The game's story mode 'Art's Dream', tells the tale of a bassist for a jazz band as he battles the manifestations of his own fears/insecurities, with the help of his childhood toys.
After several closed betas, and Early Access, it was released on February 14, 2020.
Tropes for the game as a whole:
- Advertising by Association: The North American version of the physical game says "From the creators of LittleBigPlanet".
- Art Game: The game is marketed in such a vein, and such games can be created with it.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Rated T for Teen, solely because of a single use of "shit" in Art's Dream.
- Butt-Monkey: Most of the tutorials center around helping Connie reach Cuthbert, who is always finding himself in some pickle. He's also got a slight variation on Hair-Trigger Temper, freaking out and throwing a fit at minor problems (such as being unable to answer 2 + 2) if something reasonably upsetting hasn't happened to him.
- Companion Cube: Cuthbert is literally a cube who is Connie's friend.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Unlike in LittleBigPlanet, nearly everything in the Dream Shaper is done with motion controls (either using the Dualshock 4's motion sensor or a Playstation Move controller). While this works well for manipulating objects in a 3D space, you might find yourself hitting the Undo button while trying to navigate a menu with the D-Pad.
- Lampshade Hanging: The tutorials often lampshade the goings-on to make them happen.
- "Connie doesn't choose who her friends are. I do."
- Level Editor: Like its predecessor LittleBigPlanet, but even more powerful. In fact, it's basically a game engine at this point!
- Random Events Plot: Invoked by Dreamsurfing, wherein you play through a random selection of scenes with only a short transition between them. One moment you could be wandering through a haunted art gallery, while the next you could be playing a 2-D platforming game.
- Scenery Porn: Just look at this trailer! Keep in mind that this was all made in Dreams.
- This extends to the main game. The ability to design graphics is centered around a very artistic system to let creators make both surreal, painting-like visuals or to do plain, solid colors and designs as well. Even if it doesn't lead to anything, it's quite easy for a player to just play around in the creator to make this.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Cuthbert might be the designated Butt-Monkey, but he does have some things go his way.
- Most tutorials end with him being reunited with his friend Connie.
- His leitmotif is created without complications thanks to Connie's help.
- The vehicle tutorial ends with his Cuthbot petering over the finish line thanks to Connie.
Tropes for Art's Dream:
- Ambiguously Brown: Art's bandmates have a variety of skin tones.
- Anti-Frustration Features: Unlike the official campaigns in the LittleBigPlanet series, none of the prize bubbles throughout Art's Dream requires any sort of No-Damage Run or Socialization Bonus for 100% Completion. That said, having a co-op partner can make the prize bubble collecting during the three song sequences easier, especially since in each of them the last bubble only spawns if all the others are obtained in one run.
- Arc Words: "Tone it down."
- Big Bad: Thornbeak, the ruler of all crows, and later revealed to be a manifestation of Art's self-doubt.
- Cover Version: The ending of the game features a cover of "Time Moves Slow" by Canadian jazz band Badbadnotgood.
- Creepy Crows: What Thornbeak appears as.
- Character Title: It's a dream by a man named Art.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Hector's Musical Numbers and the ending theme "Time Moves Slow".
- Genre Shift: Art's Dream shifts between a (mostly) down-to-earth Point-and-Click Game starring Art himself, an Action Game starring his childhood toys Frances and Eyepatch Foxy, and a futuristic Puzzle Platformer starring his favorite movie character D-Bug.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Frances and Eyepatch Foxy invert this at first, with the former wielding a large hammer and the latter using throwing weapons, and later averted entirely when both become ranged fighters using musical instruments.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: Hector goes from a Train Conductor in one level to a Bouncer in another.
- Shout-Out: During the "Password" musical number, Hector briefly recreates the album cover for Queen II with three clones of himself.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: "The Hardest Part" switches between a vehicle shooter, a rail shooter, and a horizontal 2D shooter at different intervals.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Art had a fear of crows as a child, which is where Thornbeak came from.