Developer: Afterburner Studios
Publisher: Freedom Games
Platforms: Switch, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 05/08/2021
£18.99 £14.24/ $24.99 $18.49
*Onsale until 12/08/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Dreamscaper is another success story from Kickstarter. Also, a game I personally backed. However, I couldn’t wait until release day to play, so I had to review it. Let’s find out if I should have waited
In Dreamscaper you take the role of Cassidy, a young woman who has moved from her small town of Backhill to the city of Redhaven. The game centers on Cassidy’s emotions, regarding her life and moving to a new place and not knowing anyone.
Throughout your time in this oddly beautiful game you will be facing Cassidy’s fears and forging new relationships to make Redhaven a new like home. And take control and come to terms with Cassidy’s feelings.
Dreamscaper’s story is emotional and one of growth. It is also a rougelike with a story not just; “kill everything, why? Reasons!” I found I could, on some level, connect with.
Dreamscaper is broken into two main gameplay elements, first the rougelike dungeon crawling kill everything until you die dream. And the walk about the city uncovering more of the story, meeting new friends and upgrading your dream power.
The dreamscape is where all the action will take place. As with a lot rougelikes Dreamscaper comprises a selection of pre-made rooms that are slotted together to change an ever changing layout. Giving each of the six levels a varied feel as long as you ignore the room layouts when in them.
The player will have the option at the start of a run to make a load-out this can be selected, or a random load-out. There are benefits to both, firstly random will keep the player on their toes as they unlock more weapons and abilities, where was selecting set weapons will allow mastery of these said weapons to be completed faster, allowing for the extra abilities to be unlocked quicker. While in a run Cassidy will pick up keys, bombs and sand. Keys are to open locked doors, bombs blow up resources points and blocked doors and sand is used to buy upgrades for that run.
Talking of weapons leads nicely in to combat; and I have to say it is a pure pleasure to play. It is a mix of light and heavy melee attacks, ranged attacks with dodges and abilities. Making for a great feeling combat sequences. Abilities and ranged attacks use lucid as an energy pool. I gave a approving nod at this being all dream related.
At the end of each of the 6 emotion dungeons, there will be a boss fight. After the simple (mostly) normal mobs, the bosses breathe new life in to the game, and after the first boss they are bloody hard. They will need total focus on the action or you are in for a quick demise. But so satisfying to beat. After beating them, the bosses become optional on sub-sequential runs. However, beating them will net you rewards being; Inspiration, Resolve, Glass and Sparks. We used these currencies while Cassidy is awake.
(From another great segue) lets start with the currencies you earn in the dreamscape. These currencies can augment Cassidy in her dreams, with permeant upgrades. These upgrades come as new friends we can swap these to give different bonuses. As the friendship deepens, then the bonus offered will improve. Cassidy can sketch ideas that can be used in her dreams, such as new weapons and abilities. Meditating is also possible this will increase Cassidy’s HP and Lucid meters. Daydreaming can open up more rooms in the Dreamscape, such as challenge rooms and shops and a tonne more.
Dreamscape touches on a lot of different subjects that are thoughtful and insightful and not just a throwaway gimmick to get people interested. On top of this, the writing and thought that has been put in to Cassidy’s life both in and out of dreams shows a good understanding of fears that people, especially young adults, go though when leaving a small town and moving away.
Overall Dreamscape is a rare rouguelike that has an interesting story, great gameplay and a tonne of abilities and items to make each playthough feel different and fresh.
This is a must play it is a simple as that.