We all know American’s love guns. But did you know they even use them to make babies? No me neither. I was never privy to the birds and the bees, to be honest, my parents just let me get on with it and now, as a grown-up, I have three children of my own. Little did I know there was more than one way to get your wife pregnant. I also didn’t know that bagels were made by shooting holes in them, or the first thing you should do when your baby stands upright is give him a gun. I’ve learned so much from The American Dream and the biggest lesson of all is probably that I never want to set foot over there. Call me a wimp if you like, but when the waiter clears the table with a sawn-off shotgun, that’s not a country I want to be eating in.
The saltire is the name of the game in The American Dream and it’s done so well that it’ll have you laughing and sometimes cringing from beginning to end. The game sets off by placing you in a fairground style cart and takes you through the life of a 1950’s American, from birth onwards. It all starts in a crib, with you handling your first gun, before going on to play catch in the garden, get your first girlfriend, your first job, make babies, do the gardening, yes you get the picture. A common theme throughout is you’ll always have a gun in your hand and whatever you do, there will be a bullet at the source of it.
Throughout the game, you’ll be accompanied by Buddy Washington, an All-American Canine who takes you through all 20+ stages. Right from the start, he’ll talk you through each stage of life, like at first when are being shot in the face with your cereal, to your first job, where you’ll cook burgers by flipping them with your bullets, before serving them up in much the same way. Later you’ll get your wife pregnant with a smoking hot shotgun, do some gardening with a machine gun and catch some fish with a whole load of bullets. The developer just seems to think up more ways to keep you entertained throughout the entire game, with each level even more bizarre than the last. In between levels you’ll even be forced to sit through infommercials, teaching you why guns play such an important part in the American life.
There’s probably a political message in here somewhere, telling us why America’s obsession with guns is so bad, but I’m not really the type of person to get involved in such things, instead I prefer the ignorance is bliss approach and am sure even most American’s will agree this game is not really poking fun at them as such, but instead just having a laugh at the thought of how far obsession could take you, though it’ll likely no-one is ever going to try and trim their hedge with an Uzi, although you never know I suppose.
Being based in the UK, the culture of guns and the need for everyone to own one isn’t really a topic I’ve had much experience with, so I treat The American Dream for what it is, a funny and sometimes dark comedy, which while sometimes hard-hitting, will likely have you laughing hard throughout. How can you not love working in a bagel factory and shooting the holes in the bread? Or doing a dance-off with your prom dates would-be-suitor? It’s fantastic and full of fun ideas throughout, even if sometimes you’ll accidentally shoot your wife in the face; Not that it will cause any damage since, like all characters in the game, she is a cardboard cutout.
The American Dream is a fantastically colourful experience. Once you place the PSVR on your head you are transformed into 1950’s America, with fun-era inspired environments and the white picket fence lifestyle which the dream represents. All of the characters are presented in an on-the-rails style, almost like targets in a shooting range. The gameplay also takes advantage of this by presenting you with the occasional targets to shoot and offering up a wide range of guns to choose from depending on the scene.
Thanks to the presentation, it always feels like you are on your own, taking part in a bizarre ghost train-like experience, giving you a vision of a world where everyone has guns for hands and no option but to use them. It’s strange, funny and luckily it works well too since the PlayStation Move controllers seem to work well, albeit with the occasional loss of tracking.
The American Dream is a VR experience worth playing through. It’ll make you laugh and occasionally, a little embarrassed too. It’s a strange game but one that no VR owner should miss. There are many reasons to own a PlayStation VR and The American Dream is yet another one.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*