockmaker tower. I did not get the clock that the numbers fly off scene. I went straight into the dark room. I now have an iron key I don't know what to do with. HELP....

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Have nearly got to the end but am stuck with the wooden wheel and the symbols on the planks. Have balanced the scale with the objects and have placed those on the wooden wheel but I think I should have put the boards on first. Now nothing will go anywhere. Help.

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I've played the previous games with pleasure. This time I say dont bother buying it at all unless they bundle all three parts for a bargain. The puzzles donot challenge your brain, only your stubborness and patiens for repetiveness.
This is doubly true for challenge mode where your persiverence and love for adventure games are truely tested. Cant thing of anything positiv other than good voice acting and a promising story.

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I wish I had read all these comments before purchasing this time... it was a disappointment, especially as I was looking for something like the "Drawn" games.

My main complaint wasn't mentioned here, though... The narration and voice-over drove me nuts!!!! I turned off the sound of the voice, but the "I pick up a yellow stone" and "Oh my, this is such a strange place" every time I moved was just too inane for me.

I remember having a similar opinion of the first Dream Chronicles way back when... Are the other games in the series the same?

On the other hand, the mechanics of the game are outstanding: seamlessly moving from room to room was very enjoyable (especially compared to the "lagginess" of Drawn: The Painted Tower). I also loved the beautiful and artistic scenery... but why is everything labeled and narrated? That aspect diminished my joy of exploration quite a bit... and made me quickly regret this purchase.

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Chiktionary Author Profile Page December 30, 2010 4:07 AM

The Dream Chronicles series is just getting better! I was hoping that this one would be as long and in-depth as The Chosen Child, but the comparatively short duration was really nicely balanced by the fact that The Book of Air is more about puzzle solving than it is about finding hidden objects.
Beautiful, and already looking forward to the release of Dream Chronicles 5.

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