She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal narrative-driven RPG adventure that plays like a blend of Undertale, Earthbound and Persona, and follows an anxiety-ridden woman as she deals slips between the “real” world and a nightmarish world that preys on her fears.
In She Dreams Elsewhere you take on the role of Thalia Sullivan, a young woman who is currently in a coma and must face the nightmares that are stopping her from awakening. While in your coma you flip between your version of the real world and a nightmarish realm that’s filled with monsters to battle and a mysterious antagonist.
While in the real world you can explore, chat to your friends and learn more about what makes Thalia tick. She’s a bright and witty woman, but she’s plagued with feelings of self-doubt and social anxiety. These feelings come to a head in the demo in a clever little scene where Thalia attends her best friends party. While there her anxiety kicks in and her self doubt manifests itself as a voice in her head, filling her with paranoia about not fitting in and ultimately leading to her making an excuse to leave the party early. It’s a great scene that makes Thalia a very relatable character, with feelings of social awkwardness that we’ve all had at a party at some-time (and often drink to suppress).
When Thalia flips into the mysterious nightmare dimension things get a little more surreal as you explore the strange world, talk to odd NPGs (including cats and dogs), find your friends and battle monsters. There’s also a mysterious antagonist who taunts you now and again, possibly symbolizing your self-doubt and will likely have to be defeated before you can escape your coma. Combat is turn based, with each character having different special abilities and monsters being weak to different elemental powers. It doesn’t get too tough in the demo build, but the combat system has plenty of depth and should allow for plenty of different battle strategies in the full game.
She Dreams Elsewhere really impresses with its striking visual style, excellent soundtrack and engaging turn based combat. It’s the interesting characters and well written narrative that most impresses though. It may all take place in your comatose mind, but the characters all feel more real than most traditional RPGs and the problems that Thalia is dealing with are all too relatable. You genuinely empathise with Thalia, making you feel like you’re going on this journey with her, rather than her being just another generic magic wielding avatar. Highly recommended.