We Review DeadCore (PC)

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[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]ake a platformer and mix it with a first-person-shooter, and you get the challenging speedrun title known as DeadCore. Don’t be misled by the name, there are no zombies here. Developed by 5 Bits Games and published by Bandai Namco, the game puts players on a mysterious quest to climb the levels of the ominous Tower as quickly as possible.

The game is described by the developer with the the exposition:

“After an endless fall through magnetic storms…you awaken. Your memory erased, you start exploring the world around you. Someone or something is pushing you higher and higher. Suddenly you spot the most gigantic Tower emerging from the mists. You soon understand that to get the answers to your questions…you have to climb its summit.”

And thus begins the ascent. So you’re not really given much context, but you know that you’ve gotta climb, and the key to the game here is persistence. As you climb across the different platforms leading higher into the Tower, it’s easy to get discouraged somewhere around the hundredth plunge to your doom. But if you’ve reached a checkpoint, you respawn from that marker and don’t have to start from scratch.

A majority of the game consists of jumping and double-jumping, and in the early going of the game, you’ll receive on-screen hints as to when to utilize these different techniques. Soon enough you’ll pick up a SwitchGun which will be used to fire at moving targets which will cause platforms to be set into motion in order to progress throughout the Tower.

deadcore 2
This reminds me of Independence Day…no aliens here, though.

Players can also find artifacts that will unlock new levels and music in Speedrun mode, in which users compete online against one another to complete levels as quickly as possible. While your goal is to ascend the Tower at lightning fast speed, you must first determine the most efficient route to do so by surveying your surroundings. So while the game may seem repetitive at first, it does have a great replay value due to the many different routes that can be explored. Platformers aren’t for everyone, so the repetitive nature of the game could be seen as a detractor for some gamers out there.

The first thing I noticed about DeadCore was how striking the visuals are. 5 Bits definitely put a lot of time into the overall look of the game and the aesthetics of the Tower and all of its intricacies. There’s a bit of a Tron feel to it, so that’s great in my book. But I think the game’s greatest strength is its incredibly creative level design. There is no one right way to progress across the Tower’s levels, but on top of that, figuring out exactly what targets to enable and how to avoid oncoming robots result in a progressively more difficult challenge. Some of the game’s tests are reminiscent of those present in the Portal series, so this is right up your alley if you’re a fan of Aperture Laboratories.

This is one of the more unique titles out there right now due to its platformer-FPS style with incredible visuals. If you can handle dying over and over all in the name of jumping from platform to platform and ascending the Tower (the frustration caused by all of those deaths definitely got the best of me a few times), DeadCore is a game based in creativity that is definitely worth your time.

DeadCore is available now via Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux.

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