If dungeon-crawling action RPG roguelikes are your cup of tea then boy oh boy, do I have a lovely game for you! Here's Dreamscaper.
Back in 2012, I played a PlayStation Vita game that you may have heard of; Silent Hill: Book of Memories. I enjoyed it quite a lot even though most folks did not but why am I bringing this up? Well, as I explored Dreamscaper's distinct room-based dungeons, I was consistently reminded of that underrated gem. That being said, I actually think Dreamscaper is the superior of the 2 games due to its pitch-perfect tone that stretches across its mysterious visuals, striking orchestral score, and tight gameplay that's full of variety.
With that out of the way, you play Dreamscaper as Cassidy who's dealing with some nightmare issues so you must navigate the devilish dream dungeons while fending off enemies, gathering gear, and hopefully progressing further and further. When you bite the dust, you wake up and can then go to a handful of locations within the city of Redhaven. In each locale, you can daydream in order to spend earned currencies on permanent upgrades and unlockables; many of which are great like being able to generate new rooms types.
The gameplay loop of sleeping to conquer dungeons while slaying bosses that resemble Cassidy's insecurities and waking up to form relationships while powering-up is executed wonderfully. Whether you're discovering a new permanent upgrade or a powerful temporary weapon, it's extremely rewarding stuff. For some examples, you may come across an accessory that doubles your earned currency, the ability to leave fire trails whenever you dodge, and a special attack that materializes a giant frying pan. There's a lot to discover.
Dreamscaper's combat is intuitive and quite satisfying for the most part. Juggling between executing light and heavy attacks, dodges, ranged attacks, and a couple of abilities is rather fun, especially after eventually discovering a whole arsenal of gear that fits your play style. With that being said, fighting regular enemies does feel a bit disconnected at times. For starters, you can easily stun-lock most enemies so they're only ever a threat when other foes are around. Thankfully, the boss fights are challenging and inventive.
I thoroughly appreciated Dreamscaper's premise and find that it combines an introspective and subtly-told narrative with its roguelike dungeon-crawling to create a beautiful yet satisfying experience. Each of the 6 environments is unique and they feature a spot-on sense of atmosphere through their unwaveringly eerie yet not-quite-scary tones. However, I wish that there were more areas to explore because once you've mastered them all, it's not as rewarding to play through everything yet again just to unlock additional things.
There are many excellent indie games recently and you can definitely add Dreamscaper to the list. With its pitch-perfect game world, highly rewarding gameplay loop, imaginative premise, and personal boss fights; you'll regret sleeping on this one.
- + Very rewarding gameplay loop with many clever upgrades, weapons, and items
- + Unconventional and imaginative premise
- + Beautiful music and environments
- - Combat isn't as visceral as it could be
- - Could use additional levels