E3 2021 Preview – Dreamscaper
Roguelikes/lites have become increasingly popular in the past few years, with titles like Hades even achieving the rare 10/10 for this site. They’re fun, fast-paced, action-packed romps that typically tend to draw the more seasoned gamers. However, every once in a while one will come along that shakes up the formula a bit and offers more than just proceedurally generated killing sprees. Such is the case with Afterburner Studios‘ Dreamscaper.
Similar to Hades (which is its closest point of comparison), Dreamscaper is a roguelite, with an overarching story that continues even after you fail a run. This was actually one of the things that I loved most about Hades, so it’s great to see another game follow in those footsteps.
That’s not to say that Dreamscaper is a Hades clone though. While they do share similarities in terms of a larger story and fluid combat, Dreamscaper has its own distinct identity. In this game you play as Cassidy, a woman who is suffering from some mental health issues after moving to a new town. She’ll have to forge new friendships and bonds in the waking world in order to make her stronger against her nightmares in the dream world.
Dreamscaper is broken up into two different types of gameplay. Whenever Cassidy is in the dream world, that’s when you’ll engage in combat. The combat is fluid, flashy, and responsive. Along the way you’ll also be able to find different weapons and items that will increase your stats and give you various perks. Just like in any roguelike/lite, these disappear as you as your run ends.
The game shifts completely whenever Cassidy is in the waking world. When in the real world, more of the story will unfold, she’ll be able to slowly explore more of the area around her, and she can make new friends. This is also where Cassidy can give herself permanent upgrades. There’s a lot to explore and uncover in both worlds, which gives the game more depth than just a mindless hack ‘n’ slash.
Aside from the incredibly fun gameplay, the art style and sound design are both excellent too. Dreamscaper pulls off the whole feeling of being trapped in a dream perfectly, with some gorgeous environments and an outstanding soundtrack. The real world sections have their own distinct look as well, which further sells the notion of being in two different realities.
Of all of the demos I’ve played this E3, Dreamscaper is one of the titles I’m most excited for. It takes the ideas from other successful roguelites and puts its own unique spin on it. Everything from the responsive combat, to the gorgeous visuals and soundtrack, to the intriguing story makes Dreamscaper a game worth looking into.
Dreamscaper will be available for purchase on August 12th for PC and Switch.