Dreamscape is a lot like Alice in Wonderland, in its own way. You’ve got a snide talking cat, a viking rat who may be as close as you get to the mouse at the Mad Hatters table and you even have a talking flower to boot. With the main character feeling pretty lost and confused about the worlds in which she travels, I couldn’t ignore the similarity. The premise of Aldorlea‘s Dreamscape is that Erin’s boyfriend has disappeared into the land of dreams, but not before he gave her a device to enter others dreams. With this device you must find your boyfriend and return back to the real world, until then on with the fanciful adventure.
Dreamscape plays pretty much like any 16Bit style RPG does. As you play you gather more team members each with there own unique abilities and preferred weapons and equipment. Although this isn’t a merry band of Humans, Elves and Dwarfs off to save the world. Nope it is just Erin and a strange collection of people/beings you meet in the dream worlds. You will jump into the dreams of people you meet and can exit the way you came in or jump into the dream of another person you meet or person within your party. This allows a lot of back and forth into different landscapes, something you will need to do to advance farther in certain realms. You won’t be worrying about random monsters though, they appear on the screen for you to avoid or confront depending on you.
An interesting aspect that adds some difficulty to the game is the lack of a healing item inventory. Within the dreams you will find food of all sorts that will heal your party. Certain characters more than others depending on the food type. The true kicker is once you pick it up it is used immediately and removed from the map. So you need to use them sparingly and make sure it is the right item for the character needing healed most. There is a bit of a safety net as far as healing goes. You can use a fairy that appears near where you start, at a cost. If she heals your party the dreamworlds will react and make the game more difficult. So using her can be more headache than help.
The scenery is great, one minute your in Egypt’s desert then the next minute you could be in London at night while it rains, or a mouse cave full of cheese. All this adds to not only the atmosphere, but the freedom of the game. Between the cute jokes, character banter and ever shifting atmosphere things always feel fresh and interesting. The story may seem to fade out at points, but your still roped in to seeing what the next dreamscape will be like or who/what will be the next character or danger you’ll face.
This RPG may seem a little bit too cute for some, but that doesn’t make it easy. Even if you put it on the easier modes. With tons playtime hours of adventuring it’s also not your quick indie RPG romp. You’ll be setting aside a fair amount of time to uncover the mystery of the dreamscape and what your boyfriend was so afraid of.
I never felt to lost in any particular dungeon, nor did I find it impossibly complex to advance through things. I give this RPG a 4 out of 5 for the interesting story and area layout, not to mention the diverse worlds you enter as well as it’s old school game play, and the hours of playtime you will get out of it.