Deadcore Review – PS4

Deadcore………Running Into Greatness Or Falling Into The Abyss??

I wasn’t actually sure what the point of this game was at first. It seems fairly obvious that it involves space-like free running and puzzle solving, but there doesn’t appear to be a story or a point to draw you in to wanting to discover the ending, like hundreds of other games. From what I can gather, you have to make your way to the top of the tower. Simple?…. Not really. Frustrating? Yes.

A major hurdle to overcome in this game is the controls. DeadCore is a game with a specific target audience in mind – speed runners. There is a timer on the screen displaying how long you took to complete each level, popping up every time you finish. At first, this is no problem at all, as in many other titles you have times recorded for records etc, for you or your friends to beat. The problem is that the game is extremely frustrating and you end up finding yourself fighting against the clock, and trying not to snap your controller. Like many indie games before it, DeadCore is a port of a PC game that was released on Steam a while ago, meaning originally its controls were mapped to a keyboard and mouse.

Jump ahead to the PS4 version, and you are faced with using analogue sticks to perform mid-air acrobatics and make some frustratingly tight turns as you jump from platform to platform. Luckily DeadCore doesn’t punish falling to your death too severely, with checkpoints well placed throughout each level, generally after each tricky section. Although, every time you fall, it feels like you’re being drawn into Groundhog Day. Here below is the typical layout for Deadcore, and from what I played, the basic building blocks (excuse any pun) of the game as a whole.

The puzzles in DeadCore aren’t too bad once you’ve added in the endless times it’s taken you to work out which cube you need to navigate to. The game basically consists of timing jumps or turning boosts on and off with your SwitchGun, while avoiding cube shaped enemies that try to ram you from your momentary cube of safety. Should you make a mistake and fall into the abyss, you simply respawn at the previous checkpoint. The whole process consists of trial and error and you don’t have to worry too much about losing your progress, but it’s still blood-boiling consistently falling off cubes whilst sprinting through the level to avoid dangers. It was here that the risk of real frustration can kick in, especially when you are required to keep punishing yourself over and over again, particularly in a tricky section.

Here is a teaser trailer of what showcases as a great advert for the game, but unfortunately in my case I found it to be a big build up to something which lacked replay ability.

During my time with DeadCore, frustration took over the enjoyment of what will be there for the stayers of this game. DeadCore does have a simple story from what I can gather, but that is exactly what it is. A basic idea that’s been there before in other forms, but with tricky controls to master and constantly falling without grace. There are no cut scenes or sections of dialogue to plough through which is ok, but ultimately I found that a simple direction or a tip would help in this case. I found that as I progressed through the levels, I was becoming less entitled to carry on with the story at hand. I’m sure there is a story there if you bother to look for it, and if you’re looking for a free running style game with a narrative alongside it, this isn’t your cup of tea.

As I mentioned earlier, the clear target audience for DeadCore is within the speed running community – the gamers among us who push for the fastest time from point A to point B, and if that is you, there is a lot to like about DeadCore; no narrative on show, timing mechanics which record your level completion time, and controls, that once mastered, work well to create a fluid and fast paced game.

Unfortunately for me, a game that showed some promise, disappointed in a lot of areas. There was no real attraction for me to keep continuing through the levels and I soon became disinterested with playing on further. Overall, I’m sure there’s a great game here for players of a certain gameplay style to enjoy but it’s just not for me.


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