Title: Devil Daggers
Platform: Windows, Steam
Reviewed on: Windows
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 7th March 2016
Devil Daggers is an odd beast, a beast that requires dedication, caution and the willpower to bounce back from each savage beating after the other. I’ve submitted myself to this brutal purgatory several times now; while I can only learn to celebrate the smallest of victories as I learn its intricacies I can safely say this simplistic shooter keeps drawing me back in.
Much like everyone else, this small and deceptively simple fps Devil Daggers lures all that are hungry to climb the leaderboards and defeat the beast, for glory, bragging rights, and some sort of masochistic enjoyment.
Should you be another daring challenger willing to brave the depths of what can only be described as hell (for modern cover shooters), your playthrough will begin in a pitch black void illuminated by a solitary floating dagger. Of course your only course of action is to examine it, and your punishment for this crime shall commence as you enter the arena about to take on the ghoulish onslaught. Within mere seconds you will hear the low hum of death that will slowly fill the void and with it the first of many skull encrusted totems floats towards you.
To combat the menagerie of floating skulls, arachnid horrors and spires of nightmarish imagery your hand appears to have made a pact with the dagger giving you the ability to stream daggers from your palm.
You can either hold to rapid fire or click for a shotgun-
Dispatching some of certain monstrosities will net you blood red gems that will move towards you (so long as you’re not firing daggers), learning this is key as accumulating these gems amplifies your power and unlocks abilities such as a barrage of homing daggers. Of course the longer you're not firing the more the deceptively small arena fills with nightmare inducing horrors more than willing to paint your innards across the stone tiles.
Now while I’m fully aware of my playstation era bias, Devil Daggers strikes an almost perfect balance with its aesthetics. It’s very reminiscent of the progenitor of fully 3D FPS’ Quake coupled with the aesthetics of the first Silent Hill. Devil Dagger scratches into the deep recesses of my nostalgia with unfiltered textures, low poly hellspawns and jittering animations helping cement the horrifically satisfying visuals.
The opressingly bleak atmosphere is further crystallized with a fantastic barrage of eerie sound production. There is no soundtrack to accompany your descent into the void (bar one that plays if you leave the game on the main menu), instead your tale is sung from the cacophony of corpses and bone crunching otherworldly horrors. Each carries its distinct note giving audio cues to the player while piling on the almost claustrophobic symphony.
I can’t recall a shooter that’s captured this feeling, but what started off as a love hate relationship just keeps having me come back for more. I would love to see a spiritual or direct sequel that offers more than a survival mode as Devil Daggers is arguably lacking in content. But that is a testament to how much I now adore this masochistic game, each time I learn a new technique or perfect a segment I can feel a natural and rewarding progression (small as it may be). You can also freely view other’s records allowing you to possibly pick up new tips or develop your own playstyle further but it must be said that Devil Daggers’ brutal level of entry can be off putting for many. While I’ve came to accept it, it can be absolutely soul destroying as even the minutest of mistakes will likely carry an instant reset penalty to what could have been a fantastic run.
Despite utilizing simplistic gameplay mechanics Devil Daggers delivers a surprisingly fresh and addictive experience. Make no mistake though this game will utterly crush you time and time again with it’s borderline impossible difficulty. Even after four hours I still feel like a novice and can only manage a time just shy the three minute mark (currently placed 4129th out of a growing 29372 players). But once you find your rhythm, that feeling of entering the zone and beating your own record will have you coming back for more Devil Daggery every time.
This is one nightmare you’ll want to relive again and again.
Disgustingly awesome aesthetics,
Simplistic yet challenging gameplay,
Highly enjoyable in short bursts,
Fluid controls and gameplay.
Lacking in content,
Occasionally feels luck based.
Devil Daggers scores a devilishly fantastic 8/10.