I am a huge fan of the game Mirror’s Edge; I loved the first-person parkour of the title and was sorely disappointed in the prequel Catalyst. One can only play the first game so many times before getting bored of the short campaign and challenge maps. However, the folks at 5 Bit Games seemed to have shared that sentiment. Deadcore is a pleasant mix of plenty of favorite game mechanics from all over the spectrum. You’ve got Mirror’s Edge, Portal and Super Mario Bros 2 all meshed into one and it makes for an entertaining and pretty darn good looking experience.
The story of this game is a pretty simple one. You find yourself falling through fog and electrical storms only to find yourself at the bottom of a tower. You remember nothing but somehow know that you must get to the top of this tower. Armed with nothing but your “Switchgun,” you start your long ascent into the ether. Unfortunately you don’t just get to jump your way easily up this tower. The builders left plenty of traps, tricks and puzzles for you to conquer as you ascend. There are multiple paths that you can take to the top; just be sure to choose the road less traveled. That road usually has less turrets and obstacles for you, but that path is also hard to spot. Jump, shoot and jump you must, or you will never see what is at the top of the tower.
One might think that getting to the top of the tower would be daunting; seeing as this game is making the jump from PC to console, they would be wrong. As with most first-person games, the right trigger is camera movement and the left trigger actually moves your character. That’s the easy part, what threw me off was the fact that to jump you had to press the left trigger. After a few failed jumps, because muscle memory told me to press A, I finally got the hang of it and wasn’t continually sent back to the “checkpoint.” If you do find yourself falling to certain doom though, you can press Y and be whisked away to the last “checkpoint” you were at. The “checkpoints” are strewn about the tower very liberally, so you won’t have to re-do certain tough parts over and over. When you get the Switchgun, your life gets somewhat easier, you press right trigger to shoot your Switchgun at turrets that are trying to knock you off the tower and blocks that shoot air at you. When you shoot them, they turn off for a limited amount of time. You have to get good at running, jumping and shooting and moving on so you don’t get knocked off.
The look and feel of this game is pretty amazing as well. They programmed the jumps to actually give you vertigo if you’ve got a weak stomach and the tower is not a boring place to be. The tower looks like Mass Effect and Tron had a really tall lovechild. The colors are vibrant, the special areas you need to get to are very distinct, and the turrets and air blocks are easy to spot and shoot. The developers were even nice enough to make you somewhat of a superhero as you can double jump and you can float around to your destination like Princess Peach did in Super Mario Bros 2. Those mechanics look great in the tower, and there is no buffering or slowdown at all. If the place wasn’t a huge death trap and I wasn’t afraid of heights, I wouldn’t mind renting a room here due to ambiance. While the game is nice to look at and fun to play, it gets very repetitive. I would find myself wanting to play other games on my Xbox One because I grew weary of jumping and shooting and falling over and over. 5 Bit Games needed to add a bit more diversity to the levels.
Deadcore is a very good game that like most other games does have a few drawbacks. The graphics look great, the game controls well and the premise is a very different one. However, the story is lacking and the game is insanely repetitive which may make it a non-purchase for some folks. I enjoyed this game in small spurts (due to the repetitiveness), my love for Mirror’s Edge and the Portal-esq gun brought me a lot of fun. I just wish that there had been more gameplay types other than timed-runs. I cannot stand being timed in a game, even if level completion isn’t part of the process. Games are meant to be enjoyed and adding a timer to any level makes me dislike them; I’m looking at you Dead Rising. However, if you are a fan of platformers and enjoyed the parkour antics in Mirror’s Edge, you will not be disappointed in this title.
An Xbox One code of Deadcore was provided by Bandai Namco for review purposes.