Dreamscaper throws you again and again into a nightmare you need to fight through to wake up.
It tells the story of a faceless creepy girl named Cassidy, who falls into a nightmare every time she goes to sleep. But unlike regular nightmares, here she gets weapons and magic to fight back.
Dreamscaper is a roguelite dungeon-crawler where the rooms and weapons change with every run. Every time the girl dies in the dungeon, she wakes up in her bed and can dive back to a new map with new weapons.
The combat is fun and straightforward hack-and-slash. I had a sword, a maul, and martial arts skills, but the fighting mechanics are always the same. It’s pretty awesome to see different takes on the same mechanics, though. I did notice that the maul was slower than the sword, but I couldn’t tell how much damage I was doing damage since enemies have no life bar. Apart from weapons, there is a magic that slows time and bombs that can be thrown on enemies.
Dreamscaper uses the mouse for certain game mechanics, which I liked and hated at the same time. It’s handy when you need to point and click on the target to hit it or deflect an incoming attack. However, you must be extremely accurate, or Cassidy might strike at thin air in the opposite direction. It happened to me more than I am willing to admit. Maybe it just takes practice, or perhaps it should be refined, but it sure takes time to get used to and make the best of it.
The dungeon may look like an open world, but it isn’t, though it still looks beautiful. It took me a moment to realize I’m actually in a dungeon since every tile seems so big and alive with monsters and puzzles. The point of view gives a strategic aspect to the game so you can skip from one enemy to another, and deal with the puzzles.
Sand is both the currency and your mana. You can use it to buy weapon upgrades or to deal more damage to your opponents. But if you die, you wake up and lose all your Sand. Nothing is carried over to the next dream.
When Cassidy wakes up, you’re supposed to have some time to help her gain new powers to take into her dreams, but I couldn’t understand that mechanics…
If you are looking for an action game with elegant fighting mechanics and a weird story, Dreamscaper could be the game for you. Especially if, like me, you love movies like Groundhog Day where you live the same day (or dream) over and over but get to try different things each time.