It's not just unusual circumstances or stressful conditions that can cause vivid dreams, as we find out through the heroine of action adventure Dreamscaper: Prologue.
Bridging dreams and everyday life, Dreamscaper: Prologue is a free taster for a full game that's approaching a mid-2020 release.
Play is spread between the everyday world, in which a young woman called Cassidy begins to form a friendship with the people she meets, and her lucid dream life, in which she confronts the inky wraiths that represent some of her most negative emotions.
Yet those dreams, whose random layouts rearrange familiar and fantastical settings, contain not just combat arenas and puzzle-solving areas, but also items unlocked by waking life activities.
Tentative conversations and thoughtful gifts help strengthen social bonds, as strangers become acquaintances and acquaintances become friends.
Likewise, the understanding gained from dreams can give Cassidy better insight in the day-to-day, helping to develop a virtuous circle.
The small team at Afterburner Studios wanted to make Dreamscaper a personal project, after having worked on big titles like Rise Of The Tomb Raider, FarmVille 2 and the NBA 2K franchise, and a receptive fanbase doubled the studio's crowdfunding target in response to a 2018 Kickstarter campaign.
For the part of its audience already familiar with video gaming, Afterburner has been presenting "Dreamscaper" as a combination of influences from several genre greats: action game God Of War, plus the random generation and replayability of Binding Of Isaac and Dead Cells.
Weapons range from finger funs and spectral yo-yos to lightsabers and warhammers. How about banishing stress with one of those?
Away from the action, though, being able to move around Cassidy's city adds a novel persistent element and a sense of personal development.
Failed runs through the dream world are still valuable, helping Cassidy as she explores a new neighbourhood and gets to know the local coffee shop, bar and bookshop.
Though Dreamscaper: Prologue is being released on Windows PCs, response to that funding drive ensured that the full "Dreamscaper" release will also make its way to Nintendo Switch in 2020 as well.
Dreamscaper: Prologue is available through Steam from April 8. – AFP Relaxnews
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