Mind If I Come In: Dreamkiller

Seems very familiar.

Yesterday saw the rather subdued announcement of a new game from Painkiller: Overdose developers Mindware Studios, a “mega-bloodbath” called Dreamkiller. Subdued since the game tantalisingly teased as a cross between the brainless shooty nonsense of Painkiller and cerebral entertainment of Psychonauts is mentioned on neither the developer nor the publisher‘s websites. Which seems an odd tactic. Anyway, more details below.

The Psychonauts comparisons seem to be entirely born of other sites getting excited by the game’s premise. You play as Alice Drake, a psychologist who can mysteriously enter the brains of her patients. And that would appear to be as much as it has to do with Schafer’s gorgeous platforming wonder. (Looking at the screenshots, we’d suggest Zeno Clash has been a more direct inspiration.) Once you’re in the minds of your subjects, you then let loose with your collection of weaponry and magic powers to fight the nightmares within.

Zeno Clash meets Doom 3?

I’m not sure I could hope to match the press release’s purple prose explaining this, so I’ll bow out and hand over:

“Alice confronts our common demons only to discover an even deeper menace reigns within. The ultimate showdown becomes inevitable between that which would torment and she who will protect, and only one force will prevail amidst a variety of dreamscapes as varied and bizarre as the human mind itself. Dreamkiller features 12 rich levels of single-player gameplay each laced with swarms of hideous and disturbing enemies reflecting the mind’s infinite palette of fear. The onslaught continues with numerous multiplayer modes and a host of over-the-top weapons and supernatural abilities. Stay awake, Dreamkiller will be available this fall.”

Presumably there will be a website for it soon (or at least one that’s linked to by either publisher or developer), and hopefully some more details. Painkiller may not win any prizes for intelligent gaming, but it was a dumb way to have fun for short bursts. (Mindware only developed the sequel, of course.) With a premise this daft, Dreamkiller might end up improving in that same niche.


  1. Dominic White says:

    While the original Painkiller was fun (although it never grabbed me the same way the sillier Serious Sam did), Overdose was pretty terrible. It was, effectively, poor Painkiller fan-fiction. Originally meant to be a mod, the publisher signed it to become a full product.

    Maybe these guys have gotten better. Maybe. I’m doubtful though.

  2. Saul says:

    I’m sure my mental health would improve dramatically if someone could enter it and blow things up with “over the top wepons”.

  3. Dominic White says:

    Oh, for anyone who wants to enjoy the unintentional comedy that is Painkiller: Overdose, but wants to be able to skip the boring/painful parts, there’s a very good Let’s Play archived on the.. err.. internet archives.

    link to archive.org

    Streaming and/or downloadable to boot.

  4. Gnarl says:

    Alice Drake sounds a tad Ashes to Ashes. It also sounds quite interesting.

  5. radomaj says:

    Kotaku has a leetle bit more info on Dreamkiller:
    link to kotaku.com

    Not to plug them or anything, they just have more info and I didn’t want to copy the whole post as a comment.

  6. megaman says:

    While Painkiller definitely wasn’t a smart game, or introduced anything new, it was well done and offered tons of fun for me. It was just the right mixture of fear & fun, so I’ll hope for the best with Dreamkiller.

  7. Howard says:

    Yeah, Painkiller itself was a blast (loved the starter blade weapon) but Overdose was just very poor indeed. I cannot imagine that this team will have made a particular leap forward with the quality of their work nor that the Painkiller engine has aged particularly well…

  8. Xercies says:

    Please bring back these kind of games…I’m getting sick of the serious FPS around…

  9. Alex says:

    I wish I could have played Painkiller. I picked it up for $5 but the thing refused to run at resolutions higher than 512×384. The last time I had to do that was playing TFC when my graphics card was still a Matrox Millenium.

  10. Howard says:

    That’s odd; it runs fine for me on Vista 64. Did you patch it? Also try and get the expansion. It ups the power of the engine quite a bit.

  11. Pavel says:

    Mindware also did Cold War – very good stealth action game.They are pretty talented, but if you knew what they had to go through when making Overdose (and all their other games, like sadly canceled Voodoo Nights), you would probably give them some slack.

  12. Monchberter says:

    Woo, i think we’ve all stopped mourning Duke Nukem and now we’re starting to miss him. Boneheadedly smart FPS experiences here we come!

    On a similar note, did anyone play Demented early FPS Rise of the Triad? Now that was pure silly.

  13. Stense says:

    I loved Rise of the Triad, it was silly over the top fun. You can turn into a dog and use your bark to make people explode, what more do you need?

    Wasn’t too fond of Painkiller though. I never was able to put my finger on why, but it just didn’t gel with me.

  14. Markoff Chaney says:

    RotT was quite enjoyable and, for its day, something quite innovative. I also really enjoyed the first 2 Painkillers (that comprise Black). Overdose is a little sluggish, but the first two always ran like a dream for me.

    This totally looks more like Zeno Clash than Psychonauts.

  15. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    “Stay awake, Dreamkiller will be available”

    Oh man, I totally love this play on words! See, I have to keep awake otherwise THE DREAMKILLER COMES!!

    “…..” /jrpg

  16. Asz says:

    The original Painkiller and expansion were amazingly atmospheric games. Not bright, not extremely innovative, but very fun and very cool. I’d love it if everyone could strike Dreamkiller from their heads and show some interest for whatever the hell People Can Fly (the original PK developers) are doing: link to epicgames.com

    Who knows when we’ll hear substantial news on that though.

  17. SirKicksalot says:

    I’d rather play another Necrovision. Without the crappy first third, of course.

  18. Carra says:

    I actually restarted Painkiller last week, bought it from gog.com when it was on promo a few weeks ago. And it’s a lot of mindless fun. There’s something about impaling people with huge, wooden stakes. And the levels just look gorgeous. Huge cathedrals, medieval villages, snowy bridges, opera houses,…

    Seeing how this game isn’t made by the original developers I’m not gonna get my hopes up.

  19. tycho says:

    @ Gnarl

    That’s the first thing I thought also – maybe they will release the game under the title “Bashes to Bashes”, starring Alice Drake and Sean Punt…

  20. Senethro says:

    Not made by People Can Fly, don’t care about it.

    What happened to PCF? :<

  21. Adventurous Putty says:

    I hope the Hivemind isn’t naive enough to think that these people are in the slightest capable of depth. They make great brainless shooters, as Yahtzee and my own experience can testify, but considering that what we have are a tiny sampling of unnecessary purple prose and some screenshots aping Zeno Clash, I think the intent here (CASH-IN!) is obvious.

  22. ForTheLulz says:

    “While Painkiller definitely wasn’t a smart game, or introduced anything new, it was well done and offered tons of fun for me.”

    Didn’t introduce anything new? It’s one of the first games released to feature full ragdoll deaths and a physics enabled world for awesome explosions. The stake gun that pins people to walls was also pretty new. And they had humongous bosses… bigger than anything I’d ever seen before in a 3D game… probably only topped by Shadow of Colossus!

  23. Acosta says:

    Yes please, more fantasy FPS games with over the top weapons is good news to me.

  24. Dave says:

    So let me get this straight… you have to enter the Mind of Techsmith 314 and battle his squishy, electricity-spewing inner demons?

  25. suibhne says:

    Maybe it’ll be a romp a la Painkiller, but sheesh, the overall concept is as hackneyed as they come.

  26. Jerry Mander says:

    But will Yahtzee like it?

  27. John Walker says:

    Adventurous Putty – I’m not quite sure how I could have been more clear about my belief this would be brainless!

    “Cash-in” doesn’t really make any sense. Cashing in on what? That lucrative looking-a-bit-like-Zeno-Clash market everyone’s trying to get a piece of? : )

  28. Adventurous Putty says:

    I was thinking more the lucrative “Ooo if we decide to stick a bunch of weird-looking models and environments in a game for no purpose but our own whimsy we can look all indie and avante-garde and everyone will love our game!”

    hm, yeah, upon further consideration that ISN’T a very smart way of making money. My brain wasn’t working when I thought that out, evidently. Carry on.