Dream Chaser by Chillingo Ltd icon

Dream Chaser ($0.99) by Chillingo Ltd and We R Play is an endless runner with a little more depth to it. If you’re not tired of these game yet, then Dream Chaser could be another fine gem to add to your endless running collection.

Personally, I’m a fan of endless runners on my iPhone. It’s the simple pick-up-and-play gameplay that keeps me coming back for more each time. It’s been a while since I’ve played one though (there have been so many other interesting games to keep me occupied), so I was pleasantly surprised when I found Dream Chaser in the App Store.

Dream Chaser by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

I have to admit that the graphics in this game are quite gorgeous. In fact, the main reason why I wanted to play this game was because of the visuals — seriously, there is some major eye candy going on here. The environments are lush, beautiful, vivid, and the 3-D graphics and animations are incredibly smooth. The game also has a nice ambient soundtrack to go along with your endless adventure.

Even though this is an endless runner game at the core, there are actually two game modes: Story and Endless.

Story will have an actual storyline and plot involving chaos spreading in a world of gods, and only one swift night spirit can restore peace and save the realm. You will need to maneuver him as you run and gather crystals and dream orbs in various stages, each one proving more difficult than the last. You can only take three hits on your armor in this mode, and once you do, then it’s game over. Of course, you have hearts that are basically your lives, and you can choose to continue. If you’re out of hearts, though, you will have to wait for them to recharge or buy more through in-app purchases.

Endless is just what you’d expect, where you run until you can go no further. At certain points, you will be told to hold down a button for “second wind.” Doing this allows you to continue; if not, then your spirit will break and disintegrate, so you can’t go on.

Like other games in this genre, controls are simple. Since your character is running automatically, all you have to do is steer him by tilting your device. There are three “lanes” for him to be in (the left, middle, and right), so navigating is pretty easy. Tapping on the right hand side of the screen enables him to jump, which you will want to do in order to avoid ground obstacles and to jump over those endless pits you’ll come across. You can also give yourself a boost by pressing the button in the bottom left, but be careful as to how much you use, since there’s only so much of it available before it needs to recharge.

The dream orbs that you collect serve as the game’s currency, and you can spend these in the Shop. You can purchase various power-ups like the Destroyer and Magnetism, or get utilities to boost your game with, such as head starts, wings, and a second life. There is also a Sakura environment to unlock for use in the Endless mode, though it will probably take you a while to obtain it, since it will cost 120,000 dream orbs. If you like to change your character’s appearance, there are various pieces of armor that you can equip, though I’m not too sure if they make much of a difference in actual gameplay.

There is full Game Center support for six leaderboards and a whopping 75 achievements! So if you don’t normally keep playing endless runners, perhaps the abundance of trophies to obtain will change your mind.

Dream Chaser by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

The only problem I have with this game is the fact that I feel like you are hit with paywalls too often. If you run out of hearts, you will need to wait for them to recharge or buy more with orbs. Not enough orbs? You can buy them with real money! I felt that the game will take every opportunity it has to remind you that you can, in fact, quickly get everything you need for the game by pulling out your wallet. I don’t like this approach, especially coming from a game that costs a dollar to download to begin with. And while the tilt controls are fine, there are people out there who would prefer swipe controls, so it would have been nice if they included a different control scheme as an option.

I still like the game, but I have to admit that the power-ups and utilities are expensive, making you either play a lot or paying your way through the game with real cash. It’s entirely possible to play without spending more than the initial dollar, but it will definitely take a long time.

I recommend giving it a try because of the fantastic art style and music, but I just wish there weren’t so many IAPs because it tarnishes the game for me. You can download Dream Chaser in the App Store as a universal download for $0.99.