Every night is a new dream, even if it doesn’t stick around in memory. Every night is a new fight against the subconscious, different and yet familiar. It’s the perfect setting for a roguelike action adventure, with death being a literal wake-up call to start the day over and do better. Dreamscaper wanders through the sleeping brain of Cassidy, a young woman trapped in a depression trying to fight her way out, wrestling nightly with her emotions and rebuilding human contact during the day. Her victories in dreams give the resources to handle people while interactions with others make her more powerful in her mindscape, but it’s going to take a whole lot of combat to get back to the version of herself Cassidy wants to be.
While it may sound a little character-focused, Dreamscaper has a demo that shows it to be a combat-oriented roguelike first and foremost, with a fighting engine that leaves a good amount of room for improvisation and plenty of tools to beat up the demons of the mind. There are a variety of weapons to turn up, changing combat styles and with stat modifiers for all, plus ranged attacks, handy dodge roll, a shield for blocking and parrying, plus very limited magic. Each attack comes with a moment where Cassidy flashes white, indicating the best time to chain into the next move for a more powerful hit. Sorting out the timing for the different weapons requires paying attention, but you can still string together a good set of moves even without, clearing room after room until the end-of-level boss inevitably kills you. At which point Cassidy wakes up and can leave her apartment for a short while, chatting with the people she meets and learning their stories as they eventually become friends.
After a successful Kickstarter last August Dreamscaper released a demo in April, and it’s available to all on Steam right now. With the game getting ever close to release it’s also time for an announcement trailer, although the game seems pretty well announced already between the Kickstarter and demo. Still, it’s fifty seconds of Intriguing while the demo is several hours of entertainment, so absolutely worth being aware of, even if Cassidy does look like a descendant of the heroes of The Granstream Saga.