Review: Pokémon Dream Radar (3DS eShop)

Dreams become reality

With the Pokémon series still a ways off from making its proper debut on Nintendo 3DS, fans who had purchased the stereoscopic handheld were in need of something to tide them over. Less a proper game and more a companion "app" to Pokémon Black and White 2, Pokémon Dream Radar uses the 3DS's AR capabilities to bring the delightful monsters into your living room.

If you've played Face Raiders you'll immediately know your way around Dream Radar. You move around, using your 3DS as a viewfinder for your surroundings and shooting at targets. Rather than humorous depictions of your friends and family, though, you're blasting Dream Clouds, Dream Orbs and Pokémon themselves in an attempt to capture them.

Each mission is fairly simple; clear out the Dream Clouds in the area, which break down into Dream Orbs, the game's currency. Dream Orbs can be used to upgrade your beam, increase your timer on missions or increase the max number of Dream Clouds that will show up. Occasionally a Dream Cloud turns into a Pokémon (or rather, a glowing sphere representing a Pokémon) and, in Ghostbusters fashion, you have to keep your beam trained on them while mashing the A button. Once captured you see which Pokémon (or item, if you're particularly unlucky) you've earned.

The Pokémon on offer are a somewhat limited selection, with only 21 available from the outset. The upside is that not only does each Pokémon have its Hidden Ability — previously only obtainable through the Dream World section of the Global Link website — but the Legendary Trio of Thunderus, Landorus and Tornadus all have new Formes that can only be obtained in Dream Radar. A nice feature is that if you insert an appropriate Generation IV game — Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold or SoulSilver — you'll be able to catch Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Ho-Oh or Lugia, respectively.

You can't do anything with Pokémon or items except transfer them into a copy of Black 2 or White 2, which is an incredibly simple process. With the game card inserted into your 3DS just hit the "transfer" button on Dream Radar's main menu to send them along. Boot up your Black 2 or White 2 game and select "Unova Link" on the main menu, select the Dream Radar option and everything collected is automatically deposited into your in-game PC. It's a breeze, considering you have two pieces of software designed for different handhelds communicating with each other.

The only real drawback is that the amount of time you can spend playing is limited. Once a course is completed it takes real-world time for the Dream Clouds to regenerate. It's understandable, as without such limitations it would be far too easy to breeze through the game and earn everything in one sitting (or standing, depending on how you play). Those with itchy trigger fingers can speed up the process with a few Play Coins, but despite understanding why it is the way it is it still smells a little bit too "Facebook game" for our tastes.

Conclusion

Pokémon Dream Radar is a fun diversion for Pokémon fans that ties in well with the newly released Black and White 2. Providing a fun way to earn otherwise unobtainable or hard to find Pokémon, combined with a very low price point ($2.99 in North America) make it a super effective purchase for those wrapped up in the series. If catching them all isn't your cup of tea, there's nothing for you here; if you're the type of person with Pikachu bedsheets then you've probably already added funds to your eShop account for this.