DreamCell: Lost in Nightmares First Look

DreamCell: Lost in Nightmares is a 2D action twin-stick rogue-like that landed on my desk today. I have been hooked on the rogue-like/lite genre quite a bit lately. You may want to navigate to my YouTube channel for proof with the video below. Despite that, games like DreamCell: Lost in Nightmares give enough content to chew on for a regular day’s gaming. The game is currently in a demo stage, scheduled for release on November 25 2022 on Steam. It’s a challenging but ultimately amusing rogue-like that I could see evoking repeatable gameplay. It has challenging but anticipated enemies, and perhaps not just with the weapons available but also a large cast of unlockable and playable main characters with different abilities.

Platform: PC

The developers are Blockcode Games from Croatia. Thank you to them for letting me know about their game.

Features and Notes of DreamCell: Lost in Nightmares

Surprisingly, this modest rogue-like has a whole bunch of interesting features to separate it from some of the other 2D bombardings of your average intro dev projects out there–those are fine too though, guys. There are 50 unique enemies, procedurally generated levels, a whole host of weapons as I mentioned above, character customization, and boss fights.

Oh, and the macabre circus soundtrack is quite perfect as well.

Cool Things About DreamCell: Lost in Nightmares

This game does two things very excellently. One, it evokes the creepiness of games from previous indie eras like World of Goo and the sepia-toned aesthetic of an otherworldly cartoon. Second, it’s kinda cute in a way. In fact, it’s quite tasteful, and despite what I anticipated, this game is actually super polished!

Other Thoughts

If you’re interested in checking out DreamCell: Lost in Nightmares, head to the Steam link below. Last we verified, there is a demo up before the release! If you enjoyed this article, please come back again and subscribe to us on YouTube to show your support.

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza, see you in the next article.

Dogurai – Game Boy Dog Samurai (Demo Review)

Dogurai by HungryBear is a Game Boy-style indie Metroidvania. I know about it through, a couple of co-creators from Indie Game Collective. Thank you, Jaunty Adventures and Pursuing Pixels. Their taste is superb, as this turned out to be an exciting game. I’ve covered very few Game Boy titles here, aside from Lasagna Boy and… actually, that might be it. It’s a great genre if you want to get into indies. In summary, the designs are aligned with the palette and rendering of old-school Game Boy games. This one in particular is a nice platformer/Metroidvania that takes you through some moderately challenging levels. There are ruffian henchmen, shielded hulks, and old-school SMB 3-style bosses. In my video, I had to jump around like more of a ninja to obliterate the first boss.

Let’s Play More Games Like Dogurai

Originally, Dogurai was a Jam project, conceptualized in a small amount of time for a slew of other titles. Currently, Dogurai is polished and crisp. Also, you can see this on the store pages but Dogurai doesn’t just take place in the verdant halls of classic Gameboy color. You can adjust it and inevitably shall end up at a variety of multi-colored areas like deserts and factories–aside from the initial sewer area.

If you want to get a sample of the gameplay, I recommend the demo, which I played, on the ItchIO page. I don’t know all the credentials or backstory, but I suspect it has a lasting impression on players. Side note: I did find that mastering the controls is an important aspect of Dogurai. I ended up mapping my Xbox controller to a keyboard binding map. This made it a lot easier. If you often use a controller, it’s easy to rebind the keys.

Features

  • Classic pixel graphics
  • Game Boy style concept
  • Move with arrow keys, z to jump, x to attack
  • Monochrome color adjustment
  • PC Game (ItchIO or Steam)
  • Challenging platform levels
  • Chiptune soundtrack

Sword Slice

I have the link below to the game and make sure to check out the video above where I completed the first level.

Thank you for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you enjoy this kind of thing, then please have a look around my website, because there is plenty to see and I think you’re going to enjoy it.

Moonlighter – Do a Run for Treasure and Then Sell It

The game Moonlighter is a combination rogue-lite dungeon-crawler mixed with trade simulation and story-rich RPG elements. This timeless, beautifully rendered pixel top-down was released by Digital Sun in 2018, and is available on most platforms such as PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and even mobile.

Moonlighter is a story about hopeful adventurer Will, a shopkeeper in the small commercial town of Rynoka. Although his family’s shop offers stability and prosperity, it is sustained by the materials found deep in dungeons accessed through gates outside the village. Every night after the shop closes, Will skulks into the darkness to descend into the dungeons before teleporting back with a satchel of goods and the magical necklace that allows him to do so. The more he adventures though, the more he wants to pursue the question of what the dungeons and gates are exactly. When he uncovers a map of the interconnecting nature of the five gates, an adventure begins.

Getting Started in Moonlighter

There are a few things surely endearing to Moonlighter. The top-down pixel graphics are highly detailed and stylized, leading to an atmospheric experience. The game is cozy and interactive. Aside from dungeons, and your shop, there is a whole town that can be explored, and characters with meaningful interaction scattered night and day through the streets. The characters are natural and expressive, although the main character does not speak much. And though the dungeons offer re-generating challenges, they are fluid and add choices that matter to the other elements in the game. Such your experience might be, say discovering a book about Golems hidden in a pit just happened to fall into.
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Traditionally, rogue-lites or re-generating RPGs have a hook of sorts. The hook in Moonlighter is the combination of a dungeon crawler with a shopkeeping sim. Yet, neither are depreciative of the other element, leading to some pretty fulfilling holistic in-game commerce motivation. The complexity of the game’s shopkeeping interface allows you to gather and merchandise according to information provided by experimentation and exploration. Customers are real customers, and they even offer expression-filled thought bubbles as they react to your pricing–either a smile or a frown, which lets you know to change the price accordingly or leave it how it is. Record-keeping allows automatic storage of past pricing from materials gathered while moonlighting in the dungeons.

Comparative Games

You may remember a Nintendo game from the 90’s called Earthbound, also known as Mother. Earthbound has similarities to Moonlighter, for one stylistically, though some have compared Moonlighter more to the game Stardew Valley, which I agree with–when not slaying golems that is. Moonlighter is neatly packaged and presented, but it is by no means simple. With the incentive to do so, time can be continuously deluged into shopkeeping, crafting, gaining companions, collecting epic loot, or even getting to know neighbors. It’s sort of like a single-player, indie, MMO in that way–also a great source of replayability and nuanced gameplay.

Features of Moonlighter

Here are some top features of the world of Moonlighter

  • Dungeon-crawling
  • Combat and Swordplay
  • Shopkeeping Trade-Sim
  • Character Interaction
  • Crafting Armor and Enchantments
  • Collecting Loot and Selling it
  • Gaining Companions
  • Achievements
  • Story-Progression

My Take

This game is from 2018. Quality doesn’t seem to have diminished in Moonlighter. The detailed pixel art graphics are phenomenal in Moonlighter. It’s always encouraging in games to have a way to either start over and or just go back somewhere safe. Some call it lazy, I call it cozy.

The trade simulation element sof this game are amazing. How do they make customers gauge the value of a random mob junk in my shop. How? Coding I guess, but it is super immersive. Trade-sims are the best way to experiment with an economy, without actually using money.

It’s sort of stunning to me that Digital Sun has not released or projected any new games since the release of Moonlighter. There is certainly no absence of talent or innovation. Hard to say though. Either way, I applaud them for creating this really neat game with the bold notion of seeing the connection between a cozy trade-sim idea and a fun pixel art dungeon-crawler. It has endless replay value, although a DLC whenever or new release could be alot of fun too. Great to see such a humble production leave a bright legacy amongst indie fans, and a great example for devs to come.

Hold Down A to Close the Review

That’s what I have for you on Moonlighter. Just kinda plucked this one out of a stack, knowing that it was well praised, but in need of some research. If you would like to purchase this game, I have provided a link below that will supports new content.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. We have lots to come, and lots to share already, so have a look around, and please come back!

City of Shattered Light – Review

From the author, Claire Winn, is a debut young adult science fiction novel that teeters on a megalopolis moon colony with a cast of fierce–and glittery–femme Fatales, their fierce cohorts, and an action-packed ride of cybernetic combat mayhem. It’s got everything you need in a cyberpunk novel really, especially for this audience. This is City of Shattered Light. And still, the main characters are simultaneously relatable yet may be out of their league young folks who are exceedingly clever and capable of taking down any enemy turned foe with teamwork.

I have a feeling this book will catch the attention of my readers on-premise and also this undeniably cool, colorful cover illustration on this title. Forewarning, as much as anybody will love Riven’s crazy dual revolvers vs. cybernetic implants going face to face, there’s a storyline about trust.

Purple, Pink, Black, Blue–City of Shattered Light is A Dystopic Paradise

“Riven Hawthorne could never turn down a challenge. As she climbed the rusted ladder, the city whispered of violence–she tasted it in the slow, sinuous thud-thud of a muffled bass rhythm. In the blare of distant sirens, in the satisfying snick as she loaded her revolvers’ cylinders…”

Author: Winn, Claire. Title: City of Shattered Light. Page 1, Chapter 1: “Deadeye”

I have talked a lot about cyberpunk on this site, as a literary genre and even a game genre. Briefly described, cyberpunk is a genre of storytelling that involves dystopic futures that stretch the realities of the present. Usually in the tradition of a story arc involving a rough-around-the-edges anti-hero rising from stagnation, maybe even anonymity, to defeat a greedy–and powerful–corporation. That’s essentially what’s going on here, with the addition of several contributing characters and featuring the essential career criminal, Riven Hawthorne, and the corporate heiress Asa Almeida. The two, down on their luck, are just in their teens and form an unlikely alliance that unfortunately starts off on a bad note. The story is no stranger to deception, dilemmas, and life-or-death importance.

I’ve always loved reading cyberpunk. Neuromancer by Gibson in the 80s. Snow Crash. You know, the usual line-up. It is a little funny, actually, I noticed some similar things between City of Shattered Light and Neuromancer. Alright, I guess it’s pretty likely that there are similarities since they are the same genre. The colorful colonized paradises and a super powerful family are warped by a mix of family and unethical business operations. I felt ready for the similarities and enjoyed the variation in their individual contexts.

The Genre, The Characters in City of Shattered Light

City of Shattered Light makes me feel that cyberpunk plus sci-fi have major potential in the YA market. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve read a lot of YA fiction, but I have been steadily aware of its presence and I think it’s pretty cool, even as I slowly move out of the primary market, there aren’t any rules though. Actually, I don’t even see any problem with it. YA books are cool because they are often kind of easy to read and full of assuredly popular themes.

Nothing is too overdone and nothing is undercooked in this book. Readers should not be intimidated, and those wanting a thought-out plot that is well-carried by the vibrant and–I’m just going to say it–sensual (occasionally) interactions of these characters, this book will serve you well. It is not necessarily inappropriate or anything, aside from the violence, which is all kind of superficial, but it’s in there.

I found this book under the highlight of diverse relationships as a genre in the City of Shattered Light. I totally apologize if that seems a weird way to phrase it. The truth, however, is that a romantic relationship, while part of the story, is not the story as, say, a romance story would be. I confirmed most of this on Goodreads and am confirming it after a full read-through. That said, I rather enjoyed the romantic moments that take place in the book. They were tasteful and added to the characters’ depth. Decide for yourself.

“Boomslang”

These aren’t spoilers, just a recap of the summary on the back of the book.

The main plot involves Asa’s dangerous and incredibly rich father who has re-uploaded her sister’s mind into an experimental brain as a corporate experiment. Asa runs away on a transport ship and tries to save her sister–somehow. She becomes involved with a crew of career criminals in a moon colony city full of shady characters who are on the edge of being turned into an example after a job goes wrong. When they meet Asa, it seems that they might just be able to use that to their advantage.

Boomslang is Riven’s ship’s name, and definitely, a character mentioned along with the A.I.’s, weapons, and all sorts of crazy semi-sentient stuff out there. There’s also a sentient virus of some kind on the loose that is essential to the plot. The more you read, the more that will know. I’m approving every gimmick this book uttered and saying thank you!

Lastly, I was totally hooked on the compelling synopsis and brilliant book cover. It is super fun. The revolver seemed kinda alarming at first, but it caught my eye, and I see now that it’s not at all out of place. It’s also available in ebook format now, like most books, which is how I read it. It was perfectly well-formatted, so if you need to read it that way, go ahead! I found it on Google Play, but I know it is elsewhere as well.

Final Thoughts

And with that awkward technical opinion, I’ll leave it there. Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I want to write about so many things, and this is where I do it. Please have a look around, if you like games, I have written about quite a few. I’ll be writing about books, comics, movies, and all sorts of stuff soon–plus new games–and I encourage you to please come back again!

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about this title, you can find more at the author’s, Claire Winn’s, website: https://clairewinn.com. The beautiful book cover is illustrated by Jake Slavik.

Onirism – A Colorful Dream World Review

“Onirism” is a good example of another game where French indie dev teams are making games potent in fun and translates to a wide audience. This goes beyond exaggeration and is an interesting subject to me, but one which I don’t know a lot about. Regardless, I committed to this game, so I’ll take you through a brief but satisfactory run down of the world of Onirism. Additionally, the game recently received a major update and has a ton of new content. Let’s go!!

By the way, thank you so much to Indie Game Collective and the developers at Crimson Tales.

Gameplay And Design in Onirism

I have to admit, that Onirism is a pretty darn fun game. I mean, really fun. It has everything I’d want in terms of colorful environments. The mobs are really fun and creative. And the difficulty levels available are pretty inclusive. I had to do some exploration before I could figure out what exactly was going on though, and I stopped around the time I realized I had no idea where the gate key was and what I was supposed to do with it. This is a mere confession of wanting to get my impressions going though, the game moves you along quite nicely!

And you can’t beat warm glowing crystals and treasures lying around just about everywhere. It’s like a jungle full of Christmas!

Additionally, this game has some superb graphics quality. And if you need to adjust, the low graphic settings also look really, really nice.

How Far Will The Onirism-type Genre Go?

I’ve sort of noticed that people aren’t making games like this as much as they used to. Obviously, it takes a lot of resources to create a game with this much detail and environment/character art consistency. It sort of reminds me of the game A Hat in Time and some other youthful games floating around Steam. I think the Onirism devs are on a mission to create something which people can really get hooked on.

This game is incredibly family-friendly and that market is fluctuating regularly. This game exudes joy that any person could probably enjoy though. It feels almost suspicious that it is what it is to be honest.

It’s clear to me from the website and screenshots from Crimson Tales that there is a lot more to visit.

The game now boasts a robust multiplayer system too. I did not test it because multiplayer throws me into a tizzy usually, but based on the screens, this is a great game to go head to head with other dreamers using some colorful components.

If I was immersed in a world, an experience, as colorful and deep as this game, in the wild, I’d definitely be convinced to discover everything. The game emulates a dreamworld, by being… a dreamworld. It is a place of imagination, and full of scenarios that test you to see what you’re made of, no matter who you are.

Final Word

That’s it for today’s highlight. I wasn’t sure if I’d been overloaded too much to be concise, it’s a pretty cool game and I recommend it. I have included a Steam link below if you want to try it yourself.

In the meantime, thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you like what you read here, please have a look around, and please come back again. Until next time!

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

For an elegantly and possibly metaphysically imagined game, try Ori and the Will of the Wisps. You’ll play as creatures that live in the purple glow of a shadowed forest. With open-armed playstyle integration, you’ll be able to leap and hop through levels without too much trouble worrying about foes or obstacles. There are some bad guys, but you won’t be straight into tooth-and-nail combat.

Believe me, I drop games I don’t want to review like peanut shells in a saloon.

Ori: What’s it About

There is another game called Ori and the Blind Forest that preceded Will of the Wisps which involves similar characters and similar environments. Although I am intrigued to investigate that game, I think there is a whole lot of content in this game that perfectly compliments any other works. It’s like watching Lord of the Rings before you saw The Hobbit. If you know what I mean. I know that they look similar and have similar characters. Oh, and it has a really heartwarming and adventurous story like Will of the Wisps, but that’s all I know.

reading Lord of the Rings before you saw The Hobbit. If you know what I mean. I know that they look similar and have similar characters. Oh, and it has a really heartwarming and adventurous story like Will of the Wisps, but that’s all I know.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Screen Capture
Ori and the Will of the Wisps Screen Capture

Gameplay of Ori

There is a particularly lengthy story intro at the beginning of this game that I had no impatience watching, it was very interesting and fun to see what I was in for here. The story mixes with I guess was sort of a tutorial as some games do. I have led me on a quest involving an owl named Hu raised by woodlands spirits that could not fly. Many heartwarming moments unfold into Hu’s wing repair with a special feather, and things take off, literally! This is where the gameplay really starts.

This is a platform-side scroller. You play a spirit, creature, or both named Ori. Ori is the one that this story is about, although there are other characters.

I don’t know if I would call it a puzzle quest, because although I spent quite a bit of time acquiring “keystones” or a magic gate, most of the action was pretty physical. Running, jumping, climbing, that sort of thing. I guess there’s probably flying too, but it seems to get taken away rather soon. Lots of creative levels here, I imagine that’s a standard theme here. I really enjoy climbing moss in the game because it’s a very vivid sensory experience to imagine.

There is some action in the game. It’s not really violent. You may be forced to fend off weird little bug things and I had to outrun a vicious, kind of scary, wolf. It’s not a combat game per se, but there are things that go bump in the night in Ori and the Will of Wisps.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Screen Capture

Final Thoughts

Everything in this game looks pretty much perfect. It is top-of-the-line in that regard. I have no doubts that its original game was just as colorful and imaginative. I have to admit, however, because of the amazing graphics it might task your graphics card if its dated or lower benchmark. You might notice how good it still looks on low graphic settings though.

I got a great deal on this game on Steam. It seems to go on sale every once in a while at some super cheap price, I waited for it and grabbed it when I saw a sale. You can acquire Blind Forest for a very favorable price usually, an yeah I probably will do that.

I’m glad because I had kept hearing about this game but it was slightly out of my range for a game I knew nothing about. It’s nice to finally know. And now I know, it’s a premium game worth every penny. If you want an all-around “good” game. You know, hey I need to spend money now to feel good, this is the one. I can’t really think of any good reason not to play this game, so, yeah, get it!

This is Dave Pizza. Check out more games at MrDavePizza.com and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.