This Is What Being Top Of The Leaderboard In Devil Daggers Looks Like

Devil Daggers is brilliant, as Adam explained in his review. It’s a first-person arena shooter with shades of Quake. Part of its appeal is that it doesn’t explain anything about how it’s overlapping enemies and few systems work, meaning each life and death is a process of discovery. Another part of its appeal, however, is that you can press a button on its leaderboard and instantly be watching the replay of that person’s session.

That means you can watch stages of the game far beyond where you’ve reached. They feel a little like spoilers, but they’re also ways to learn and a big part of the reason why I’m enjoying the game. It’s exciting to watch excellent in action. Which is why I’ve recorded the replay of the best time in the world and embedded it below, for you to watch if you so choose.

I like the moments of calm, where player DraQu (who streams the game here) has successfully wiped the board clean and stands and shimmies before the chaos begins again. I love the look of the enemies that I have yet to face myself, which bring to mind not only Quake but Dark Souls for their dignified menace. I love that your weapon becomes immensely more powerful but that terrible panic of being overwhelmed never goes away. I love that DraQu is still top of the leaderboard now, days later, suggesting this is a significant accomplishment.

The video is great, sez I, but I’ve also uploaded it because I have a theory. Part of the appeal of Devil Daggers for me was being dropped into a game I didn’t understand and puzzling out how its enemies and gems worked over time, but that’s not its only appeal and the mystery is not essential. It survives to be interesting and fun after you understand it all. On top of that, I only tried Devil Daggers after being exposed to a full week’s chatter about it by Alice and Adam. Chances are that you don’t have an Adam and Alice in your life to talk about it quite that much, which means you may never play Devil Daggers at all. Maybe you’re more likely to give it a try if you see a bit more of it. 585.3344 seconds of it, even. Or maybe you’ll just understand a little more why this one-level game is exciting us so much.

Devil Daggers is out now via Steam and costs £4/$5.

26 Comments

  1. Kitu14 says:

    I don’t get why you would reupload DraQu’s video instead of just linking his Youtube one, which would benefit to him : link to youtube.com

    • trjp says:

      There’s also a world of ‘erm’ about the legalities of recording other people’s replays which I don’t even know where to start with!

      • Jokerme says:

        Legality of it is the player has no say in this. Replays belong to the game which is developer’s property. So uploading your own replay is same as uploading any other player’s.

        • trjp says:

          Do you have some links to back that up – because the art/assets/sounds clearly belong to the developer but the ‘performance’ of those may be different.

          What you’re saying is that the guitar was made by Fender so they own all the music made with it – in effect.

          No idea if this is legally tested or if anyone would care but in a battle between game developer, game player and person reposting replay – I’d not bet on the latter.

          • Jokerme says:

            Guitar analogy is not good because you buy the guitar but you can’t buy the game, you can only buy a license to play it. Game itself is consistent of lots of assets and art that you can’t buy even for thousands of dollars.

            Copyright laws are old and gameplay videos can easily be taken down by developers of the game. If you are not ready to spend a huge amount of money on lawyers, there is nothing you can do about it. Basically videos of their games belong to developers.

            A similar example is art creation software like Photoshop. Student editions of these software come with prohibition of commercial use of your art even though you created it yourself. As long as you use their tools, it’s their rules. Same for games. As long as you play their games, it’s their rules. You have no say in it.

          • whodafug says:

            Guitar analogy is not good because you buy the guitar but you can’t buy the game, you can only buy a license to play it. Game itself is consistent of lots of assets and art that you can’t buy even for thousands of dollars.

            Depends where in the world you’re located. In the EU, purchasing a software license is exactly the same as purchasing a physical guitar; comes with all the bells and whistles ( including right to resale ). If DraQu is based in the EU then he owns the software, and the performance is very much considered his property.

            Copyright laws are old and gameplay videos can easily be taken down by developers of the game. If you are not ready to spend a huge amount of money on lawyers, there is nothing you can do about it. Basically videos of their games belong to developers.

            Again, not in the EU.

            A similar example is art creation software like Photoshop. Student editions of these software come with prohibition of commercial use of your art even though you created it yourself. As long as you use their tools, it’s their rules. Same for games. As long as you play their games, it’s their rules. You have no say in it.

            Again, not in the EU.

            It really does need clarifying that not everyone lives in the US.

          • Josh W says:

            The problem with that argument is that steam games are licensed not sold, so you can’t get refunds, except that courts decided that distinction was just developers and distributors wangling things towards their interests, so the refunds returned.

            It’s easy to write terms in a contract, but not all of them turn out to be justified and enforcible. In the case of a guitar, there’s absolutely nothing to stop people trying to sell you a license to only apparently own it, except they own the rights to everything you play with it. The only difference is that is clearly not acceptable in that context, both in terms of consumer rights and expectations.

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      Graham Smith says:

      I didn’t realise DraQu had uploaded the replay already. I’ve swapped the embeds around now and added a link to their YouTube channel.

  2. haowan says:

    I agree with this. There is a separation of understanding that an enemy exists and how it behaves, and actually playing against it and knowing it.

    I watched my friend play for a while yesterday, and it was interesting watching him develop a play style and then settle into it – a play style that could have been improved. After he watched some replays, which he at first refused to do, his play improved and he started to get further.

    Practice is important, but so is training.

  3. Jekhar says:

    Ok, tried to understand it one more time. But nope, i still think the gorgeous art style and enemy design is wasted on such a simple, repetitive arena shooter. Sorry.

    I really hope they’ll do some sort of a sequel, with “proper” levels.

    • fearian says:

      I still think the gorgeous art style of Geometry wars was wasted on such a simple repetitive score attack shooter. Sorry. I really hope they’ll do some sort of sequel with “proper” levels.

      I really hope I get a Tetris campaign.

      I really need a Lumines Story.

      I wish Sam and Max had Deathmatch.

      / to end the sarcasm, Devil Daggers has a lot of detail bubbling below the surface that you really don’t get from watching someone play the game at a glance. Did you know that timing the first Spider kill and picking up 10 gems is essential to a solid run? Did you know that gems move away from the player while shooting, but home in when not shooting? Do you know, by feeling, when you have to turn around to dispatch the increasing number of skulls when you are trying to focus down spawners?

      This game has a depth I didn’t expect when I started playing it. And I firmly consider it a multi[layer experience. I wouldn’t still be playing it if my friends weren’t all sharing tips about it. I find the first 40 seconds incredibly relaxing now, something I can feel through rather than think about.

      It’s great. As it is. As it was made to be.

      • Halk says:

        I agree with the first guy. And I love Geometry Wars. Not the first one though, but the one with differently shaped levels, different enemy combinations and attachments. That’s how you do it.

        Or how about a Doom-esque game? That would be great, with this aesthetic. The current DD could be a little arena mode that you throw in for fun.

        They’ve been smarter than me though, now that they got money for this they could use it to make a more fleshed out game. That’s savvy. Me and Jek are just not into it, unfortunately.

        • Jalan says:

          David Syzmanski (Fingerbones, The Moon Sliver, The Music Machine, A Wolf in Autumn) is apparently working on a Doom-esque game (or rather, a retro FPS) but not with the Devil Daggers aesthetic (that I’m aware of, at least).

      • Synesthesia says:

        You are right in the internet.

  4. Wowbagger says:

    I will break the 2 minute barrier and everything will be well again. So if you’ll excuse me I have some skulls to hoover.

  5. PixelsAtDawn says:

    I played this on my channel, and it’s got a fair bit of attention. Sadly I was not very good, but it was nice to give people an intro to the game without spoiling the impressive enemies later on.

    I’ve now managed to up my time to just over a minute and a half, which is quite an achievement for someone of my gaming calibre. Something about it just keeps me coming back. For something where your average ‘run’ is about a minute, the fact I have 5-6 hours logged already probably says more than I ever could!

    • trjp says:

      5-6 hours is a LONG time for a game like this – I’ve played-the-hell out of some arena-shooters and in some cases barely got into “card drop” territory (2 hours)

      In that time you could have played 80+ games – when I was a lad that was £8.00 of 10p’s…

  6. trjp says:

    For me, this and Superhot show the amazing range of work being done in game development (esp on one of the most overused genres) and the extent of current game pricing weirdness too

    Both are FPSes with a unique visual style and their own take on mechanics – both are being really well received – one costs £4 and the other is £18 (full price) which is a WHOPPING difference.

    Welcome to 2016.

  7. dorobo says:

    If someone asks you what it is to be in the zone while playing fps games make em play this for half an hour. And at one point they might get it.

    Also my guess is that adding external crosshair would probably help alot. Im sure someone is using it at this exact moment.

  8. Lord Byte says:

    That “shimmying” is actually a trick to pick up objects quicker that are slowly appearing in the darkness. You’ll see their edges much clearer if you move than stand still and wait for them to appear.

  9. Tekrunner says:

    It kind of looks like there’s a massive difficulty spike at around 9:00 and the game just starts spawning enemies like crazy until you die. Might make it a little difficult to improve much on that run.

    • scannerbarkly says:

      Not really, success in these game largely comes from clearing enemies in a timely fashion. Late in the video the player is starting to fall behind on his clears a little bit and the slow rot has set in, a less skilled player would simply have died a lot quicker and its a testament to this chaps in game awareness that he managed to roll it on as long as he did.

    • Boozebeard says:

      That’s how it looks 99% of the time when you die. The game is about clearing the right enemies at the right speed. It’s on a constant knifes edge between control and overwhelming chaos. Spend too long clearing out a wave at any point and it will very quickly start to look like that. The key will be being more efficient in the seconds before that moment so it doesn’t get that bad.

  10. heretic says:

    I managed about 100 seconds and watching this is just amazing, can’t wait to see what the developers will do next – the sound design is great, shame there isn’t much use for the shotgun-jump though! Would be cool to see people mod this game with modifiers like how quick you run around etc

  11. C0llic says:

    I’ve topped two minutes now (you get a different dagger!) and just that felt like an achievement. Great game.