Dream Trigger 3D
Dream Trigger's complex shmup-based gameplay focuses on a concept of sonar pings. The bottom (touch) screen of the 3DS features a grid that players tap with the stylus to position sonar pings. A rhythmic sonar wipe moves across the screen, and where ever the player tapped the screen, a sonar signal is activated. This is necessary because all enemies are generally invisible, and cannot be attacked unless a sonar signal makes them visible. Careful planning, and a strict attention to detail are necessary to lay pings in anticipation of enemy movements, and in order to constantly move the player character out of the way of enemy attacks.
Successfully pinging enemies fills an attack meter to give players ammunition. Attacking is performed using any of several different buttons on the 3DS, including the L & R buttons, but can also be done tapping the edges of the touch screen. Players must reveal enemies by pinging them, then attacking and defeating them quickly by holding down an attack button and moving the player character (also acting as a cursor) over enemies. While attacking, the weapon meter quickly depletes, but the player is invincible from enemy shots during this time. The player character/cursor is moved using the analog nub, D-pad, or ABXY buttons for left-handed mode.
The quirky, unusual gameplay style and graphical presentation mirror aspects of puzzle/shooter titles from companies like Q? Entertainment, Taito, and Treasure. Dream Trigger bears resemblances to titles such as Every Extend Extra Extreme, Meteos, and Space Invaders Extreme.
Dream Trigger boasts over fifty standard stages with over a hundred bonus challenges. The Challenges are conditional achievements players may accomplish during regular gameplay. Finishing stages, defeating bosses (each stage has a boss character), or accomplishing Challenges earns players Dream Points which are, in turn, used to unlock and move to new stages in the World Map gameplay mode. Challenges range from collecting all health items in a stage to completing a boss battle without taking damage to unlocking a new route through the map. The game also keeps track of how closely players get to accomplishing some Challenges if they haven't yet completed them.
The basic gameplay mode is "World Map Mode" which starts with a couple stages and gradually opens up as players complete and advance through new areas. The map screen is a system of branching lines connecting the stages, and Dream Points are spent advancing to new areas. Through this mode, new stages are unlocked for use in other modes.
There are also Free Play and Time Attack modes, which play exactly as they appear. The former is to play any unlocked stage freely for a point total to add to the player's personal scoreboard, and the latter challenges players in a similar fashion, but rate time limits rather than score. There is also a local wireless versus mode for two players with two Nintendo 3DS systems.