2016 GotY Devil Daggers summoned on GOG

THE GREATEST

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.

Check out Adam’s Devil Daggers review for more. Heck, we’ve called it one of the best PC games too. It is GOOD.

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 is £2.99 on GOG, which includes a 25% launch discount. It’s for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s still on Steam too, of course.

Devil Daggers: it’s good.

15 Comments

  1. kalirion says:

    Hmm, I have it on my Steam backlog. Is it really that good? I guess “endless arena shooter” is what put me off, I usually prefer my games with a bit more structure.

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      particlese says:

      It really is that good, but how much someone will enjoy it is a hard question. With some headphones and a mind which enjoys a bit of action here and there, it should at the very least be an exciting minute ending with “nope!”, and I would recommend giving it a try unless you’re at particular risk of heart attacks.

      The “what” and “when” of the spawns is rigidly defined in the game (with a static loop of spawns at the “end”), and your hand upgrades come after you’ve collected specific quantities of the gems the enemies give up upon dying, so there’s a chance to plan out your general actions up to the point those plans collapse, but there’s no narrative or procession of maps or anything like that. One could read all sorts of things into it, if that’s one’s thing, though – especially with the “dagger room”/”dagger lobby” where the weapon lies, ready for the taking and showing which large time interval you’ve previously survived to. (0, 60, 120, 250, and 500 seconds, I believe.)

    • MajorLag says:

      If you already own it, give it a whirl. You’ll find out pretty quickly if you’re going to like it or not. I personally didn’t care for it, but can see the appeal.

  2. TimePointFive says:

    This game is only half-decent until the 6th or 7th death when you get into a groove and then you get into a trance. Then it becomes transcendent.

    Then you peak at 50 seconds for while and the seething rage picks up and you ragequit for a week.

    Then you pick it up again and max to like 2-3 minutes. Then ragequit.

    Repeat.

  3. Catterbatter says:

    It shares a leaderboard with the Steam version, which is nice. You can create an account with Sorath right on the main menu in-game if you want to share your own times and replays, and you can login as a guest if you don’t. You can still view other players’ best times and replays without creating an account. GOG forums are howling about “third-party DRM,” but really… if you’re going to take a strong position on DRM, it would probably help to know what DRM is.

  4. Wilson Deluxe says:

    Hold on, is Alice secretly in Girls Aloud? Is that why they haven’t released an album in ten years, because she’s been doing the news for RPS?

  5. Jernau Gurgeh says:

    That looks like absolute hell. I’m going to have to light some joss sticks, lie down and visualise playing Dear Esther in slow motion in my minds eye in order to cleanse my chakras of all that unnecessarily frenetic Satanic ultra-violence.

    • fenriz says:

      heh absolutely agreed.

    • fenriz says:

      or even Deus Ex, incidentally with the same initials.

      My idea is that while these games prove the versatility of videogames and how pretty much anything can be fun, they tend to ignore that the message they spread is “see? this is a succesful game, so games can be stupid because so are gamers”

      • Jernau Gurgeh says:

        Oh, I have no problem with the game existing in itself or with anyone who might enjoy it. It’s just really not the sort of thing for me these days, on account of me being an old fart with the twitch response of a sloth that has been smoking ‘jazz cigarettes’.

        • fenriz says:

          well there you go, that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? We don’t give a damn about others or the media, we’re too self-centred on our daily physiological needs.

          I think both playing and making games, we should be less self-centred, think what is best for both our minds and for the media itself, before as usual when it reaches the public they constantly remind us how videogames are for loners and psycho murderers and at best a waste of time… and we don’t give shit, because again, we only care about our instincts and needs.

          I’m not saying there should absolutely be NO games like these… just saying we should be more aware of the effect it has on people and the reputation of videogames. So because such reputation now couldn’t be lower, most AAA games should be mature, not childish.

  6. fenriz says:

    I understand that if you’re indie, you need to stay simple, intuitive, cheap yet ingenious and quirky enough to get fame and earn money, but for this game, goty 2016? c’mon.

    Videogames can be based on simple flashy gameplays, and as long as they do it for the indie, that’s fine, but to make this Goty means all games can be like this. let’s instead try to move forward, and go toward immersive simulations, complexity, ethics, depth of interaction.

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      particlese says:

      I think you’ll find RPS’s X of the Year choices are the result of a proprietary, fully objective, and quite rigorous evaluation process. There’s no real point in objecting unless you have an alternative model or at least result to present.

      (intended to be pointed but friendly sarcasm)

      • fenriz says:

        Oh. Well first of all i did present an alternative model: complexity; Deus Ex model; choices; freedom; interaction; going at least “toward” simulations; moving forward instead of backward. That’s a way.

        And cmon, you can’t be serious. It’s an “objective process of evaluation” that a game of the year should be a game where someone shoots dagger at flying skulls? What kind of message transpires? Are we actually resigned with the idea the whole world has about us that we’re pretty much morons?

        So you’re saying that it’s objective and has to be accepted by all that a videogame doesn’t need depth, but a superficial though ingenious quirk that’s enough for an ENTIRE game? is RPS stating that videogaming doesn’t need anything but a cute idea that makes an addictive gameplay?

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          particlese says:

          Ugh, sorry. Seems that didn’t come out right. I was trying to make the point that RPS writes up their evaluations as largely subjective enjoyment-related things, with perhaps some voting involved when actual lists of games are produced, if I understand correctly. It’s kinda their thing and part of why I like ’em.

          Regarding my comment about suggesting an alternative: I had managed to not notice you wrote some relevant comments above, though I did read them, so apologies for that unnecessary comment. I agree that more games should be made for the betterment of all, but please don’t forget it’s also important/useful/illustrative/etc to do something with a relatively small scope exquisitely well, as Sorath has done with Devil Daggers. When properly examined, they can help guide the building of relevant aspects of the more complex projects you mention. They can simultaneously be really satisfying to play, regardless of whether they’re an “endless arena shooter” or a brilliant work of interactive fiction. Which is nice.