So, Dros is a bit of a meet-cute. First, there’s you: a sentient pile of eldritch goo named Little Dros. Things haven’t been good for you since you escaped the evil tower where your dark lord, the Alchemist lives. You need a body, I mean, a “shell” to survive. When, look, fate strikes! You find the Captain, a bounty hunter missing an arm and also a pulse. He looks cozy. You nuzzle right on in.
The Captain is not pleased with the addition of you, reanimating their living corpse and presumably, whispering dark nightmares into their ear. But they’re alive, and that’s better than they were a few minutes ago. So, your adventure with your new flesh vehicle begins.
You switch between the Captain, who is a mechanical big beefy boy that swings a big sword, and Dros — the inky globule of eldritch madness — who is swift and can jump and slide through pipes in a way that is eerie but also really, really useful in a dark fantasy world constructed around lunatic sewer and plank arrangements.
And many fiendish 3D puzzles await in Dros, along with combat encounters and a bit of platforming too. There are also these very distracting bright, glowing crystals everywhere, you know, the ones we’ve all been conditioned to collect whenever they crop up. They do something great, but I’m unsure what yet as of present.
Mostly though, I enjoyed the strange and luminescent steampunk world of Dros, where your local shopkeep dons a combi-scarecrow raven mask for extra creepiness, and there are these adorable lit-up tea carriages strewn about the place. It’s charming, in its own way, with its goggle-eyed chickens, warm, soothing lamps, and medieval-style magical forest foliage.
And, although this was not explored too much in the Dros demo I’ve played, there’s also a bit of creepy lore going on with the world as a whole. For one thing, the elderly tea seller teaches you the art of traveling out of your body and surveying the environment — revealing key location markers.
I’ve no idea exactly what is in the tea that makes your spirit detach and float around seeing through the confines of reality, but you can bet I’m keeping an eye on that merchant.
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But, he’s not your main concern. You’ve got a bigger problem: the Alchemist, who is constructing a dark tower deep within the woods. Then, as is befitting of any dark lord, he’s luring the villagers in with a lovely melody. Cursed. Anyway Captain and Little Dros want to take down the Alchemist, and I imagine that the game explores their motivations.
The Captain is your typical cold-hearted mercenary, on the hunt for gold. And Little Dross is an outsider in their own community, as many of the Dros creatures work for the Alchemist. Little Dros, unlike the others, has escaped and seems keen to help the humans. The world itself is discovered through diary entries and collectibles, as well as a lot of dialog entries, which come up in a cute oversized visual novel display.
From Brisbane-based games developer emergeWorlds, Dros has been announced for Switch and Steam for 2023. For now, we’ll certainly be keeping a singular eye-stalk out for it, if only just to unravel the mysteries of that tea seller.