I often think back to the gaming days of my youth. I thrashed my Atari 2600 and later my Sega Master System for hours, banging my head against the ‘wall of difficulty’ in classic titles… and I loved every minute.
However these days, I am use to AAA games holding my hand and making sure every minute is enjoyable.
When I sat down with DeadCore I was met with the prospect of a pure puzzle game…and I got a bit worried.
DeadCore is an Indie title that came out on PC a couple of years ago. It has finally hit consoles with a very low price-tag (12.95NZD), which is great! It is pretty to look at, even though the aesthetic has a somewhat cliché feeling ‘Scifi-Futuristic-Tron-Neon’ appearance. Importantly though, the actual mechanical feel and movement is slick and precise, obviously crucial in a solid platformer. The shooter mechanics are simply based around shooting a bolt of electricity to disable or enable various mechanisms, allowing the player to progress on-wards. Further player abilities come later, allowing for boosting and jumping higher as the platforming puzzles become more complex.
The levels aren’t complete head scratchers like Portal, if anything they lean more towards skill and twitch timing. Maintaining and managing momentum plays a huge part in completing a level, especially later on. Unfortunately, this is where it fell to bits for me. Even with generous mid-level respawn points that load instantly on death, I eventually got sick of missing a crucial shot on a switch or falling off a platform that took all my concentration to land on. Frankly, I just don’t have the patience I once had. But to be clear, that’s just me. Puzzle platformers by their very definition, live and die by their balance of fun and challenge and DeadCore will be loved by many….. but the challenge got too much for me.
DeadCore actually feels like a PC game from 10-15yrs ago, in both its minimalist appearance and unabashed lack of any context or story. It’s about the challenge and that’s it. Which is great for those who seek a pure experience.
The teenage ‘me’, would have put hours into this game, just to finish levels and get the best times. DeadCore brings a low price tag and super smooth controls….gamers just need to bring time and patience.