Developed By: Afterburner Studios Published By: Freedom Games Categories: Action, Adventure, Roguelite Release Date: 08.05.21
Perhaps I’m reading the game wrong, but it’s always always great and important to see games that focus on mental health. Anxiety, depression, past childhood trauma and memories. The stress of meeting new people and talking to them. Dreamscaper is a unique blend of roguelite, which I’m sure I say often, but upgrades seem to mean more contexually.
In My Dreams, I’m Beautiful…and Bad!
In Dreamscaper, there’s two worlds. The real, waking world, and then our lead Cassidy’s dreams. In the real world, she’s a bit quiet and timid, slowly warming up to people with homemade gifts she made. They open up to you , as much as you open up to them. Access to your upgrades are all accessed through different areas in the real world too, which we’ll discuss later. It’s a peaceful, autumn town, something I yearn for.
In your dreams, things are different. You’re strong, courageous. You’re haunted by nightmares though. Monstrous creations made from those anxieties. You can’t let them take over though, I know you’re strong enough to overcome them.
Each area in your dreams is related to a place from your past. Your childhood hometown is the first. Rich full of good…and bad memories. It’s refreshing to see a roguelite that isn’t just having you go deeper and deeper into some cave or tower, or whatnot. But perhaps deeper and deeper into your own mind and memories.
A Squirt Gun, a Flame Dash, and The Power to Lift the Earth
If you’ve played a roguelite, ever, you’ll get the mechanics. Random levels, random items, punishing difficulty. There are a LOT of items to get. Lets break down the categories though. You get melee weapons, long ranged weapons, boots for dodges, shields for defense and countering. Keepsakes are found on the random which allow for buffs and new passive abilities, which all can be stacked. It’s simple as having a second chance (revive), or allowing your projectiles to ricochet.
Maybe just having more Lucid for some incredibly strong special attacks. Not sure if it’s spoiler-ish, but my favorites are ones that act like black holes or just drop devastating explosions in a small area. That second one can wreck bosses up.
Not every place in your dreams is dangerous though. You’ll just have rooms for you to go back to the past and recount your memories. A shop room with sand you collect from enemies. Challenge rooms which task you with fighting a little different to get a nice reward. And once you unlock them, puzzle rooms.
Wait, You Like Graphic Novels Too?
There’s so much to the real, waking world that you slowly unlock the more nights you sleep and more you do. Sketch out those keepsakes for easier use, meditate some permanent buffs, daydream a few additions to your sleeping adventures. But you can’t just do everything alone, get talking to people. They all have their likes and schedules, just talking to them lets you know them more.
Make a gift from the Inspiration you find for them. Early on, with few gifts to make and few people to know, it’s a bit easy to put 2 and 2 together. However, with more and more recipes for gifts, it gets trickier, you might really want to talk more and more, though this can take some time. Frustratingly, if you don’t know what to give and to whom, you can grind out Inspiration only to waste it by giving it to the wrong person, with an autosave immediately after that.
But why even do this? Your friendships manifest as upgrades you can choose for your loadout to boost things specific to a certain person like speed, Lucid moves, elemental moves, and so on. It took me a bit before I even thought to equip these, but once I did, and especially the closer you are to a person, the more you’ll notice these effects.
There are too many roguelites on Switch, far too many. However, if one does anything to draw me in and not just have the standard HARD GAME, LONG GAME, UPGRADES shtick, I’m on board. Whether it’s the presentation, the actually gameplay, or just perhaps what it’s trying to say. Dreamscaper has things to say, and for that, it’s valuable.
Buy Now: $24.99
*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review