Japanese indie developer Odencat – best known for the highly rated Meg’s Monster – has revealed Dream Channel Zero – a twisted and humorous adventure that sees a boy named Akira become trapped inside a video game.
It’s there he meets Rumiko, a hoody-wearing girl. Together, they team up to explore and escape this increasingly surreal virtual world. This, unsurprisingly, involves adhering to good old video game logic – with the teaser trailer showing Akira and Rumiko traversing a Super Mario World-style map screen.
By turning a TV dial, the channel can be changed, carrying the adventure over to a different stage. Odencat states this will allow some stages to be completed in an order of your choosing.
It’s during combat when things start to become a little twisted. While making a loose reference to Punch Out, the press release mentions that there are no repeat encounters – every battle is unique and can be beaten with a trick that you’ll need to figure out first.
The idea was to create a game where even the minor characters feel major; a fact backed by a cast of eccentric NPCs, including a merman who runs a fish-less aquarium, and a cactus who sells trading cards featuring candid photos of random citizens.
The story is said to be simple yet emotional, intended to be enjoyed regardless of a player’s level of familiarity with the genre. Odencat is going ‘all in’ on the soundtrack too, hiring electronic producer Xavier LeBlanc, who has chosen to shun a 16-bit style soundtrack in favour of IDM, hip-hop, and Latin jazz.
There’s some time to go until Dream Channel Zero occupies our TV screens – it isn’t due until winter 2024. Well, maybe not TV screens, but rather monitors – it’s due on PC, Mac, and Linux. Don’t change that input source.