Chasing the Unseen is very dreamlike. That’s the plan as you play a Last Airbender wannabee running through a lucid, ever-evolving landscape of beauty, serenity, and the unknown. Then, that level of calm is disrupted by gravity, friction, and some other applied sciences.

A third-person platformer from solo developer Strange Shift Studio, you run through a dreamscape, where in the demo, you’re shadowed by a giant octopus. It won’t attack you, give you the side-eye, nor will it call you horrible names – for ’tis a pleasant beast that moonlights as a climbing frame.

Chasing the Unseen is a floaty parkour of platform action. Besides the tentacle fellow, there aren’t any ‘enemy’ encounters, health bars, coins, or secret paths to unlock. At least, not in the Chasing the Unseen demo. Upon arriving, our tutorial guardian angel informs us that we can climb stuff if we like, though we must pay attention to the stamina gauge – a centred circle that depletes the longer you hold on.

Chasing the Unseen release date
Source: Steam

This was the first similarity with Zelda: Breath of the Wild, promptly followed by a glider that allows our hapless hero to float to ledges below and in the yonder. You don’t need much lift as jumping is floaty, no matter what the premise tells you about it being dreamlike.

Movement is fine, though a couple of elephants are in the room playing with matches and drawing rude pictures on the walls. First is the terrain. Chasing the Unseen looks really nice, calming and… smooth. No, not just that bald bonce, but the textures are soft and welcoming like Omno. There isn’t any loose shingle to slip on nor jagged edges to prevent you from progressing; instead, you’ll be running along and then suddenly sliding off a platform or floating into an invisible wall.

The second elephant is the camera, and it’s crucial to be proactive with your analogue sticks if playing with a controller. The demo isn’t fast-paced, though some movements cause the camera to disappear behind objects, prompting a death fall. However, ’tis like a dream, so death is never the end, and Cairn savepoints will be the place of your rebirth.

Chasing the Unseen demo - Mushroom
Mushroom. Source: Steam

Luckily, old Tentacle-Face can be interacted with, and you can elaborately ride them. After being unable to ascend, I noted the octopus was completing a loop around the platforms above, so I hitched a ride. It makes sense that gripping onto them will consume stamina, and you’ll have to manage this while moving about. It worked initially, but after repeated attempts, I’d fall through its body each time I let go, regardless of where I was. Mildly frustrating.

Still, let’s not rip the arsehole out of this upcoming game, for it is only a demo, and it shows a lot of sparkle. Running through the landscapes without fear of being jumped by some spikey punk or charity salesperson is a breath of fresh air, and the colossal creature that fills the sky is brilliant. If the jumping were less floaty and there were some adjustments to the character so it didn’t fall through solid objects, the experience would be even more dreamy.

The Chasing the Unseen demo takes about 20 minutes to complete, depending on your luck with the octopus. Check this out, as there’s no harm in playing a demo, then once you’re done, support the dev by adding it to your wishlist if you, too, can see the potential this lucid platformer has to offer.