Pokémon Black and White: A Look at the Dream World

One of the new additions to the Pokémon Universe with Pokémon Black and White is the Dream World. Combining aspects of social networking plus the rewards of the Pokewalker (but you know, without the exercise) the Pokémon Dream World gives players a chance to explore a web based version of Pokémon complete with mini games. It won’t be up and running until the spring, but for now here’s a quick peek at what it will entail.

First of all, you’ll have to create an account on the official website over at the Pokémon Global Link. This website lets you connect to the Dream World, where you’ll create a home for your Pokémon, find berries and more. You’ll only be able to visit the Dream World once a day, and only for an hour at most, so you’ll have to plan your time wisely once you are there.

The main thing you’ll encounter in the Dream World is your Pokémon’s home. Here you’ll be able to use berries as a form of currency. You can use berries to purchase furniture and even new versions of a house for your Pokémon. If you find you don’t have enough berries, you can always unlock some special furniture back in the actual game of Pokémon Black and White. Just find Loblolly in Nacrene City and talk to them. You’ll then be able to bring it over via your C-Gear’s Game Synch feature. Furniture includes everything from tables to stuffed animals so you have a wide range of customization options. As well, Japan offered gamers limited edition items like a canopy bed and even a castle. We’ll have to wait and see if North America and/or European gamers get anything like that as well.

Another thing you can do in the Dream World is plant berries. Unlike the last three generations of Pokémon games, you’ll discover you can’t plan berries in the actual Unova region. Instead you’ll have to plant them in the Dream World. You’ll start off with two rows where you can plant three berries each (That’s a total of six) but as you progress through the Dream World you’ll be able to plant more. Remember berries are currency in the Dream World, so you’ll have to decide if you want to use them there or back in your real game.

You can also trade items with your friends that have Pokémon Black and White by placing items on the Share Shelf. This lies to the right of your Pokémon’s home. You can place items on their and they can be traded or taken by your friends.

As you progress through the Dream World, you’ll discover new areas in what is called the Dream Island. At first you’ll only be able to access a Forest in the Dream Island section, but as you earn Dream Points, you’ll be able to spend those on unlocking new areas. In these various Dream Island regions, you can find items and even Pokémon. Many of these Pokémon will have abilities that are different from what they would normally have in Black and White, which may give them a tactical advantage when playing against friends. You’ll befriend Pokémon through various mini-games which gives you a brand new way to catch Pokémon without battling. Exploring also earns you access to the Dream Tree. This is where a visual representation of all the Pokémon you’ve found and become friends with in the Dream World will be located. Each day you can send one berry and one Pokémon back to your Pokémon Black and White game.

As mentioned above, there are several mini-games you can play in the Dream World. Although the goal is to achieve a high score, you’ll also unlock bonuses for doing so – all of which are Pokémon that know moves and abilities they wouldn’t otherwise be able to learn. That’s always an incredible bonus, right? You can get anything from a Bulbasaur with Chlorophyll as their special move instead of Overgrow to a Sudowoodo with Role Play and Endure. The more Dream Points you unlock in the Dream World, the more Pokémon will be unlocked for you to find and befriend. You’ll even be able to get Lapra and Dratini through the Dream World if you have enough Dream Points!

So now you’re probably wondering how you actually EARN Dream Points, right? Well there are several things you can do.

1) Trading items with friends in the Dream World = 1 point per item
2) Water your friend’s berry patch = 10 points per watering
3) Harvest your berries = 10 points per harvest
4) Complete Mini-Games = 10-30 points depending on game and score
5) Send a Pokémon that you have befriended to your copy of Pokémon Black or White = 50 points

If you can manage to earn 500 or more points in the hour you are in the Dream World, you’ll earn a level up for the Pokémon you brought with you into the Dream World.

I should also point out that you can earn special Pokémon in the Dream World that are only there for a limited amount of time. So far Japan has had all seven Eevee evolutions. There have also been passwords in magazines like CoroCoro or in TCG sets that would unlock Pokémon in the Dream World for you to send back to your cart. At one point they even had a poll for an unlockable Pokémon and a level 100 Arceus was the winner! It’ll be interesting to see if we get any offers like that here in the West. We’ll just have to keep our eyes open I guess.

So basically, the Dream World is a Pokémon version of Farmville or one of several other online social networking games. The good thing is that unlike a lot of those type of games, you don’t have to pay anything to unlock items or for microtransactions. The goal is to friend as many people as you can to keep your section of the Dream World hustling and bustling. However, you’ll have to do it through the friend code system of the DS, which I know drives a lot of people nuts.

The big problem with the Dream World is that it is online only rather than cart based. That means that years from now, it may no longer be around. We see this with lots of other online titles. When the servers go down, they go down forever. Can you still play Phantasy Star Online on your PS2, Game Cube or Dreamcast? Nope. So remember that this function is something that won’t be around years from now if you get a nostalgic craving to play Black and White. That means part of the game will be inaccessible to you while older Pokémon games like HeartGold and SoulSilver will still retain their full functionality. Keep that in mind if you like to buy games for the long term. Online gaming can be fun, but ultimately you’re merely renting anything that is online rather than actually buying it.

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