Deadcore is a first-person platformer from 5 Bits Games. With a heavy emphasis on speed and difficulty, the game tasks you with navigating through expansive levels and challenges.
The game has a very clear focus on speed, it even has an arcade style speedrun mode where players log their time to complete a level and try to reach the top of the leaderboards. Deadcore is at its best when you can keep up momentum and speed through levels, but there are many times when the obstacles they present force you to slow down.
Frequently this would kill the momentum for me, and the challenges they had in the level forced me to restart sections numerous times. These challenges came in many forms, such as various enemies, lasers that rotate around an area, or fans that would blow you off a platform. Now normally these obstacles wouldn’t pose much of a threat, but often the level would throw them at you with such high frequency that it is almost impossible for an average player to keep track of everything.
Often it would feel like luck whether I made it through an area unscathed or not, and usually there would be a place right after that with even more laser walls or enemies. Ultimately these challenges made the game feel more like trial and error, and meant to be replayed over and over, it even comes with a dedicated respawn button. Challenges like this are meant to feel rewarding once you pass them, but they weren’t so in Deadcore because I knew the only thing waiting for me was more of the same.
Unfortunately, this made Deadcore feel more frustrating than fun and retrying an area over and over again felt tedious. While these little areas between respawn points in a level were difficult and annoying, the level design as a whole is great. Levels have multiple paths, and many secrets hiding around them, and I quite enjoyed using the skills at my disposal to see where I could go in the level.
Although the level design was good, each level felt exactly the same, with the same designs and same look. Eventually every level started to feel like it was blending together, with the only amount of variation being in the new gameplay elements they introduce.
Overall Deadcore is a mixed bag to me, I love it in concept, but the difficulty makes it very frustrating. I am generally a very patient guy, and I love difficult games like Dark Souls, but Deadcore’s difficulty sometimes felt like it needed luck or memorization instead of pure player skill. The speedrunning mode is a nice addition, and the game is exciting when you are able to race through a level. Sadly, the overly difficult nature, and repetitive level design, makes Deadcore a tedious experience, and fans of a challenge or speedrunning might find some enjoyment out of it, but average players like me will most likely be turned off by its frustrating nature. 6/10
*This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, it is also available on PS4 and PC*
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