Dreambound is Two and a Half Studios’ new take on the boys’ love genre. The team has already worked on various BL visual novels, such as The Divine Speaker, but the new title focuses on the dark mindset of a man marred by a tragic past. As a proof of concept for the Kickstarter campaign, they’ve shared a demo with the story’s beginning.
Dreambound tells the story of Noah, a young man who decided to become a painter. However, we learn early in the introduction that he feels dead inside, like an empty husk of who he once was. While he still goes on, his thought processes drive him ever closer to dangerous places.
He seems to have lost someone very dear to him, and remaining alive feels like sinking in an endless mud pit. Doing the bare minimum he would need to survive, Noah dedicates all his energy to painting, looking for a glimpse at a masterpiece that could give some meaning to his torturous existence.
At times, we get to see his past, a time when he was still in high school. While this may be a difficult life stage for many people, his situation was more tense than average. He was the second kid who always seemed to fall short of his brother’s achievements no matter how much he tried.
His parents also hated the only hobby he had: drawing. For them, art wouldn’t get him a good, stable job. But it was also “a girly interest” that he shouldn’t have as it wasn’t “manly enough.” What would their relatives, neighbors, and associates think of such a sensitive boy?
While this situation escalates in the background, one day, a young boy called August transfers to his school. This event changes Noah’s world forever, as he feels weirdly attracted to the boy. It was love, but he didn’t know that yet: he had never felt it before. Imagining himself with another guy hadn’t crossed his mind at the time either.
Despite how the past may look shiny and hopeful, we can already grasp some of the thorns that would turn it all into despair. At some point, Noah’s whole world was August, seeking validation for his feelings and identity. And at such a tender age, it’s no wonder tragic events could become a permanent wound in his soul that he wouldn’t want to forget.
Back in the present, three men could be the key to Noah having a second chance at life. One of those is Kaidan, his childhood friend who has always been perfect at everything he does. The other two are much more mysterious, including a boy with an uncanny resemblance to August and another who barges into Noah’s house. The demo doesn’t develop them much.
Though he could have a chance to heal and go back to living normally, serial murder cases are going on around town. Worse still, they seem to have a connection with a mysterious power of Noah’s: he can dive into other people’s dream worlds. During one such section in the demo, there’s an escape-the-room segment, adding some extra interaction elements.
Dreambound is a promising BL visual novel that dives deep into the turbulent mind of a young man who can’t find a place to belong. The demo offers just a glimpse at the story, and I can’t wait to learn how exactly everything fell apart in the past and try to mend Noah’s psyche for a better future.
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