Wild and weird action roguelike Picayune Dreams released from Early Access recently, meaning it's definitely time to enjoy this thing if you're a fan of horde survival roguelikes, bullet hells, or games that get all meta and screwy. Populated by a cast of surrealist 3D renders that look like rejected 1990s clipart and backed up with a very serious drum and bass breakcore soundtrack, this is an indie that's decidedly, committedly into a specific aesthetic.
For me, this sucker's doing interesting stuff by varying the type of gameplay you're up against every five or so minutes. Each time you horde survive long enough you'll go up against a nasty bullet hell boss, each of which in genre tradition is its own little dance to learn and appreciate.
None of them are particularly ultravicious, so I do think those who don't love bullet hell can still enjoy it. Then, at the end of it all, the game will just suddenly and forcibly inject interactive Evangelion-esque digital horror dream sequences into your eyeballs. I love it when games do that, and the ones I've seen don't feel trite or forced.
The fans love it, so to speak: The release version has 318 reviews at press time, and 99% of them are positive. One of the three negative reviews actually recommends you play the game anyway if you're a fan of the bullet hell genre.
Back in January our Ted Litchfield called Picayune Dreams "the first Vampire Survivors riff to really make me feel something" which I'm going to say is probably still true. If anything, there are now significantly more things to feel than when this thing released into early access.
"Instead of Vampire Survivors' singular 30 minute levels, Picayune Dreams has a more classic roguelike progression with five minute levels capped with a boss, and this is where things get spicy. These guys blow Vampire Survivors' boss fights away, just full-on Touhou bullet hell baddies demanding precise, masterful movement," said Ted.