Have You Played… Devil Daggers?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

So this might be a weird one as Devil Daggers [official site] only came out a little while ago but I’m asking because, alongside the question “Have you played?”, I want to ask “Are you still playing?”

Devil Daggers is a kind of arena of skulls and demons and death with a pleasingly lo-fi aesthetic and great sound design. I’m terrible at it but I remember it consumed my friends list for about a week and then… nothing. I haven’t heard a single mention.

What I’m trying to get a feel for is the long tail of Devil Daggers – whether it has a core community of RPS readers who will still be playing it for months, even years, or whether it’s a brief and passionate fling of a game which captivates for a handful of sessions and then you drift on to other challenges.

So… are you still playing Devil Daggers?


  1. The_Player says:

    Yeah, I tried my best to get the Devil Dagger, religiously trying to beat my score over and over, every day, until I finally realized that it’s not for me to beat it. 500 seconds is too much. Shame. That’s one achievement I’d really wish I could boast about.

  2. RookTBK says:

    I picked it up a few weeks ago and it quickly became a huge time sink. I lost so many hours to the ‘one more run’ mentality and even Binding of Isaac didn’t do that to me. Hit a bit of a wall at around the 200 second mark but every time that I died I could always pinpoint what my mistakes were and attempt to resolve them. I’m happy though as 200-ish seconds puts me in the top 5% of players on the leaderboard and I can get there fairly consistently. Going off the WR replay it’ll take just a tonne of practice to get further up and just a bit more confidence in farming earlier stages that I just don’t have yet.

    • RookTBK says:

      I also found it really scratches my Starcraft/general strategy itch. Start with a general idea of what to expect and go ahead with a starting strategy to counter it then adjust to whatever is coming at you and react as best you can to get back in control and either succeed and keep going or fail and start again. There is so much information provided in the sound effects alone from the dull hum of the spawners to the scuttling of the giant spider-skulls and the swoop of a stray skull whizzing past your head. There is a surprising amount of depth and interaction to what is essentially a PvE arena shooter.

  3. fish99 says:

    I got to the top 500 with 359 seconds (which took over 50 hrs), but then other games came along. I’m sure I’ll go back when there’s a lull in new releases, I’d also like to hit 500 seconds and maybe kill the boss.

    I’m not sure the game necessarily gets harder past the 200 second mark, it’s just a continual process of learning the waves and getting stuff killed efficiently.

    • thelastpointer says:

      I think it does get harder. Learning the waves is not very difficult, but there are more enemies, which means you have less room for errors.
      For example, I can get away with the first eviscerator (centipede) escaping with two or three gems, but if I don’t kill it when it comes up next time, the run is basically over. There are just too much things to control and I can’t keep up with it.

      • fish99 says:

        That’s why I said after 200 seconds. By that point, the first wormy thing is long dead, you’ve got the final weapon and you’ve survived another 30 seconds with a higher density of enemies. From 200-350 seconds I didn’t see another big jump.

  4. dethtoll says:

    Love the PSX visual vibe it’s got going on but not my kind of gameplay.

    Monster designs are outta this world tho.

  5. Day0ne says:

    This didn’t grab me at first, seeing other player’s 10 minute runs put me off. but I am now playing more than ever. No longer quite so afraid of the skittering spinal slimes :p

  6. lowprices says:

    No. Played it for around 8 hours and got to a high score of 195 seconds. Then I spent 2 more hours struggling to match it. I’ve finally accepted that the amount of time I’d have to put in to get better is beyond what I’m willing to put in. Still one of my favourite games of the year so far, mind.

  7. aoanla says:

    I was planning on picking this up, but still haven’t – using a laptop 90% of the time nowadays means that I pretty much have to reserve mouse-requiring action games for the short periods when I’m on my desktop. The aesthetic is really appealing, though (I do actually have fond memories of Quake), and I like the idea of the v short replay loop.

  8. thelastpointer says:

    Of course. Highscore thread go!

  9. Dr. Raven Darktalon Blood says:

    Still playing allmost every evening, put about 70 hours into in total (oh snap) and my record is 423 seconds.
    I saw the chandelier ONCE, and then got so stressed I jumped out of the arena while dodging nothing in particular.

    I’m still enjoying it, mostly being pushed so hard by the difficulty, and learning new techniques to more effectively deal with certain baddies.

    Usually I don’t like difficult games and trying hard to get good at them, but Devil Daggers’ short rounds takes most of the frustration out of failure for me.

    I also really like the pure shootyness of it.

  10. Viral Frog says:

    I played a few hours, got bored, moved on. Fun game, cool idea, but just didn’t hold me. I don’t care about leaderboards at all, so that probably helped push me away quicker than most. I think I ended up with a 92 second high score.

  11. cluddles says:

    Nope. I’ve played about an hour in total and mostly bounced off it, couldn’t get past about 70 seconds and didn’t feel like I was making any progress so I’m not really motivated to persevere.

    I do love the aesthetic, but I’ve recently found myself drifting back to Super Hexagon for that fail-within-a-minute fix instead.

  12. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    According to our WAYPTWAEWAEODTWAPAPEWPEWPEW comments, there are at least two or three of us, but the comments here tell a better story, of course.

    Anyway, heck yeah I’m still playing! Pretty much every day since release, in fact, but I usually can’t tolerate even half an hour before I become uselessly shakey with adrenaline and my smile threatens to rip my face in half. Still, Steam says I have 12.6h on the clock (so averaging ~12min/day), and I’ve worked my way up to 209.5s with regular runs over 180s. The progress has been steady with large error bars, and as I’ve become more familiar with various aspects of it, it’s gotten more amusing to watch myself and others play and make mistakes, recover, flip out, learn, etc. I imagine it’s similar to the kick people get out of watching esports of games they’re super in to, but here there’s no direct interaction, so it’s more akin to most parts of track & field than it is to something like foot-to-ball.

    I don’t think there’s been another game which has fired up my sense of competitiveness so consistently for so long, and I have no doubt I’ll have similar things to say a couple months down the road.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Also: The fact that the dev collects enough info to see how many times people have died and how long they’ve lasted (granted, that’s not much info) makes me hope they’ve also collected enough info to show some sort of aggregated survival time trends (and maybe even some multi-dimensional statistical awesomeness revealing various classes of people, like those who abandon this game quickly, play it in spurts, play it in long sessions, have spikey/smooth mouse movement tendencies, have consistent/inconsistent run times, …) and death heat maps and enemy statistics and such. I would love to see that sort of thing.

  13. ariston says:

    Played it for 20 minutes. Chuckled, cursed, cursed some more, then found something better to do. Which wasn’t particularly difficult.

  14. metaly says:

    I think I was in the middle of another game around the time this came out, and since then it completely slipped my mind. I’ll try it out this week—thanks for the reminder!

  15. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    No, never did. I should have bought this instead of SUPERHOT.

  16. caff says:

    I’ve spent more time watching the replays of the top of the leaderboard than I have actually playing the game. It’s quite a marvel of old skool hardcore arcade.

  17. Ejia says:

    So is DD sort of a shooty version of Super Hexagon, then? With high difficulty, a low-fi aesthetic, and game length measured in seconds?

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I think that’s a fair comparison, yeah. I almost made it myself, but my comment was already too big, and I didn’t feel like articulating it at the time anyway. :)

      Among other differences between the two, I find the comparatively fuzzy and long-term pattern recognition/memorization of DD to be more tractable than SH’s “you must react immediately per chunk or DIE” approach, though I do enjoy both games. I also feel like SH ups the difficulty significantly just by distracting you with various modes of stage movement simultaneously, whereas DD throws stuff at you with predictable timing (I haven’t yet figured out if the placement is random) and no distractions other than the stuff you didn’t kill (and KB&M FPS controls, if that’s not your thing), so it’s entirely your fault when you die. Both are excellent challenges, but I’ve found DD’s to be more enjoyable.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Edit: Yes, yes, it’s totally my fault when I die in Super Hexagon, too, but I never reached the point where it felt that way, and it’s felt that way the whole time I’ve been playing Devil Daggers.

  18. Toadsmash says:

    Still playing. 80 hours to make 352 seconds. I don’t think I’ll be happy with my record till I’ve at least taken down the leviathan, but at this point I’d settle for more consistently making it to even the 200 second mark. I’ve only survived long enough to even see the superworm spawns a couple times. My consistency is just crap.

  19. Stevostin says:

    I did play intensively the first time, maybe 10h in two sessions. It felt like I could not stop playing.

    Then I immediately stopped totally.

    The I came back to it, in a more relaxed way. I was surprised to see I quickly reached and beat my previous wall. Played another long streaK

    Then I stopped.

    Will probably launch it again, and play until my hand aches again. I don’t know about the daggers, but that game sure is devilish.

    • Stevostin says:

      BTW, my goal isn’t anymore to beat my score (sure I wouldn’t mind to do it again, although it’s clear it’s more and more difficult to pull out) but to loose myself in a semi conscious psychedelic state. I am here to kill the beasts, I don’t mind when in the run they pop up, killing the first skull on start is still just as enjoyable as it ever was!

  20. vahnn says:

    I loved it for about 24 minutes. Then I was bored with it by 25 minutes.

  21. freeze says:

    yeah I played a lot of it daily for a few weeks until I clocked up 77 hours so far. I got to the top 100 but I’m being pushed out by the other people getting better by playing it daily too (that was my idea damnit). can we post links here? videos on my youtube channel keyserxx :) having played a load of Quake 2 (some 3) back in the day I already had a feel for the gameplay/bunnyhopping. I’m taking a break from it, since gone back to playing some TF2/L4D2/TellTale. I do like to watch how its done by the top few freakishly good players. FYI some players are clearly using aimbots (none in top 100 I’ve watched so far but random guys around top 400) but I’m not aware of a way to report them. None of my friends seem interested in getting them game, I guess they’re all FPS’d out.

  22. DevilishEggs says:

    It seduced me with Quake aesthetic then left me feeling a bit empty.

  23. dorobo says:

    Last night got from 900~ to 700~ spot.. felt good. For me it gets better the more i play it. I hate those gem munching spiders. Watching a replay or two really helps when stuck.

  24. Caiman says:

    It become so utterly addictive for a couple of weeks, I couldn’t play anything else, so it was absolutely worth it. But I hit an ability wall and realised that I needed to unlearn my technique to get past it, so decided to take a break. I will return, but right now Dark Souls has me. I credit my renewed interest in Dark Souls to Devil Daggers though; it taught me that repetition and slowly learning the best approach to enemies can be enormously enjoyable.

  25. Ziks says:

    I’m still playing! I’m in the top 100 now, after ~48 hours. I can’t think any other game that gives me such an intense rush.

  26. haowan says:

    I would still be playing if I hadn’t had a baby

  27. Iowcatalyst says:

    Yep still playing, just turned it off. Now played 136 hours of it and still love it. I just want to get to the big boss thing. I’m on 391.8 seconds, just 8 ish to go.