GamingReview: Dreamscaper

Review: Dreamscaper

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Dreamscaper is more than just a game – it’s a quest about self-discovery and fighting your inner nightmares.

Released for Steam and Nintendo Switch, Dreamscaper is an action roguelike with an expansive combat system and an immersive story.

Gameplay:

In Dreamscaper, you play as Cassidy, who is battling her anxiety and depression as she dives into her dreams as a way to escape reality and fight her inner demons – literally. In her dreams, Cassidy battles bosses, which are a reflection of her negative emotions. After reflecting on her past in her dreams, when Cassidy comes back to reality, she does her best to grow by doing simple things like meditating or connecting with the people in her city.

As a roguelike (roguelite), each dungeon is procedurally generated with permadeath. While players can later choose what equipment to start with before each run, all of the items and weapons Cassidy can use through her journey are also randomly generated. As Cassidy reflects on her past and defeats her negative emotions, she becomes stronger, allowing her to equip even better items and unlock new areas.

While the majority of the action happens in Cassidy’s dreams, a lot of the story is revealed when she’s awake. By befriending people in her city with homemade gifts, Cassidy slowly opens up to them and shares a bit of her story. As she makes new friends, they have deeper conversations that can hit home sometimes. Through her relationships, Cassidy can become stronger to fight her own fears and insecurities.


Pros:

  • It has an interesting concept and story that complements the gameplay very well.
  • Features engaging gameplay and numerous upgrades and weapons.

Cons:

  • The text is too small.
  • There’s a lack of explanation at the beginning of the game and no tutorials for puzzles.

While I really enjoyed Dreamscaper, I ran across several rough patches in the game. One important thing to note is the text is very small; I felt like I was straining my eyes to read everything. With this said, this leaves out players who may be visually impaired. Even for an indie game, I think care should be made to make the game accessible to as many players as possible.

Another issue with this game is how you are expected to know how to play the puzzles introduced later in the game. While one puzzle is self-explanatory, the other one took me a while to figure out. I eventually realized the puzzle was Minesweeper, but I had to look up the rules for it. A game should always explain any new elements and not assume its players know how to play it.

Conclusion:

I still have some ways to go in the game, but I’m enjoying it a lot more than I expected. To be honest, I’ve never been big on roguelikes, but Dreamscaper has given me a whole new outlook on the genre. If roguelike games are your cup of tea, Dreamscaper will not disappoint your expectations.

Entertainment: 7/10

Replay value: 6/10

Graphics: 8/10

Sound: 7/10

Kid Friendly: Yes (Has adult language & touches on real-life problems & trauma.)

Platform:Nintendo Switch
Developer:Afterburner Studios
Publisher:Freedom Games
Released:August 05, 2021
MSRP:$24.99
ESRB:Everyone 10+

SUMMARY

+ Story & gameplay mesh well together
+ Engaging gameplay and upgrades
- Extremely small text
- Sometimes lacks explanations

(Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, also available on Steam)
Krissy
Hi, I’m Krissy! I’m just your average nerd living & gaining XP in Tokyo, Japan. Former QA and game production intern at Cartoon Network. When I’m not trying to save the world, you can find me whipping up some cute illustrations on my tablet!
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