re:Dreamer Version 0.15.0 Review

It’s like a dream come true… and it is simply beautiful.

It’s June 3rd, meaning it’s time for my fourth annual re:Dreamer review, after having covered the game in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

For those not familiar with the title, re:Dreamer is a TSF/gender bender visual novel created by CaptainCaption (she/her) and Espeon (she/her). Two long-standing contributors of the TSF community who, in September 2019, joined forces to work on this massive and ambitious dream project. However, the overwhelming majority of the work is done by CaptainCaption, who serves as the writer, editor, programmer, community manager, and more. While Espeon currently serves as a financier and occasional advisor on the project.

I personally support Dream Team Studio on Patreon, which grants me access to advanced Sustainer tier versions of re:Dreamer before they are made available to the public. The version I am covering here, version 0.15.0, will be publicly available in early July 2023.

Also, for the record, I am not the Natalie who requested that she be inserted into the game as Britney’s roommate. I have made zero sustainer requests, and if I did, the game would probably be worse for it.

Since my last review, quite a lot of changes have been made to re:Dreamer:

  • The introduction has been expanded with additional scenes that better establish Zach and the world of re:Dreamer.
  • The Keisuke route has seen major revisions to day 1 content, adding several new CGs, route variations, and miscellaneous changes. Also, a small day 10 scene was added.
  • The Britney route has been given roughly a novel’s worth of new content.
  • The Mom route has been added as a shorter route that is approximately half completed.
  • World Information sections have been updated and expanded considerably.
  • And the entire game has received a dash of TLC sprinkled throughout.

While this content did not change my overall thoughts on the title— re:Dreamer is still great, I still love it, and it still has a ways to go— I was feeling ambitious and did a bunch of revisions. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

re:Dreamer Version 0.15.0 Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux, Android
Developer/Publisher: Dream Team Studio

re:Dreamer follows Zach, a 20-year-old college student who sleuths their way into possession of a mobile game by the name of re:Dreamer. A mysterious title that, after some fiddling around in the character creator, transforms Zach’s body from that of a frail young man with a girly face into a beautiful busty young woman. One transformation sequence later, Zach is greeted by Ai, their digital guide to re:Dreamer, who reveals that Zach signed up for a “competitive reality-altering sex game” and is stuck in this body for six months. 

Structurally, the game takes the form of a character-driven route-based affair, unlike other choose-your-own-adventure style visual novel platforms I could name, but they all follow the same general concepts. Zach trying to do their best to win re:Dreamer, while juggling every other aspect of their life. Including their college course load, a dilapidating family life, their first romantic relationship, and all the joys that come with the wet and wonderful world of womanhood.

If you are even modestly versed in the TSF/TG/gender bender genre, this concept should not be too unfamiliar. But despite its mostly vanilla premise, re:Dreamer offers a focused, grounded, and rigorously detailed experience that, despite only being a fraction of its final form, has all the markings of a landmark entry in its genre.

That might sound like some high praise— because it is— but re:Dreamer is a title that does so much, so well, and features so much content in its current state, that I think it’s well earned.  

The script is filled with meticulous details and routinely impressed me with its quality. The story neatly balances tones and emotions, shifting between goofball antics, tender drama, dread-filled introspections, and sexy fun-time shenanigans, without ever feeling incongruous. The background for its world and backstory for its characters are incredibly detailed, especially for a project of this scale. The cast is full of assorted quirks and flaws that do a wonderful job of humanizing them. Heck, even the sex scenes are integral character defining moments that both enhance and progress the story. …At least for the most part.

re:Dreamer can be funny, it can be heartfelt, it can be methodical, it can be sexy, it can be existential. It hits pretty much every note I want to see not only from a TSF story, but from a story in general. It is the product of someone whose savviness and familiarity with TSF cannot be understated. She, quite simply, gets it. She’s spent thousands of hours immersed in this stuff, seen what works, internalized her preferences, and understands how to make this subject matter compelling on multiple levels. This is the product of someone who not only loves this stuff, but wants, with every fiber of their being, to make the best damn visual novel she possibly can!

There are a lot of ways that this is evident to me, but let’s start with my favorite aspect of this game, the characters.


Ai is an electric pixie who is assigned to help Zach navigate through the fine mess they’ve gotten themselves mixed into. But beneath her helpful role and cutesy guise, she’s a little devil, and I love just about everything about her. Her ability to function as the third wheel in a conversation and butt in only when she is wanted, or unwanted. The unique power play she has as a digital being, as she’s Zach’s only hope of winning or participating in re:Dreamer, yet is unable to control the physical world around her and can do nothing when confronted with a strip of gaffer tape. Though what really cinches it is the interpersonal relationship she develops with Zach… almost immediately.

She teases Zach, coaxes them into doing things they don’t openly want to, but never comes across as truly malicious, or even all that mean. She wants Zach to have a good time and not make an absolute mess out of their life, but she also recognizes them as a boundless bin of entertainment. Zach realizes this, and is assertive enough to not let a piece of technology boss them around, though their interdependence forces them to at least try to get along. She’s a member of a character archetype that I have particular fondness of, and is brought to life so well that I couldn’t help but take some notes.

Britney is Zach’s female friend from high school who is far more than she initially lets on. With much of her character being about appearing one way, while also being something different. She’s a curvy blonde girl with a fondness for breezy clothing— cultural shorthand for a ditz— but she’s pretty darn smart socially, academically, and creatively. She’s a Catholic from Texas with more than a morsel of pride for her homeland. Yet she’s also incredibly progressive, on top of being a lesbian. She’s a theater major with grand artistic inspirations and a knack for tailoring. While also having the debate skills, legal comprehension, and political knowledge to be a helluva lawyer.

She’s a crafty woman in more ways than one, and this can be seen in how she engineers her relationship with Zach. She is more than willing to help them, but she recognizes the scale of this request, and demands something in return. Which might sound sinister at first, but in practice, the two function more as partners than anything else. Britney helps Zach’s life from crumbling after their transformation. Zach helps Britney by posing as her boyfriend and helping out in the dysfunctional theater department. And both get to reap the benefits of a secret sapphic relationship.

Keisuke, meanwhile, serves the role of the best friend and primary male love interest of re:Dreamer, and he plays that role to a tee. He’s a tall, strong, and overall manly athlete, with a history of saving women from disaster, only to screw up the relationship a few weeks, or days, later. He has a good heart, a strong sense of justice, knows his way around people, and is proficient at diffusing conflicts before things get too intense. Well, most conflicts anyway. However, he’s also got a bad case of ‘jock brain,’ as seen with his D-tier book smarts and habit of under-thinking certain situations.

He is a familiar enough character type to be predictable, detailed and consistent enough to feel like a person, but where he really shines is when bouncing off of Zach. The two have a well-worn dynamic that makes them feel like friends through their banter alone, and whenever one of them is struggling, the other has their back. 

Samantha, Zach’s mother, is a character who I was not immediately sold on prior to her debut. Her position as an overbearing and mentally ill hyper-intelligent yandere, combined with CaptainCaption’s regular horny-posting, made me… let’s just say cautious of her character. But a minute after she made her in-person debut in her dedicated route, I fully understood her appeal, and fell in love with her. My exact words were “I’d let her kill me.”

As Zach’s primary parent for much of their life, Samantha is the source of many of Zach’s quirks and anxieties, but if Zach’s a 5 on that scale, Samantha’s a gosh darn 11. She’s a controlling tiger mom with high standards and higher demands. Her emotions are directed and intense to the point where they are almost a psychic power. She takes extreme pride in her intelligence and skills, and will flaunt them when the opportunity arises. She is a sensual woman who loves to be loved (by her husband). But she’s also an awkward dork who crumbles at the hands of her husband. 

Throughout various routes, Zach presents her as something of a villain, due to how uncomfortable their relationship is at the start of the game. Yet she ultimately does what she does out of love and, despite her innumerous strengths, is also a tragic figure. One whose every boon is complimented with a bane. She is aggressive and assertive when in her element, yet is consumed by indecision and paranoid when outside of her comfort zone. She is incredibly attractive for her age, but it comes at the cost of obsessive maintenance of her appearance and fear of being seen as undesirable by her husband. She’s a polymath, but also a hot mess, and I love her for it. 

Last but not least, there is no greater accomplishment in all of re:Dreamer than the character of Zach. While lots of visual novels go for a reserved or milquetoast protagonist, re:Dreamer takes the almost complete opposite approach and presents an excessively detailed person. They’re a dork with a penchant for obscure knowledge, a habit of spacing out, a strong technical skillset, very apparent gender issues, and a storage unit’s worth of densely packed emotional baggage.

re:Dreamer is ultimately Zach’s story, and much of its appeal is seeing Zach gradually lay out their issues, present their plethora of quirks, and adapt to new situations while reassessing and reasserting who they are as a person. And ‘person’ really is the best word for them here, as it is rare to find a fictional character as detailed and realized as Zach.

Some might find their awkwardness, routine narration, and rambling introspections to be a bit tiresome. Personally, I consider these things to be an accurate reflection of what it’s like to be around someone like them or get inside their head. Whether the player likes Zach will ultimately come down to preference, but… you can probably imagine how I feel about them. 

Zach is a frail neurodivergent kid with a gender bender fetish, a sloshy bucket of gender dysphoria, and a scattering of academic honors, who starts this story feeling lost in the world. Toss in their crappy handwriting and lifelong speech issues, throw away the engineering smarts, and you’ve got a solid depiction of me at age 20. 

…But even if I couldn’t relate to them on such a personal level, they are still a downright adorable little dork, and I loved dunking on them for being such an oblivious egg.

Introduction Route

The introduction to re:Dreamer has been a problem since… basically the start of the project. First it was the ramble-riddled intro that was present during the first year and a half. That was fixed in 2021, but the story still had a missing opening chapter, which was added late last year. 

It opens with a day in the life of Zach as they go through their college routine. Various characters are referenced, Zach’s personality and intellect are well established, the seeds of various ideas and themes are planted, and it’s all well-paced… for the most part

After returning to their dorm room, the story smoothly moves over to show how Zach learned about and pirated the titular re:Dreamer app, and goes about using it to make a ‘character.’ This is then followed by a meticulously detailed and overall excellent transformation sequence, post-transformation panic, an introduction to the game of re:Dreamer, and a divergence point for other routes. 

As the common starting ground for all players, this is arguably the most important part of re:Dreamer, and I would say it does a good job of getting the player invested in the world and characters. There is an argument that the ‘hookability’ was better in prior versions, as the transformation happened ten minutes in, instead of an hour. But that was never sustainable, and as the game’s length continues to expand, I think an hour-long opening is more than reasonable.

However… there are still issues. One minor and one major. 

The minor issue is that the introduction could stand to do a better job of visually introducing certain characters like Samantha and Keisuke, as the only central characters other than Zach seen throughout the intro are Britney and Ai. It’s a small thing, but in a character-driven visual novel like this, seeing characters does a lot to boost player’s engagement and helps them decide which route they want to start with.

As for the major issue… you know how I said that it was mostly well paced? Well, the exception to that is the psychology lecture. Structurally, it serves the role of establishing several key elements of Zach’s character. Their views on intelligence, reproduction, and destiny, their strained relationship with their mother, and other juicy little morsels. However, it is written as, and based on, an actual college lecture, meaning that many concepts that do not really fit, nor do they need to be in this game’s introduction. Heck, even CaptainCaption called them “not particularly pertinent topics.” Which begs the question why they are needed in the most important section of the game.

Admittedly, much of the lecture is locked behind variables that many players won’t change until later, but even the abridged version has its own problems with length and focus. The lecture is far longer than it needs to be, the framing of certain subjects does not give the best first impression, and even as someone who took college psych, it’s pretty boring

…But once you ignore that crap though, it’s pretty good stuff.

Also, I should note that CaptainCaption has informed me that a portion of this lecture will be locked behind an option in subsequent releases. I appreciate this change, as it is a good way to address this (probably) common criticism, but I am reviewing version 0.15.0, not version 0.15.1.

Keisuke Route

The Keisuke route sees Zach reconnect with their childhood friend after the two drifted apart during their adolescence. A few hours after reuniting, their relationship mutates into something else, with Zach and Keisuke getting distracted by Zach’s body, and… one thing leads to another. This rapidly shifts their relationship from a brotherly one into a romantic one, or as romantic as you can get with a pair as awkward as this.

Since I last covered the title, the biggest change to this route was the revised first sex scene. This involved adding custom HCGs, adding and rearranging scenes, and altering the consent to be less… let’s call it ‘hentai-like.’ They’re definite improvements that retain the emotional intensity, revelations, and endearing eccentricities while introducing more variations and some great alternatives to the original scene. It advances their relationships and develops them as characters, while being hot as hell. Or in more reductive terms, what was previously a great sex scene is now a gold-star sex scene.

Beyond that, pretty much everything I said in my last review applies here. The route overall is very good, but the first day has a problem with verbosity, with it taking well over 5,000 words just for Zach to tell Keisuke who they are. It makes sense in-universe, the conversation is filled with a bunch of information about the characters, and the dynamics between the two are great. But it can also feel like watching someone take the most roundabout solution to a relatively simple problem. (Especially on one’s fourth playthrough.) Which is unfortunate as, like I said with the introduction route, the beginning of a story is the most important, and people will drop if there isn’t a sufficiently succulent bait.

After that, the route’s pacing improves significantly. Day two is largely dominated by a shopping trip that’s downright adorable and has a good sense of flow to it, with things happening frequently without much downtime. Day three further expands upon their relationship with a ‘date,’ followed by a frat party that serves as a nifty play place of permutations that offer a look at Zach in a more social setting. While day four establishes the sorts of struggles that Zach will need to go through in order to manage their school life and their… let’s call it ‘Zoey life.’ 

It’s all pretty great, but due to the nature of the game’s ongoing development, there are gaps strewn throughout the available content and sections that need to be revised in response to other revisions. Still, there is more than enough content, narrative progression, and enjoyable scenes to make the route feel significant.

Britney Route

The Britney route has Zach finally talk to his high school friend after avoiding her for the first month of the semester. She takes the ‘my best friend turned into a girl’ news in a realistic way, and after learning the circumstances behind Zach’s transformation, she agrees to help. …But only if Zach helps her with the things that have been bogging down her life. A move that both immediately turns them into something a touch more than friends, and a bit closer to partners, rather than typical lovers

From a writing standpoint, there is a lot to like here. Day 1 does a great job of introducing and establishing Britney as a shrewd, competitive, but ultimately considerate person, and gets things rolling with a welcomed level of expedience. Day 2 continues this trend, serving as an excellent demonstration of how well the two characters get along with each other, and it is fun seeing them adapt to a changing relationship dynamic. Their antics are cute, their banter is funny, it’s filled with all sorts of insights into who these characters are, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

However, then we get to the arcade section of the date. I tried to temper my thoughts around these last year, but I freaking hate these arcade minigames. They are all tests of, quite frankly, insane reflexes that only a speedrunner would consider reasonable, and have no place in a visual novel. Fortunately, players only need to tolerate these once before they are given the ability to skip these games and generate a specified outcome, and thank goodness for that. I’m still salty toward them for taking me two hours to test and map out on my flowchart, but at least that means I don’t need to think about them ever again…

Then we get to day 3, which… I don’t have a way to accurately measure how long a Ren’py visual novel is, but this day is easily 25,000 words long. It’s a gosh darn haul that almost reads like an unabridged depiction of a person’s day, complete with a 40 minute long phone call, and… I actually kind of love it. 

That might sound odd considering how I emphasize the importance of brevity in intros, but this comes several hours into the route, and despite its ‘word girth’ it manages to follow my personal rules for storytelling. So long as things are happening, so long as the audience is being given engaging information and/or compelling dialogue, and isn’t waiting for a promised outcome, you can ramble on and on. It’s a bunch of succinct little scenes that all add or develop something, and lay a strong foundation for what’s to come.

Currently though, that is a day 4 that mostly remixes the one from the Keisuke route, but with some fun extra scenes that really make me wonder how much these routes can have in common. Along with a day 8 that introduces Zach to the theater club and the primary ‘project’ that this route will focus on.

It stands as a strong introduction to a new supporting cast, or as strong as one can get when the character sprites are still in development. But it is also needlessly elaborate with how it manages its variables and choices. It does not seem that way when playing it, but mapping out how it worked took about as long as the arcade date. Oh, the joys of flowchart production…

Alone Route

The Alone route is some of the earliest content added to re:Dreamer, and if only because of how weird it is next to the rest of the game, I still find it the most conceptually interesting route. The route sees Zach ‘calm their nerves’ with a bottle of Chinese nightmare liquor laced with LSD that sends Zach into a dream-based hellscape. Here, his very sense of self is threatened as their mind’s self-defense mechanisms kick in, threatening to unexist them before they are saved by the repressed female side of their psyche. 

It is dope, I love it, and I wish it was expanded sometime in these past three years— but at least it got some cosmetic upgrades that, while fairly minor, add a lot to what little’s there. The warping background in one scene looks genuinely dreamlike and disorientating. While the decision to repurpose the unused ‘hot Zach’ sprites give the end of the route a whole new meaning.

Mom Route

Well, here’s something that wasn’t here last time, and that I never thought would be added until it was announced a while back. Normally, such an addition would be a red flag for a project that will never get completed, but this is a miniature route by design. So short that it’s about halfway done after just one update!

The Mom route sees Zach make the genius decision to ask their hyper-intelligent and mentally ill mother, Samantha, to be her buddy in this reality-altering competitive sex game. …Somehow that sounded even lewder than I imagined. Probably because of the ‘mentally ill bit.’ While she is disgusted by how much of a degenerate her child is, she begrudgingly agrees to help them out of this mess… only to immediately screw things up and botch the game of re:Dreamer.

With Zach’s hope shattered into a hundred tiny pieces, the route sees Samantha as she tries to remedy this fine mess, while Zach comes to terms with how their life ended within a scant two hours. Much of this is spent establishing just how strained and broken the relationship between the two are. Digging through the repressed history of Zach’s family as they try to come up with a solid cover story for how ‘transformed Zach’ just sprang into existence. And an attempt by Samantha to help Zach acclimate to their life as a woman.

It’s tangent-riddled, as Samantha is almost as bad at these things as Zach. The fixation on backstory leads to an extreme amount of exposition, both in universe and in the world information section. But the characters play off each other well, the dialogue meshes snark and jokes with information well, and I found myself absorbed by things… right until the current ending of the route. (Which should be expanded and completed within the next update (or two).)

I don’t want to spoil them, but I will say that both branches are amazing in their own right, and one of them made me cry like a little baby.

The C.H.E.A.T.S. System

…Okay, that’s enough gushing about the story, let’s talk about my least favorite part of re:Dreamer.

The C.H.E.A.T.S. system is a series of customizable variables that influences how Zach behaves throughout the game, with certain dialogue lines, choices, and scenes being locked behind variable checks. Its purpose is to add variety and replayability to the game, in addition to attuning Zach closer to the player’s preference. While I can respect this ambition, it has always struck me as a curious inclusion for one simple reason. Whether you play as a Zach with all max stats or all min stats, they’re always going to be Zach. 

For the sake of completeness, I went through the game twice. The first time, I went with all variables set to 5 during my initial playthrough, as I like Zach at their most extreme. The second time, I went in with all variables set to 1, Zach at their least extreme. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different lines unlocked by doing this, but it’s pretty much all flavor text, which the game already has in spades.

The only parts that I thought were enjoyably different, using a 5-5-5-5-5 playthrough as my base, were the following: The aforementioned split branch in the Mom route. An alternate scene with Zach’s engineering professor from day 4 of the Britney route. The bra shopping visit from day 2 of the Keisuke route, mostly just for that trans man confession scene. And this author’s note that was expanded in a Patreon post four days before this review went live.

I understand that it adds ‘replay value,’ but as a game in active development, where new content is being added every month, it doesn’t need replay value. A good story is all the replay value that a visual novel needs, and it’s why I’ve had such a good time replaying this game every year.

Alternate Universe & Lore

re:Dreamer takes place in an alternate universe 2022 where Japan defeated America in WWII, claimed the Pacific Northwest as their own nation, and became the superpower of Eastern and Southeastern Asia. Technology advanced far faster, social issues are 15-20 years behind where they are in real life, the USSR is still a thing, and anime is everywhere

It’s a highly ambitious alternate universe that at least aspires to rewrite 80 years of contemporary history, as chronicled in the ‘World Information’ section. An in-game resource full of information on relevant characters, locations, concepts, and historical events that all try to make the world of re:Dreamer feel more like an actual world. I say “try” because, despite being full of meticulous detail and an incredible amount of thought, re:Dreamer is trying to accomplish something exceedingly difficult, and raises a million different questions.

How did the culture around science fiction remain so similar when humanity still hasn’t reached the moon in the year 2022? How did Nixon become president in a vastly different political climate? Did the CIA still fund wars in Latin America while fighting Japan? What is the geopolitical situation in the Middle East and Africa like if the USSR is still a thing? Did the Gulf War happen? Did 9/11 happen? Did the Feds kill Malcolm X and MLK after they pivoted to socialism? Was JFK assassinated? If some in-game music is diegetic, then does that mean that Daft Punk, Jurassic 5, and Avril Lavigne still exist in this timeline? And what the hell kind of cop-out is “[t]he political landscape in Europe in re:Dreamer’s timeline is quite different than our own, but exploring it is beyond the scope of this visual novel?” Zach traveled to Europe during their sabbatical a year ago and makes occasional references to it!

There is a lot to nitpick about the world building of re:Dreamer, and if you want to fixate on what isn’t there, then you’re asking for a one-way ticket to insanity. It’s far better to fixate on what’s there, which is both dense and detailed, but ultimately, re:Dreamer a story. And in most stories, the history of the setting is tertiary to the narrative, characters, script, and overall presentation.

This is why I consider the more important, and interesting, bits of lore about re:Dreamer to be related to the expansive summaries of characters, their relationships, and key life events. They’re excellent companion pieces to subject matter touched upon in the base game, and really go to show how much care and dedication CaptainCaption puts into this game… on top of everything else.

On a semi-related note, I should disclose that CaptainCaption clued me into a secret in Version 0.15.0 that I cannot spoil. But I will say it dramatically changed the way I viewed the game and its world, and changed it for the better. I thought about have thrown in a hint with this review… but you can pretty easily find it with the help of Unren.


Despite being a relatively scrappy project without a dedicated artist to call its own, re:Dreamer has continued to impress me with its presentation in pretty much every factor. So, let’s go through them one by one, because I like to view things as teensy little pieces.

The character sprites continue to impress me with their thoughtful designs, gorgeous outfits, and general artistry. But what really brings them to life is their wide variety of expressions, giving the characters the power to convey a wide spectrum of emotions that they take full advantage of. CGs, both hentai and normal, are composed with a deliberateness and attention to detail that, combined with their numerous variants, makes them truly feel like key events in the game. Backgrounds range from commissioned 3D renders, high quality royalty-free asset packs purchased from DLSite, and the occasional doctored photo/render. There’s enough variance so that things never look completely right, but they do the job, keep the budget in the green, and I have a certain fondness for backgrounds that look like whatever this is. It keeps me wondering…

Animations are used to add liveliness to certain scenes and characters while being reserved enough that characters feel natural when they stand around in a room and talk— like real people do. Zach’s phone has a lavish level of detail with its custom UI screen and a clock that not only moves forward as characters speak, but a battery that drains over time. And there are a lot of little flourishes that I appreciated. Such as having characters navigate in the 3D space of backgrounds. Making characters shake and jump when the time calls for it. Or even the simple tilting and swinging of character sprites to accentuate a certain action.

Needless to say, the quality of the visual presentation is high, but there are two strange decisions I couldn’t help but notice. During the day 1 of the Keisuke route, there are a few times where Keisuke is off-screen while having a conversation with Zach in the same room, which is a technically stylistic choice. The second oddity is the choice to not use any sort of split screen effect for phone calls, despite Zach spending a not insignificant amount of time calling their parents. It’s a little thing that does a lot to make these scenes more visually engaging. There are reasons for both of these omissions, but I’m still not crazy about them.

Auditorily, the first thing to note is the game’s robust soundtrack, which features over 200 different tracks… all of which are lifted from other sources. This includes F-Zero GX, Umineko, No More Heroes, Jet Set Radio, Samurai Champloo, Panty & Stocking, and Cowboy Bebop just to name a few repeated names. 

It’s not the most professional approach for assembling the soundtrack of a commercial visual novel, but it’s pretty much perfect as far as I’m concerned. The tracks are incorporated into the game well, can be hilarious in their application, add another dimension of the game for me to enjoy, and do a lot to enhance certain scenes. 

From thematically excellent choices like the use of Houston from We Love Katamari during Zach and Keisuke’s reunion. To the ‘I don’t know why but it works’ of using Toda Pasión from the Gitaroo Man as the theme for a Catholic priest. Or the straight-up good call to a character jam out to Jurassic 5 to show they have good taste in hip-hop. It all works so well that I struggle to imagine a better soundtrack for this game. 

Unfortunately, licensing all of this would be impossible, so all of this is just placeholder. …And fortunately, CaptainCaption has said that replacing the soundtrack will be “the very, very last thing I ever do for this game for full commercial release,” and the process will “destroy [her] soul.” So keep that in mind. Don’t play re:Dreamer Version 1.0. Play Version 0.70.2 instead. …The funny part is that the game probably won’t even be done at that point.

But even if the music changes, re:Dreamer still boasts some truly impressive sound design for a visual novel. A lot of it is simple stuff that you might take for granted, such as the sound of someone grabbing something, a door opening, outdoor ambiance, footsteps, genital squishing, and so forth. 

There are also some inspired choices, such as representing the inner workings of Zach’s mind using the sound of gears and mechanical tools. The audio clips used to represent Zach’s voice are both adjusted for consistency and do a lot to boost their presence in-game. Sound effects are even altered to better fit their environment, such as adding an echo effect when walking through an empty theater. And I appreciated the way it used its soundtrack by looping sections of tracks, dividing them up into sections, and using them to enhance a certain thing. It seems so obvious to use the chimes from the opening of Aerodynamic by Daft Punk to instill a sense of dread before jumping into the rest of the track, but goldarn it, it works!

Needless to say, I appreciate all the work that has gone into crafting the soundscape, as this is the sort of thing I would only expect from a project with a dedicated sound person on staff.


Throughout this review, I have been largely referring to re:Dreamer as the creation of CaptainCaption. The reason for that is that Espeon is no longer involved in the day-to-day development, and pretty much every duty has fallen onto CaptainCaption. This includes, writing, programming, image editing, promotion, community management, issuing updates, general directing and producing, art directing, sound design, animating, and more. This is an insane amount for one person to take on, even as their primary job, but CaptainCaption has proven herself to be nothing if not competent. 

She is amazingly capable at learning new skills, managing a large number of tasks, and she excels in pretty much every field she throws herself in. In fact, I would say that she is someone who could do and learn just about anything if she puts her mind to it… and can find the necessary resources. 

I say this based on the Patreon exclusive author’s notes feature that’s effectively a director’s commentary mode. One filled with insights, tangents, and instances of CaptainCaption flexing her muscles as a creator as she explains the WORK she put into making this blasted game. Along with the various Patreon updates, where she details certain aspects of the game in luxurious detail, demonstrating her immense level of passion for what she is creating. She is trying to make the best damn visual novel she can make, and the end result is something that is truly and deeply special. 

As she said in an author’s note, “I’m pretty sure [re:Dreamer will] be a one-of-a-kind VN as there’s no way this game could exist as it does if I had any real oversight from a producer.” Which… it absolutely is. The game’s strengths all stem from the fact that it is from such a focused and dedicated individual with a heck of an imagination. …But it’s also the game’s biggest weakness.

When I discussed her last year, I mentioned how CaptainCaption had a habit of adding more features to an already gargantuan project. How the project’s already massive scope kept getting bigger. How she needed someone to tell her no, keep her focused, and hold her accountable, since Espeon wasn’t keeping her in check. I still think this is true, as this woman is about as stubborn as Zach, and if she sets her mind on the wrong thing, she will waste months trying to make it work.

Based on her improved output this past year, I’m assuming that people in the re:Dreamer community have been holding her more accountable. …But based on the author’s notes she provided, I want to stress that she is just a lady trying to make her game, that disagreeing with her is fine, but any form of harassment or bullying is not okay. She has a “staggering amount of mental illnesses” so no shit she sees things in her own way and fixates on some dumb shit

But even with these flaws and stints of project mismanagement, I’m thankful for everything she has done to make this dream project of hers come a reality. And, above all else, I want to thank her for sharing herself with so many people. 


When going through re:Dreamer this year, it managed to affect me on a level that no other piece of media ever has. It broke me emotionally, sent me into a panic attack, and touched me on a level that I didn’t know existed. I described this in a Rundown last month, as this review is already massive and its details were a bit too personal. For affecting me in such a way, I gave re:Dreamer “not only a placement among my top ten favorite games of all time, but also the first Natalie.TF Certified DOPE Award.”

It’s not perfect, and only a small fraction of the game has been completed, but the experience of re:Dreamer is a substantial one, filled with dizzying highs and passion sewn throughout every facet. From the characters to the presentation to the background and lore, everything is rendered with meticulous detail and an abundant personality that makes it a truly special game. re:Dreamer is great, and if you are a TSF/TG/gender bender enthusiast, I implore you to experience it for yourself.

In addition to preparing this review, I also prepared a flowchart for this game. While there is an official flowchart included with the game’s files, I’m not fond of how it arranges certain things, uses certain variables, and it does not actually feature many minor options available to players. 

Also, in case anybody wants to update this flowchart while I go on my year-long break, here’s the XML file I used to make this flowchart in I also used the font Gilroy for this flowchart, as that is the default font for text in re:Dreamer.

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  1. noelle

    I haven’t played this title for a couple of years now, it seems like a lot has been added to it! I’ve decided to support the Patreon and try this version for myself ^^