I find myself agreeing with Brad on almost all counts when it comes to Dual Hearts. This is an underrated game that got overshadowed by a lot of 'high hype' titles last year, which is disappointing because it's a title that had a lot to offer to gamers looking for something a little different.
The concept of a "dreamworld" hasn't been used so effectively since the original Alundra game on the PlayStation. The physical world of Sonno Island (where our heroes spend the entirety of their adventure) is a small place comprised of a scant number of locations. However, by adding dreamworlds to the mix, the game seems much larger-and much more diverse—than most gamers would imagine. Factor that in with the hybridized gameplay mechanics (the title merges adventure game aesthetics with traditional action role-playing game elements and tosses in a healthy pinch of platforming as well) and you wind up with a title that isn't quite like anything else on the market.
This isn't to say the game is particularly innovative—because as Brad points out, it's not. The elements that Dual Hearts appropriates as its own are all borrowed from other games. However, the way it melds all these things into a cohesive whole is really what makes the game shine.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't second Brad's sentiments on the game's art design. While Dual Hearts won't be winning any awards for its graphical brilliance, the game's visuals tend to fit the mood nicely. The little girl's dreamworld (with the pop-up storybook design) is particularly inspired and arguably one of the coolest level ideas I've seen in a game in quite some time.
Unfortunately, most gamers missed out on this under appreciated title—which is a shame, since it's pretty scarce these days. However, those looking for something a little lighter and different should certainly give Dual Hearts a look. It's not a blockbuster AAA title, but it certainly delivers an entertaining gaming experience.