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Dreamscaper is a roguelike that's a bit like Hades meets Life Is Strange

A nightmare I'd revisit

Continuing my recent trend of "Ed tries an indie game and realises he quite likes it", I have another one for you. It's called Dreamscaper and it's a bit like if Hades and Life Is Strange had a child that's both murderous and heartfelt. So if you're up for adopting a new roguelike, then this might be worth taking a look at.

So the Hades connection, eh? Yup, Dreamscaper borrows its roguelike formula to a tee. You control a woman called Cassidy as she battles through rooms, collects loot, and takes on a boss. Win and you'll unlock a new set of rooms, even more difficult than the last. Die and you'll return back to the beginning, but you'll keep some permanent upgrades to make things a bit easier the next time you visit.

What's most interesting is how Dreamscaper has you split your time between the dream world and the waking world. Each run sees Cassidy plunge back into her nightmares, staving off demons that represent emotions like Fear and Sadness. But instead of outright dying if you get stomped by a baddie, Cassidy simply awakens in the real world. From here, you can explore your hometown of Redhaven, meet new people, and meditate to make your nightmares a bit more bearable.

I'm pretty early on at the moment, so I can't speak for Dreamscaper's waking world too much, but it's nice. Someone at the bar sold me a healing room, so next time I pop into my nightmares I might encounter said room to restore my health. Apparently you can take inspo from your dreams, which will let you craft special gifts for your mates. In turn, they'll give you cool upgrades. I'm yet to make a friend, but I'm definitely up for exploring its cosy restaurants and libraries in search of pals.

Cassidy's story also intrigues me. It feels like there's some heart-wrenching stuff that's fuelling her nightmares and I'm all for offloading this information to confidantes in a warm, relaxed environment. I know it's serious stuff because she held up a family photo in the first two minutes and it did a slow zoom.

But let's get down to business: the business of bashing your nightmares in. First thoughts, Dreamscaper is a fun startup company with big potential. No seriously, there's a lot of good here. Specifically a dodge-roll which makes evading enemy swings very satisfying. You can fire bows and arrows, drop bombs, and wield a variety of weapons. Heck, I found these boxing gloves in a treasure room the other night which had some proper heft to them, and a firework I could ping off to light up enemies. Later, my roll coated enemies in water which slowed them down sufficiently enough that I could carve them up easily with my new spinny knife.

While I wouldn't say Dreamscaper's combat is as fluid as Hades, it's still far from viscous. Plus, its music makes up for anything and everything. Each area is backed by this sweeping orchestral number that's so powerful, I swear I welled up out of nowhere. I'm partial to an anime every now and again and some of these tracks would've perfect for those emotional scenes where a boy asks a girl out for a coffee in cherry blossom season and the girl turns around and says yes as petals fall from the sky and - breathe.

Hey, I think Dreamscaper is decent. Especially if you've exhausted something like Hades and need a game that balances smashing baddies with an emotional tale. It's on Steam and the Epic Games Store if you want to give it a go.

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About the Author
Ed Thorn avatar

Ed Thorn

Reviews Editor

When Ed's not cracking thugs with bicycles in Yakuza, he's likely swinging a badminton racket in real life. Any genre goes, but he's very into shooters and likes a weighty gun, particularly if they have a chainsaw attached to them. Adores orange and mango squash, unsure about olives.