Our favourite game of 2016, Devil Daggers, has escaped the shackles of Steam and is now sold on GOG too. It’s not of this world, a brutal score attack arena FPS which swarms with skulls and communicates by roars, hisses, and wibbles. If you’re particular about storefronts and have been holding out, get stuck in. Even if you’re not into the idea of an intense score attack arena shooter, £3 to fill your ears and eyes with a game which looks and sounds like no other isn’t half-bad. And if you have to play Devil Daggers intensely to improve enough to reach its best sights and sounds, well, so be it.
So there you are, in the darkness, on a round stone platform. You have a hand which can fire a stream of daggers or blast a big whomp of them. Then tentacled spires rise and start spitting out flocks of skulls, grinding their teeth as they swarm towards you. Shoot these skulls or they will kill you. Then bigger skulls arrive, laughing as they chase you down. Then floating skullspiders who suck your power-up gems and spit out eggs. Then giant coiling skullsnakes. Then… it could be hours before you see any of this. When we played Devil Daggers in the RPS Summer Games, most people barely broke one minute – dying shortly after the first new enemy types appear.
I’m not great at Devil Daggers–my record is five minutes and the world record is past twenty–but here, look how intense it gets:
That’s it. Shoot daggers at skulls. Kill skulls to collect power-up gems. Use stronger daggers to kill stronger skulls. Try to survive as long as you can. All the while, dodge and weave and duck and dive to avoid horrors you’re not even looking out. It’s probably more important to hear what’s behind you than see what’s in front, dodging around a sonic map of the arena. Agh, and it sounds so good. So, so good.
I’d recommend cajoling a few friends into also playing to get some leaderboard rivalry going. The great replay system means you can easily watch anyone’s top run on the leaderboards, which is nice. Do admire the people at the top. And, pro tip: you can turn the replay speed way down, alt-tab out, and enjoy it simply as groaning music.
Young Matthew recently looked at Devil Daggers mods shaking up the level layout and spawning patterns, if you’re a jaded dagger-deviller want to shake it up.
Devil Daggers: it’s good.