18 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 7.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 1 @ 4:52am
Updated: May 1 @ 4:56am

Dreambound is a game I backed on Kickstarter from the time it was announced. I adore the games that Two and a Half Studios makes.

Dreambound is a story-rich, boy-love visual novel about an artist, Noah, who has the ability to enter dreams in the flesh as he tries to piece back together his broken life.

The Story

You play through the story as Noah, a lonely, withdrawn artist who has the ability to enter dreams in physical form. Noah is withdrawn and chooses to stay isolated and alone after experiencing a tragedy in his past. However, Noah finds himself caught up in a series of mysterious murders and he is forced to break free from his past and confront reality.

With the ability to enter dreams physically, Noah traverses the line between dreams and reality while exploring his past along with the present in order to uncover the truth.

Along the way you will meet three love interests, Kaine (your best friend and always there for you). Crow, a familiar stranger who you meet in a dream. And Ivan, a mysterious stranger.

This is not an explicit graphic novel like some of Two and a Half Studios other novels. It is a novel more centered around deeper character interactions and a more complex story. So hints of spice but not spicy.

The Intro

I have to highlight the intro. More and more quality visual novels are putting in animated openings like watching a trailer for an upcoming anime. Great music, great visuals with some talented editing. The kind of opening that gets you hyped for the game you're about to experience.

Watch the first video on the store page to see it, and I recommend it in full screen.

Game-play & Features

The settings are your typical find in a visual novel. Display settings, rollback, skip choices, and audio controls. Extras that unlock as you play include a gallery, music gallery and credits.

The in-game hud is clean by design and the text is easy to read. There is a history log, quick save and quick load options. There are also lots of save slots to save your favourite moments!

This game does have one interesting element that most visual novels do not. Certain sections have puzzles in the form of point and click escape rooms. In the beginning of the game, before you start, you are prompted to choose how you wish to play these (either point and click or with entirely text). Once you choose this choice cannot be changed. The game was designed with point and click by design but if you do not enjoy puzzles they suggest going with the entirely text option.

The Visuals

The artwork, as in all visual novels from this studio, is always gorgeous. Anime style, handsome characters, beautifully coloured and vibrant with atmospheric backgrounds.

The soundtrack you find in the gallery is a melancholic lo-fi selection of wonderful tracks.

Some of my screen captures...

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3236745157
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3236745075


Overall Experience

What a great experience, as I predicted it would be. I really enjoyed the story and the concept of being able to enter dreams. While true, it is not a new concept that hasn’t been explored before, it was still refreshing for a visual novel. I also love Noah, as an artist myself, his character and struggles resonated with me personally. How he sees the act of creating, and how going through a traumatic event can take away your ability to be creative. Some people may feel he is too depressive or negative but as one who has been in that state it is realistic.

I look forward to finishing the final two routes but like to take some time between play-thoughts to appreciate my experience with the first run-through. I am not one to rush achievements or play through a game over and over just to complete them. I like to sit with my experiences for a bit, for good or bad.

I highly recommend this game. The writing is well done and I enjoyed the character development, especially between Noah and August. I would say there is a decent amount of character building between the other characters but mostly between Noah and August.

There are some trigger warnings to be wary of going in, that the game will let you know about as soon as you start it. Themes of depression, trauma, suicide, abuse, death, homophobia (Noah’s parents are total pieces of s**t).

The mini games were okay (escape rooms), and added a new element not often found in visual novels. They will provide you with hints if you're stuck and you can skip them if desired.

I will not spoil any parts of the story for you. It is a murder mystery but the murder mystery part is not front and center. It is the story in the background. The core of the story is the relationship between Noah and August and what happens between them in the past and future. ⭐


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