I’ll be honest: whenever I hear “first-person” and “platformer” in the same sentence next to one another, my eyes roll. This experiment at hybridization has been met with mixed results, but suffice to say, platforming generally works best when players can see outside of their character’s body and gauge their actions and trajectory accordingly. At least, that’s what I thought before I had a stab at DeadCore. It’s not often that a game comes along to challenge our preconceptions, but this is one such example where I’m pleased to be proven wrong.
In DeadCore (previously known as DeadLock) players are thrust into an electronic-themed, abstract world where everything seems to orbit a massive tower of colossal proportions. Scaling the tower seems to be the order of the day, and without much fanfare, you’ll soon be headed upwards on assorted floating platforms and beams of energy which act like springs. Of course, reaching the summit of this Tower-of-Babel-on-steroids will be no easy task, and mastery of basic movement and simple tricks like dashing and double-jumping will be essential to your success. If you’re thinking that Mirror’s Edge is showing its head here, you’d be right, though DeadCore is an altogether simpler, more linear experience.
Your character is equipped with a gun, although it isn’t for dispatching foes so much as it’s for activating and deactivating switches and triggers. Baddies do appear occasionally, though their function is more along the lines of “annoyance” as they emit beams of energy which push you off platforms. I would suggest that the developers try to make these “lost ones” appear less like boxes, so as not to confuse players; I myself fell to my doom a few times because I realized only at the last second that it wasn’t a platform I was headed for.
Be warned, you’ll be dying a lot; the titanic tower’s defences are many, in addition to the ever-present danger of falling to your death. Fortunately, checkpoints are sprinkled liberally around the world and negate any potential frustration. And let it be known, some of the level designs are positively fiendish. It ranks up there along with some of the more sinister designs one may find in Super Meat Boy, and you’ll be cursing the developers with hasty abandon. It’s challenging, good fun and superbly realized, what with the abstract/cyberpunk theme and appropriately electronic soundtrack.
Recently, Bandai Namco have pledged their support for this game. It doesn’t seem to be set for Steam just yet, though. In the meantime, you can purchase it from their Desura page or check out the playable demo if you’re still not convinced. Right now, it’s Windows-only, but we’ve been promised Mac and Linux builds in the foreseeable future. While you sit and let that all sink in, set your neurons firing at the trailer below: