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.

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!

Dark Dragonkin: Team RPG (Demo) Impressions

Dark Dragonkin is an indie dev project from Twintertainment that is a top-down pixelized fantasy RPG/dungeon-crawler. Players control multiple characters in a group to make them work together to defeat enemies and advance the story. This game is still deep in the dev process with a potential audience of RPG fans and general indie gamers. It feels very attended to as a solo dev project though, and the potential to scale abilities and environments into a fully fleshed world is entirely real. So, I sat down with Dark Dragonkin and played through the first level. I recommend if you test the demo for this you realize how far the developers have come in working on basic mechanics and themes. I thought it was pretty cool, so let’s talk about it.

From Twintertainment: “The prince has been kidnapped! Your party has been chosen to rescue him. You must journey through the realms of the dragonkin each more difficult than the last. There is a realm of fire, ice, lightning, and stone plus more! The dragonkin are quite formidable; you must use each member’s skill strategically to defeat the Dragon Kin King and save the price.

This demo showcase is made possible through collaboration between Indie Game Collective and Twintertainment. Thank you.

Go To Your Room, Dungeon Crawling in Dark Dragonkin

The key to this showcase is going to mostly be what I relay from the developer. I started off in a stone dungeon with a variety of walls and scattered mobs with my cohorts. It is definitely an old-school style design that has a charm. Much of the movement, feels made to accommodate the pixel art form heroes and that is not wrong. Characters work together. Each character is controlled separately like Lost Vikings if you are familiar with that concept. One character goes to one area, then another character moves in to bash, cast, open, etc. The very first one involves jumping a gap while another character transforms into a fairy to access a button. A mob comes out and a brief fight moves the story forward.

Each character’s race/class (talking RPG stuff here) determines what part of the process they are capable of. In the first dungeon area I tested, it was clearly announced what to do. After this process, I tested out some of the other combat abilities which are your standard fare of shield blocking and range attack, including magic spells. I played this all on my DS4 controller, so I was pretty amazed at how easy it was. Button tooltips for the abilities were listed in controller form (A, B, X, Y LT RT) which was pretty good actually, and I didn’t have much trouble. It might take practice to perfect the timing though, but it is entirely playable.

Features

  • You control each character separately.
  • Each character has their own unique skills to get past obstacles.
  • Every Level is like an old-school RPG puzzle.
  • Even the enemies are puzzles of how to avoid or destroy them.
  • You must figure out how to gather the party at the exit portal to advance.
  • Powerful bosses are a challenging puzzle to defeat to gain passage through their realm.

And more from Steam on the character abilities and skills:

  • Rose: The tank of the party. By far the most durable. She has more health and takes less damage than the others. When using her shield she becomes nearly invincible. When charging forward she can stun enemies and move heavy objects.
  • Dante: He is melee DPS. He can dispatch most enemies when he can attack from behind. Stealth is his ally. He also specializes in jumping great distances to avoid obstacles and get in the right position for the kill.
  • Nova: He is a ranged caster. He can dispatch many foes with a fireball at range. He also can dispel magical wards as they descend into the depths of the dungeon.
  • Evelina: No party is complete without a healer. If a party member falls to the dangers of the dungeon, no worries because Evelina can bring them back. She can also change into a fairy to sneak through all the tiny cracks in the dungeon.

Here be Dragons

One great thing about solo dev titles is the ability to create mechanics that are cohesive visually yet feel like someone is taking the extra time to smooth out a janky slip or make sure you know how to play the game. That’s a good way to think about Dark Dragonkin. If you have half a minute, try out the demo, why not? Make sure to wishlist on Steam too if you want to support it.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. And thank you to Indie Game Collective, especially ParaDyme, for helping make this possible. There is so much to see here, so please have a look around! And be sure to come back!

Going Under: Internships are Heck

Going Under: The stylistic, colorful, satirical beat ’em up from Aggrocrab Games. Here we go again. I am officially hooked on Going Under. Snagging it quickly on release day, I have some observations on what this is all about, and I like it. Mainly that it looks great and is very tongue-in-cheek hilarious in addressing some very thematic cultural themes in start-up businesses.

What the fizz’ is it?

So what is this game? Jackie is an intern for a Pacific Northwest soft drink startup, Fizzle, that works above a basement of dungeons. The dungeons are full of adversarial cute monsters. So, is it supposed to be scary? Not really, in my opinion. For me, the hack-and-slash gameplay is appropriate, because it highlights how disposable the stereotypes of the fast-and-loose business world really are, which adds up to some pretty great satire. It even gets a bit silly with the countless weapon options ranging from bones to ping pong paddles and weird cartoony weapons that lend themselves to the situation.

Did I mention that this game is absolutely awesome stylistically? I’ve never seen anything like it before, but it just makes so much sense. It definitely takes advantage of how startups tend to obsess on flat graphic websites near ad nauseum. The music is really great too. Half the time that’s enough for me, there are some wonderful components to this excellent game.

Epic jesting in Going Under

If you live in a big city, you are familiar with these types of companies, and there will be some serious humor to pick up on straight away. Like the second basement filled with re-animated skeletons guarding a bunch of cryptocurrency server racks. Also, the bosses, as in final level bosses, are actually supervisor bosses! If that’s not wit, I don’t know what is. And don’t worry, I was scared witless when I jumped in the tube slide from the office there, but overall this game is pretty chill. Actually, I don’t think there is anything in this game that I’d call scary.

I like shiny things

I haven’t spent a whole bunch of hours conquering all the basement levels. The fact that I can go from borderline skepticism to full-on enthrallment with this says to me there’s something here. I’ve been exploring more and more this stylistic movement which I say is “flat design.” Going Under gets to mix together with other tags like colorful, low poly, cartoonish, etc.

Whatever this style is, it is here, and it is catching a lot of gamers’ attention.

Thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com.