Reviews

Deaths Gambit review – Metroidvania Mon Amie?

Death's Gambit is a game that falls under the fan-made category of ‘Souls-Like', a game that follows the same or similar formula to the 'Dark Souls' series.

As a massive fan and veteran of the Souls series, this was an instant yes for me when it became available for us to review at Reggie’s Reviews.
The game is beautifully designed by White Rabbit with a Metroidvania platform style (games known for being like Castlevania or Metroid) with elements of other games such as Dark Souls (as previously mentioned) and ‘Shadow of the Colossus’, which the devs love playing when they are not making games.

“Bloody Hell… I forgot to fill the Materia Socket!”

The 2D platformer genre is a tried and tested formula for games and one that always shows it colours, especially when running speed runs and challenging ‘Perfectly Legal’ fan-made content.

First things First!

The first thing players must do is to create their character. Options are limited to choosing one of seven classes, each with their own traits and benefits. Players must also select one of seven starting gifts which range from useful to completely pointless.

It becomes quickly evident in ‘Deaths Gambit’ that combat and platforming prowess are the keys to success. Some enemies are weak and only take one or two hits to defeat whilst others will stand there and absolutely destroy players until much later in the game.

“I’ll just stand under it Frank. I’ll probably have to come back in a moment anyway…”

Bosses are sometimes huge, in some cases, players will only see their legs (But not ankles, Deaths Gambit has taste after all!) which is where developer White Rabit so their love for the aforementioned franchises. Who, I might add, sport slightly smaller, but all the same colossal key antagonists.

The Soundtrack of Death

Deaths Gambits music score is great whilst its environmental effects fall in line with the status quo and add to its gothic immersion. I’m always impressed by how indie studios make their titles feel like AAA games with a fraction of the development budget, whilst noting some AAA efforts come across as having little to no budget!

Graphically the game is beautiful and fitting of the genre. Anybody playing Deaths Gambit can really appreciate the art style, thanks for the memories Castlevania. This is given weather players are fans of the genre or not.

“I think you need to get that sword wound looked at, pal…”

Gameplay is smooth and fluid thanks to White Rabbits excellent button mapping. However, being classed as ‘Souls-Like’ comes at a cost, which is most likely going to be an endless cycle of dying and learning to ‘Git Gud’.

Kind of Immortal?

Players learn throughout the opening of Deaths Gambit that they are now in a contract with Death himself, who spares our protagonists soul (for now). Whilst the protagonists’ origin and the path to death isn’t covered initially, he is now in Deaths service. Protagonist ‘Sorum’ is (Luckily for players) immortal, meaning he will resurrect at death statues where the player can level up or reclaim lost feathers, which are left behind when ‘Fake Dying’

There is plenty to do, with a wealth of items to find and equip, stat boosts to action and potions to help ease players ‘Butt Hurt’ reports. If the game is posing as too much of a challenge, I found camping at a death statue and resurrecting enemies is a great way to farm items. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

“Or So Lionel Thought…”

Verdict:

Gameplay: 9

Graphics: 9

Presentation: 8

Sound: 9

Overall Score: 8.5

Though this game is fantastic for a souls player like myself, some people may be put off by Deaths Gambits steep difficulty curve. Bit-Style platformers are still one of my championed genres to this day, furthermore, I can highly recommend playing the game regardless of difficulty, certainly those who love to bask in the glory of Metroidvania. Deaths Gambit is a clear illustration of what Indie Developers have to offer, titles like this certainly turned me on to what is on offer outside of the AAA circuit in our industry.

Formats: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed) & Steam
Price: £15.99 (PlayStation Store)
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Developer: White Rabbit
Release Date: 14/08/2018
Age Rating: PEGI 16+

Review copy provided by publisher

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