Review – The American Dream

Ah, The American Dream. The ethos of the United States based on the ideals (rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. It’s something many immigrants seek and something that often is taken for granted by US born citizens. Samurai Punk, an Australia based studio ( from a country which is well known for its very strict laws with violent video games and firearms), decided to take a well deserved shot at the gun loving freedom fighters of the US . . . and they nailed it.

The American Dream is a satirical take of the 1950’s where guns have become an integral part of Americans every day lives. You’re attending a world fair where you are strapped into a roller-coaster type ride where you will go through various mini games showcasing the importance of firearms use from birth to your old age. I really appreciate the balance Samurai Punk put into the message of The American Dream. There is obviously a message in the game about the obsession of firearms in the US culture, but it never crosses the line of being an after school special PSA. They stay goofy and over the top and in doing this it can be appreciated whether you’re from the US or not.

The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam’s gun.

What will immediately stand out when the game starts is how well the tracking is for the move controllers. Everything feels the correct size and the movement is extremely smooth and accurate. I can’t stress enough how having 1:1 tracking for motion controls can make or break a game like this, something that is really appreciated after playing the poorly made Bravo Team.

There isn’t any major jumping or skipping, but there is one issue a ran into which is really just an unfortunate side effect of the PSVR’s tracking system. The weapons that require you to use one hand in front of the other, for instance the rifle, when aiming to the right (if holding the weapon right hand dominant) the left hand/arm will block the back Move controller. This would cause some mess ups due to the camera not being able to pick up the controller and got frustrating during a few of the missions.

Changing a Diaper

Using a gun to change a gun shaped poop diaper…

You’ll go through 20 levels which goes from being a baby, your first catch with dad, your first crush and prom dance, first job and they even cover sex ed in a hilarious way. There’s a very good range of humorous mini games to go through, but there are definitely some that are better than others. There’s also an abundance of unique things that Samurai Punk came up with as far as unique ways to do normal things with firearms. Not all of them are winners, but even the stinkers are still somewhat fun to play through due to the well done VR. There are also a few times where you’ll be forced to sit there and watch some movie reels that last a tad bit too long.

In a game that has the VR and motion tracking so tight, I was a little shocked by the handful of glitches that I got. The most common was when moving into a new level, it just wouldn’t activate. I would just sit there for a few minutes with nothing happening. This was fixed by restarting the chapter, but it happened a lot more than I would have liked. There were also a couple of times when my magazine ejector buttons just wouldn’t work. Luckily, these problems usually make themselves known right at the beginning of the chapter so restarting the chapter isn’t a huge loss. It just was strange to have a lot of those in a game that felt overall very well made and polished.

Dunk the Commie

Dunk the Commie

The graphics are simple, but the art design and choices actually work with the overall story theme. Everything boasts a bright and bold color palette which makes it a treat to look around each environment. All characters are portrayed as cardboard cutouts which works since it’s suppose to be a museum representation.

The sound design is hit-or-miss with Buddy the Golden Lab being the strong point of the game. His voice acting and delivery is very well done and some of his lines had me cracking up. Buddy’s script is excellent and fits the satirical 50’s theme perfectly. Every time he talks about “filthy communists” he spits in disgust. The secondary characters pale in comparison to Buddy in not only the script quality, but also the audio quality. Also, with a game that is so focused on guns I was a little disappointed they don’t produce enough punch.

The American Dream is a hilarious social commentary on the USA’s view of its second amendment. It has a message to tell, but does it in such a way that never feels preachy or in your face. Despite some of the issues with levels not loading, The American Dream, is really well made and a ton of fun.

Graphics: 8.5

Bright and bold color palette, detailed weapons, and simplistic art design that works well.

Gameplay: 8.0

VR immersion is done really well here with fantastic tracking. Unfortunately, glitches are holding it back.

Sound: 7.0

“Buddy” the Golden Labrador narrator is super well done, but the rest of the voice acting clips are low quality. The guns could have packed some more audio punch as well.

Fun Factor: 8.5

The American Dream is hilarious, well made, and a great social commentary on firearms in the U.S. However, a handful of glitches and some long videos bring it down.

Final Verdict: 8.0

The American Dream is available now on PSVR, HTC Vive and Oculus Touch.

A copy of The American Dream was provided by the publisher.