Generally you may simply inform how a lot effort and care went into making a recreation, and a great instance of this may be seen in Dreamscaper. Developed by a tiny three-person improvement group, it’s spectacular how a lot has been crammed into this little roguelite from each a narrative and gameplay perspective.
At its core Dreamscaper is a narrative concerning the significance of psychological wellness and forming significant relationships. You play as a faceless girl named Cassidy, who has lately moved from her hometown of Backhill to a brand new metropolis known as Redhaven. Cassidy is sort of lonely nonetheless, and he or she’s clearly coping with some unaddressed trauma from her previous that’s nonetheless haunting her day by day life. To type out her points, Cassidy thus relives her previous and faces her inside struggles head on in her desires each evening, which take the form of randomly generated dungeons customary after vital locations from her historical past.
Fight is easy however strategic, as most rooms activity you with reducing by means of a number of enemies with a mixture of fundamental assaults, particular strikes, blocks, and dodges. It’s nothing you haven’t seen earlier than—we have been particularly reminded of Hades many instances—however there’s a pleasant rhythm to fight and the ability ceiling feels quite excessive. Issues like pulling off a wonderfully timed dodge or spacing out your assaults simply sufficient to maximise injury really feel persistently rewarding, and there’s fairly a little bit of weapon range to maintain runs feeling recent and attention-grabbing.
We have been particularly thrilled by the continuing sense of ahead development. Each room clear will reward you with one thing helpful, whether or not that’s one other well being drop or an additional key or a brand new particular assault or weapon to idiot round with. New tools drops are virtually at all times an improve over your previous package and the random nature of how they spawn implies that you’re at all times incentivized to department out and check out new playstyles.
This ahead development isn’t merely restricted to your dungeon runs, both. Once you inevitably chew the mud and get up the subsequent morning, there are a selection of currencies you’ve accrued out of your run that may then be ‘spent’ in your waking life to enhance your odds of overcoming the dream world. Issues like meditating and sketching new drawings in Cassidy’s sketchbook will grant you welcome stat bumps and new gadgets for the tools swimming pools, whereas additionally having good narrative ties to how the ability of self-love can enhance one’s psychological fortitude.
There’s additionally a component of relationship constructing to those waking parts of the sport, and these can additional assist your probabilities within the dungeons. Cassidy can journey between varied locales in Redhaven (like a park or a bar) and meet with a various forged of locals who assist to make the city really feel rather less intimidating. Giving items that match their pursuits will increase a confidant’s relationship degree, and this then takes on a gameplay kind in a passive buff you could equip earlier than coming into a dungeon. Not solely do these equipable buffs make a significant distinction to your methods, however the cutscenes that play out between Cassidy and her mates typically fill in additional gaps on her mysterious previous whereas providing up some heartwarming and entertaining views into every individual’s persona.
The one complaints we will actually muster in opposition to Dreamscaper are nitpicks. For one factor, this can be a very ‘protected’ roguelite, so in the event you’ve already burned your self out placing 1000’s of hours into video games like Binding of Isaac, Useless Cells and Hades, Dreamscaper isn’t the breath of recent air that’ll reinvigorate your love for the style. Past that, the textual content in handheld mode will be hilariously small, which makes this a recreation that feels prefer it virtually should be performed within the dock.
Dreamscaper actually is quite good; this can be a recreation that actually deserves extra consideration than it’s acquired. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in coronary heart. A surprisingly emotional story, rewarding development system, snappy fight, and painterly visuals make for an expertise that we’d recommend you give a critical look.