Dreamscaper’s storyline is centered around a young woman, Cassidy, struggling with repressive feelings of fear, isolation and loss among other things. Cassidy’s psychological journey is split between two modes of gameplay. When she is “asleep”, you enter her subconscious state tackling her nightmares (in the form of enemies to battle), unlock forgotten memories and acquire items to enhance her abilities. While Cassidy is awake, you are in non-combat, interacting with her living space, befriending neighborhood NPCs and learning about her passions that tie into the storyline.
This is the first Roguelite genre that I ever played. It encompasses randomized dungeon crawls where a final monster awaits to battle while also employing a permadeath mechanic if you fail. You start the dungeon dream cycle over if you die but still retain items, collections and achievements from previous runs. The reviews are mixed as far as difficulty is concerned. I didn’t seem to quite grasp what I needed to do until two hours in playing the game. There are mechanic patterns for enemies that need to be learned and executed correctly in order to complete the dungeons.
I was compelled to play Dreamscaper due to the heavy psychological story behind it. However, the repetitiveness of starting over each time upon failing the final boss mechanics made it a bit stressful to keep up with the complexity of the story. Nearly two hours in, I was exhausted and lost track of what I learned about Cassidy, herself. Those familiar with the Roguelike and Roguelite genres will probably zap through this game. If you’re not good with pattern or puzzle mechanics, you’ll probably be in for a good struggle in the beginning.