After a previous campaign in 2021 failed to achieve its funding goal, indie studio emergeWorlds has returned to Kickstarter for another round, and this time they’ve managed to get funded in under 24 hours. This is great, but there are multiple stretch goals to hit, with ten days left to hit them. I’m excited to see where Dros will go, so let’s hop into it and explore.
Dros is a puzzle roleplay adventure game with a quirky story inspired by 80s fantasy adventures like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. I can see the resemblance in the creatures that appear in the clips available to us, like the blue one-eyed slime creature who is one of two playable characters. There is also a steampunk aesthetic to the villain’s castle, very reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle and Abney Park.
The story of Dros revolves around a mysterious tower that has sprung up outside of the town of Nilemah where our human bounty hunter protagonist lives. This Tower is a force of malevolence, poisoning the waters and causing people to go missing. At night, citizens of the town are lured towards the tower by a hypnotic melody. In response, the council of High Alchemists have placed the town under quarantine. Captain, a Bounty Hunter of dubious origins and Little Dros, a slimy alchemical creature with a case of amnesia are trapped in the Tower. To survive, they’ll need to overcome their difference and learn to get along. Look at this beautiful artwork:
As for gameplay style, it’s best to let the developers explain:
Dros mashes together 3D puzzle platforming and combat by introducing a dual-character switching mechanic, where players can take control of either character.
Early on in development we posed the following rather unorthodox scenario:
“What if our main characters were like a symbiote and a host…and both need the other to survive?”
Captain and Little Dros form an unlikely bond. They’ll need to keep each other alive and progress upward through the Tower. Each character can do something the other can’t. You’ll learn to detach and return to solve puzzles and defeat all manner of enemies.
Little Dros uses a cool stealth mechanic when separated from Captain. Once she’s caught in the line-of-sight of enemy Dros she will automatically be flung back to her human shell.
Once detached from her human ‘shell’ (otherwise known as Captain), Little Dros is free to explore a stage. She needs to watch out, because Dros outside their shells are extremely vulnerable!
Combat in Dros is inspired by Zelda: Links Awakening – quick and punchy. Captain can attack, block and parry with his trusty sword. Overcoming enemies involves simple telegraph recognition and attack/parry timing.
Enki’s Vending Machines can be found dotted throughout the Tower. Though he wouldn’t admit it, Enki is quite the entrepreneur!
Vending Machines in Dros can assist players as they travel upwards in the Tower:
- Classic Prima recharges Little Dros’ alchemical life force. These are quite common.
- Experimental Prima flavours trigger more of Little Dros’ alchemical memory, giving Captain and herself enhanced abilities.
But yeah, I think this looks great. There are all sorts of reward tiers you can choose from, with higher tiers offering the chance to create an NPC or Dros hut that everyone will be able to interact with.
I love when promising games that have failed their Kickstarter campaigns are able to come back and succeed in a second attempt. Since I started backing games on Kickstarter, Dros is the third one that I backed where this happened with, following The Dream of Shadowlands and Unsung Warriors. Some other games become lost when they fail the first time, such as was sadly the case with Out of The Hat by Not a Number studio. Luckily, Dros won’t go down that route. This game has plenty of potential and I look forward to seeing where it goes. According to the campaign, it should be out by August this year. Who knows, maybe Dros will become one of the next big indie darlings?
Neira is an author who writes horror novels featuring suburban Gothic girls as main characters. Their first one, Raven’s Dream, was self-published on Amazon a few years ago. Lola’s Haunter is their next novel, unconnected to Raven’s Dream, and is all about a Democratic Goth girl who cosplays as Wednesday Addams and explores abandoned amusement parks in search of ghosts. Lola will cameo in horror video game Blue June and might possibly have a short films adaptation by year’s end. Follow Neira’s so far underdeveloped blog for updates!