God, I love 3D Platformers so much. Whilst I can be a little bit more picky with their 2D counterparts, I can’t get enough of 3D ones. Whether they’re action-based, like Pumpkin Jack, or the more traditional collectathons, I can’t resist trying out a new one whenever they come around.

I think part of that is down to having the likes of Super Mario 64 , Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Chameleon Twist shape my childhood. The N64 was the first console that was truly mine and not shared with my brother, so anything from that era holds an eternal place within my heart.

So, needless to say that when Cavern of Dreams was announced, which takes heavy inspiration from the N64 era, I was extremely excited. Surely this was going to be a banger.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

The story of Cavern of Dreams focuses on Fynn the Dragon: a happy-go-lucky creature that seems very cheerful considering his siblings have been abducted by a mysterious villain. As he enters the titular cavern, he is greeted by a helpful witch who wishes to help him on his quest by granting him powers every now and then as he starts collecting an assortment of eggs that may or may not contain one of his four brothers.

It’s an interesting premise that unfortunately fails to do much with its story. I like the main trio of characters in principle, but there’s very little interaction between them – especially from Fynn, who never really seems to respond to anything. It makes it hard to root for him, and I honestly forgot what the goal of the game was most of the time. The villain fares a little better as she actually has some degree of character development during her appearances, and it’s a shame that she’s slightly wasted by having no-one to really talk with.


Fynn starts his quest with little more than the ability to jump and roll around, but these can be used in a number of ways to give you a few more traversal options to plat around with. Doing a second jump as you land will allow you to do a slightly higher jump that can help you reach higher ledges, and the roll can increase your momentum enough to help you reach platforms further away. Your roll also allows you to temporarily increase your movement speed, but as this only last for a couple of seconds, you’ll need to constantly alternate between rolling and running if you want to get around fast. It’s rather unwieldly to control, giving it very little utility as a speed boost, but it’s at least there.

As you gain more eggs, you’ll start gaining some extra abilities. There’s nothing really here to write home about, as the highlights are probably a glide and a slam move, but they at least aid with some of the platforming. The glide does suffer from having a sudden and quick descent, but I found that tapping the button will slow that and make reaching distant platforms a little easier.


As you enter the main hub, which acts like an area to practice your moveset, you’ll notice that there aren’t many locations you can access. There’s a handful in total, with some slightly more hidden than others, but you’re mostly free to explore as you please. Some worlds require certain abilities in order to enter them, but you can get into more than you would expect quite early into the game.

Each world is based on a theme, and contain a bunch of things for you to collect: there are the aforementioned eggs, of course, but also mushrooms (which are more important than you think), and encyclopedia pages that serve very little function other than to give you more stuff to pick up. To gain each egg, you’ll typically have to overcome some kind of platforming challenge or puzzle. There are no enemies present, so very there’s little risk of death; in fact, with obstacles only really knocking you backwards, the only real way to die is falling down a pit. There’s basically no penalty for doing so, however, meaning that the only real pressure is whenever you encounter one of the few time-based challenges.

The worlds are varied with their theming, containing a village, an ice world, a creepy mansion, and a world that’s essentially Clanker’s Cavern in space (which uses many visual themes and obstacles borrowed from that stage too, making it a pleasant treat for fans of Banjo Kazooie). They all typically contain their own platforming and puzzle themes, but there’s still a notable lack of variety. You’ll usually see one type of puzzle used multiple times in each world, which can be disappointing considering that there are only eight for you to collect. It feels like they didn’t have enough ideas, especially as the ones that do exist seem pretty mindless for the most part.


Which leads me to my main issue with Cavern of Dreams: it’s quite a boring game. Moving around feels quite sluggish and the environments just all feel a little bit empty. It’s not just the lack of enemies, which is definitely apparent, but there are barely any NPCs for Fynn to interact with either. There are a few (in the entire game), but encounters with them are extremely brief and completely forgettable. Maybe that would be a less of a problem if there was more stuff to do within the worlds, but there just isn’t all that much outside of the basic platforming, puzzles and a small number of items to collect.

In fact, I found myself really struggling to get through the game due to the tedium and it only really picked up slightly towards the end after uncovering an exploit that allowed me to jump super high. It’s absolutely an unintentional bug, but it did at least allow me to make my own fun as I tried to find out how many unintended things I could do. Of course, most people are unlikely to experience this, which will no doubt make the final section as much of a slog as the rest of the game. Other than this bug that worked in my favour, I did encounter a couple of other minor bugs during my playthrough, but nothing that proved particularly problematic. In fact, the game actually performed pretty well for the most part – except for a particularly obnoxious loading time after selecting your game file. Given that this is the fastest way back to the hub world though, it can be quite noticeable – otherwise you’ll be destined for a long walk back when you’re done.

Those looking for a 3D Platformer that harkens back to the N64 era will probably end up being disappointed with Cavern of Dreams. It certainly looks the part, but lifeless worlds and boring gameplay makes the game a bit of a chore to play through. There’s a solid foundation here to work on for a potential sequel, but that’s not enough to be able to recommend this game.