Initial Daydream - Pulp RPG

Initial Daydream is a Pulp RPG in the style of NES JRPGs, specifically the early Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy entries. Towns, dungeons, turn based battles, goofy plot and dialogue; you name it, we got it!

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The game starts with The Choosed One (that’s you) helping the King of Ghoulliard deliver a gift to the King of Altantis for the yearly Royal Gift Exchange. This quest has you circumnavigating the world to all four kingdoms, and finishes at a lavish celebration. That is, unless some calamity should happen and ruin everything…

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The battle system is fairly simple. The only stats are Attack, Health, and Restore (determines how many HP are restored by POZHNs and the HEAL ability). Instead of leveling up, you purchase upgrades at the town shops. Each shop has an ability for sale, and each dungeon has an ability to find, for a total of 8. As you purchase stat upgrades, the prices increase. However, each shop has their own prices, so once you make it to the next town you will be able to upgrade yourself fairly cheaply again.
I’m open to adding some complexity to the system, but I’ll probably wait until much later in the timeline for that. I'm also going to make different rooms for battles taking place on different terrain (eventually).

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The current build is version 0.8. The game can be played from start to finish, with all four towns and dungeons explorable. Once the map is circumnavigated, a final quest opens up. The art is most of the way done, mostly now I need some music for some individual scenes, sound effects, and of course monster designs.

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The roadmap is as follows:
0.3 Ghoulliard art, music, dungeon (Vampire Mansion), and dialogue completed
0.4 Altantis art, music, dungeon (Sunken Tunnel), and dialogue completed (finished as of 7/29!)
0.5 Uiskei art, music, dungeon (Liquor Mines), and dialogue completed (finished as of 8/24!)
0.6 Goo art, music, dungeon (Goo Slide), and dialogue completed (finished as of 9/23!)
0.7 Final scenes and quest completed (finished as of 10/8!)
0.8 Title screen, saving, credits, general polish (finished as of 11/4!)
0.9 Sound effects, remaining music, monster and boss designs finalized
1.0 Optional Intro, overall game is good and done

I will be updating this devlog as I reach these milestones, or perhaps other significant steps in between. But if you want the day-to-day updates, I have a thread on Twitter that you can follow from the day I started this game up through every little improvement! You can find it here.

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Thanks for checking out Initial Daydream! And please let me know if there are any other old school RPGs in the works for Playdate! I want to play em all. And I might make an early version of this available to test a little bit if anyone is interested!


Will definitely be following this! Sounds like you're well organised with that roadmap, much more than I ever am :smile:

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I am glad it at least appears that way! At the very least it will be nice to have identifiable progress points.

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Version 0.4 is here! I've updated the original post to reflect the changes to the game and the timeline. I am shooting for a December 1st release, and I'm gonna have a trailer for the October Direct!

Here's some new screencaps, as a treat:
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Version 0.5 is here! The town of Uiskei has taken form, and the Liquor Mines have been explored! Managed to get this done a little ahead of schedule, which rules. Here's some new screenshots:
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Version 0.6 is here! The Kingdom of Goo has been put on the hill, and the Goo Slide is open for business! Still a little ahead of schedule, but as always I discovered a lot more art that still needs doing. Still feeling good about a 2023 release, though! Here's some new screenshots.
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The trailer is now uploaded!

I'll probably do another before the actual release with more art and probably some more descriptive VO.
This isn't an official update, but we are getting quite close to one!

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Version 0.7 is here!
No screenshots today, just the good tidings that Initial Daydream can be beaten! The final quest activates, the final boss fight, uh, fights, and the final cutscenes both activate and play all the way through!
The next big items on the to-do list are:

-Monster designs!

And then we can get to that most sacred part of all game dev: Playtesting!

I have a few other art things I want to accomplish before I go full test request mode, but if anyone wants to get in early, let me know and I'll let you know as soon as the save system is operational!

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I'm looking forward to this one! Progress is sounding great :+1:

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Version 0.8 is here!
I tweaked the version timeline a little bit to accommodate the fact that I started doing things out of order, most notably implementing saves.

I set the release date for December 1st, which means that November is all about testing testing testing! And about sound effects, finishing up the soundtrack, and monster designs.

If you're interested in testing, hey, have a file! (406.1 KB)

Main things I'd like to know:

  1. General playability. Is it enjoyable as a throwback JRPG style game?
  2. Interaction. Did you try to interact with anything and got nothing?
  3. Direction. Did you get lost? Did you feel like you knew where to go at any given time?
  4. Music. Is it good? The scenes towards the end don't have music yet, but all the towns and dungeons do.
  5. Would the battle system benefit from any other mechanics? (The only other one I have in mind is Speed, which would determine who gets the first strike)
  6. The Grind. I'm hoping this game doesn't have TOO much of it. There are lots of helpful characters and other interactions along the way that give stat boosts, in addition to what you already buy in the shops. I'm able to rocket through the whole game in about an hour and a half with little to no grinding, so I'm optimistic that a new player could get through in 2-3 hours.

And of course any general thoughts you have.

Known issues: when using TRIPLE STRIKE after RESTORE or POZHN sometimes causes those to happen again and then for the enemy to get an extra attack. Same thing with the BROOM animation, though I don't think the effect of the BROOM occurs. Sometimes enemy attacks (and THORNS damage if it's activated) happen after you've already won, appearing in the victory screen. No sound effects yet. Monsters are all extremely first draft designs, and most of the bosses don't have their in-world context written in yet.

Thanks so much to everyone who has been following this project! I've wanted to make a game like this for a long time, and the Playdate and Pulp really made the whole process simple enough that I feel like I've kind of pulled it off. I can't wait to here everyone's thoughts, and perhaps begin dreaming up a Secondary Daydream!


New update for anyone interested! (415.0 KB)
This version has a lot of improvements, most notably:
-information about abilities as you gain them
-ability to buy POZHNs in bulk
-encounter rate options in the save menu, including high, medium (default), low, and off
-title cards as you enter new areas for the first time (will look prettier later)
-keyboard inverted for better readability/accessibility
-and many more, smaller, and less interesting things!

If you have already started a game, this update should be fully compatible with your save, but there will be a character in the first town who prompts you to talk to the King before you can leave. This is intended to make sure you actually start the main quest haha and talking to the King should get him to leave even if you've already talked to him.
Thanks for playing!


I haven't updated this thread in a minute, but the release is tomorrow! I've done a lot of testing and sound mixing, and I think the game...
I'm excited for everyone to play it. The released version will still be 0.9, because there are some things that still need ironing out and a few features I want to include, but those can wait. The game is very much playable, and I think even quite enjoyable.

Ah! I forgot to post it here!
The game is here! You can buy and play it!

I also found out that I missed the eligibility for the Playdate Community Awards by 1 dang day, which sucks! But it also means I have another year to make sure it's great in time for next year haha.

hey man! loving the game so far! soon to have a review up on the game for my website. I do have a bug that may want to be addressed. I have not been able to continue in the Liquor Mines after beating the alien. For some reason I had gotten 5 wheels instead of 4, but that is the only reason I can think of. When I click the select button to get into the minecart, it just does nothing. also, would love a Secondary Daydream. great game!

Hello! If you are the person who messaged me earlier on Twitter, I already messaged you back with a new build on there! I'm also going to do a little more work tonight and push out a new build either tonight or tomorrow, which will have other little improvements in addition to fixing this issue.

Hey! I forgot to update other platforms, but there's an update on the release of Initial Daydream!

I outline all the fixes in the post, and in the other post I did a couple weeks ago, I also put forth a sort of roadmap to 1.0, if anyone is interested!

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It's been a minute since I updated this thread, but 1.0 is very much in sight now. There are a few art assets left to be made (basically the super bosses and some larger pieces for the intro, which will be handled by my partner). I've been doing a lot of runs recently and cleaning things up. My plan is to get it done by the end of March, but you know how these things go haha.


For all the real ones here in the forum, Initial Daydream has gone 1.0! A little devlog here as well.

I'll be submitting to Catalog later today, but if you need it now, it's on itch!

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