Speedrunners have been going for well over around two and a half decades, with players competing to complete games in the fastest possible time. We’ve certainly moved on from the early days of Doom mods and trials, but it’s only in the past few years that scene has become as culturally accepted as it is now. You can thank the rise of YouTube and Twitch for that.
Of course, this burgeoning community has presented an opportunity for game developers to market to the specific speedrunning audience. One such game is Deadcore, a first person platformer with a heavy emphasis on speedrunning. If you need proof of that, look at the gun you carry throughout the game; it displays the time that has elapsed on your current playthrough. No need for any fancy Twitch overlays here, Speedrun Streamer Person.
Deadcore offers gamers the simplest of premises: there’s a tower, and it’d be real sweet if you climbed it. It’s hardly going to win awards for story of the year, but that’s not the point. The story itself is secondary to the speedrunning, as you battle against yourself and the tower’s various obstacles to complete the game in the fastest time.
Those obstacles in question start off simple, but quickly become unforgiving tests of speed and precision. Suffer no delusions, Deadcore is a hard game. If we were to use the recent comparison/meme that Crash Bandicoot is the Dark Souls of platformers, then Deadcore is the Trials HD. The obstacles and guarding robots that you find aren’t your enemy, it’s the passage of time, and the only penalty in death is the time it takes to redo the previous section.
The controls themselves are simple enough, with jumping mapped to a trigger instead of the traditional A button. It might take some getting used to unless you’re a Halo Bumper Jumper veteran, but it makes the game easier overall. The extra abilities also help increase your mobility and overall difficulty, with dash and gravity modifier being fairly self explanatory. Those two are eased into the fray and soon become an essential part of your repertoire, but the final ability, a rocket jump, is just awful.
Designed to boost your jump height, the effects are seemingly negligible at best, non-existent at worst. Perhaps the fault lies at my door for not properly understanding its capabilities, but besides one high wall after you obtain the ability, you’ll never need to use it again. Pointless really.
The other big downfall is that it falls into the same big trap as most first person platformers; a lack of situational awareness. On more than a few occasions, the path to the next checkpoint was unclear, with the solution often being a rogue booster pad placed in an obtuse location. Certain gravity puzzles also suffer from this, as the next jump isn’t immediately obvious.
Perhaps that’s intentional, as it forces those speedrunner folks to memorise troublesome spots so they don’t get stuck later. But that mentality speaks to the game as a whole really, as it will either have no replay value or tonnes. If you’re the type of guy who consider Games Done Quick to be appointment viewing, this is practically an essential purchase. For everyone else, Deadcore is a brief yet enjoyable, one and done affair.
Deadcore is available on the Xbox Store for the price of £6.39. Check the trailer and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Grip Digital and 5 Bits Games’ first person platformer Deadcore offers fluid gameplay and challenging puzzles for a very reasonable price. Only those interested in competing for best time will find any replay value, however.