At first glance, you wouldn’t expect Dreamcutter to be an eastasiasoft game. Much like the recently reviewed Dungeonoid 2, the game appears to be all about the gameplay rather than introducing any kind of sexualisation.
However, those initial impressions are wrong. Very, very wrong. Whilst the game isn’t primarily sex focused, there’s still a heavy amount of sexual content and nudity on offer – which is worth bearing in mind if you thought you could play this in front of your mother.
But despite all the sexualisation, the focus is quite clearly on making this a good 2D platformer – and the game really does succeed at that.
Many thanks to the publishers for the review code.
Haley is a college student who, in addition to being really horny, is also not very interested in her classes. After falling asleep during her economics class (who wouldn’t?), she suddenly finds herself trapped in a monster-infested dreamland. It’s an interesting blend of both her fantasies and her nightmares, but she’s also helpless to defend herself.
That is until she finds the titular Dreamcutter: a talking scythe that demands her complete submission in return for its power. Haley understandably questions its motives, but the blade refuses to bow down to even the simplest of queries. It is quite literally a toxic relationship between the two as the Dreamcutter continually tries to break her down.
There’s a really interesting concept at the heart of Dreamcutter, and I was interested to see how it would develop. The game sets up some really interesting characters and character dynamics, but I don’t feel it really pays off with any of them. With the promise of future DLC teased by the developer, it’s possible that these will be expanded on in the future, but what’s here is at least good enough to keep you invested.
As for the presentation, both the game’s sprite-work and character portraits are mostly well-done. They’re really bright with some fantastic designs, even if the character proportions are inconsistent at best. Whilst she is typically portrayed as a slim girl with some generous curves, occasionally they suddenly exaggerate both her hips and bosom to ridiculous degrees. It’s really quite jarring due to how noticeably different these moments are from the rest; it could be that the differences are down to her mental perception of herself, but it’s never really made clear regardless.
The platforming itself is largely focused around Haley’s scythe. Aside from the obligatory combat, which is usually a simple case of hacking and slashing – even after using the game’s currency to upgrade it, you can also use it to get around the stages. Your first skill will allow you to wedge it inside a wall so that you can bounce to higher places, but you’ll also be able to glide and stick to walls later too. This latter skill is never explained, however, so you’re essentially left to figure that one out on your own as it only works on certain surfaces.
The platforming works incredibly well and feels particularly fluid for the most part. I did feel like you had to be a little bit too far from a wall in order to wedge it in, which made using it in tighter spaces a bit fiddly, but otherwise it’s fast and rewarding. When you combine these mechanics with stage hazards, such as moons to swing from or grinding rails, it all flows together really well. I do wish that stages were made a little bit more unique with their own hazards to help make each of the five worlds feel a bit more unique, but I never got bored either.
Speaking of which, the five worlds are broken up into multiple stages culminating in a boss fight. These boss fights are much harder encounters when compared to the fights in the rest of the game, but they also force you to use your skills to your advantage. The second boss, for example, has you riding wind currents to reach her higher location – but you’ll also have to deal with the hordes of foes she summons too. Bosses are a lot of fun, even if the final fight can be quite brutal by comparison.
Beating a boss will trigger a new story related cutscene, and also reward you with some erotic artwork based on one of the scenes that can be viewed in the game’s gallery. They’re well drawn for the most part, and I at least enjoyed unlocking them for the sake of completion. More can be unlocked by completing store-bought challenges (found by pressing right in the shop), although unfortunately there aren’t many challenges to choose from. I had a blast trying to hunt down eyeballs or speed through levels, but I managed to beat them all so quickly that I was left wanting more.
When it comes to more major complaints, the main one I had at launch with the game was the constant awful frame-rate that plagued the game. Usually it affected moments full of on-screen enemies, but it could happen at any point – even if there wasn’t anything else on the screen. It was a really sad state of affairs that put a dampener on my overall experience.
And then, around halfway through my playthrough of the game, a patch dropped. I had hoped it was aimed at rectifying these issues, and thankfully that was the case. What was once a game full of intolerable slowdown, now became much faster paced and fun to play. Sure, the framerate still wasn’t consistent and definitely had its moments, but the experience was far smoother after that patch dropped. So much so that I can now well and truly praise the game as much as it deserves. It could still do with another patch to make it run as smooth as it should, but its current state is at least acceptable.
Dreamcutter is, without a doubt, my favourite release by eastasiasoft. Sure, the sex and nudity does feel slightly out of place at times and may be too much for some, but if you can get over than then there’s a really great 2D action platformer here for you to blow your load over. I can’t wait to see how the upcoming DLC pans out, and hope that this is just the start of more content to come.