Devil Daggers is like somebody’s black metal or dark ambient demo tape on cassette. It’s lo-fi, has few tracks (in this case, one track) which may be very long or very short. Devil Daggers is also a first person shooter that is stripped down to it’s barest essentials and is one hell of an intense game.
How it works is this: you enter the level, which is basically a square arena. You have two firing modes: continuous fire and shotgun. You can jump, strafe and shoot,moving at a very high speed. Your goal is to survive as long as possible and try to top the leaderboards. It’s pure arcade fun and survival is not easy and trying to last long is almost tantric, requiring an immense level of skill. My highest score so far is just under 90 seconds, but the pure concentrated tension can feel like an eternity.
Whilst I introduced this review with a music comparison, there is however the fact that this game has no music. It is terrifying ambience that come from the croaking of the flying skulls, to the scrambling and scuttling of the uranium green spiders and god knows what other horrors lie beyond, for I am not yet good enough at the game to even reach the point of their spawning.
Visually, the games uses a lo fi 3D aesthetic, with unfiltered textures, jittery polygons and enemies that appear more or less pixelated depending on distance, which is reminiscent of the technical qualities of Playstation 1 games. It is a rather striking and simple aesthetic that works very well with the simple yet skillful mechanics, although where it differs from the aesthetic of Playstation 1 games is that here textures are actually displayed correctly and you can have a high frame rate. In essence, it’s making the old new.
Devil Daggers, while potentially addictive, it is something that is best in small bursts, playing a couple rounds here and there. It is light on content however and retails usually for $4.99 on Steam. I got mine for $1 in a humble bundle not too long ago. If you want something small, visually and aurally interesting, as well as skillful in the way that would have been a hit in the heyday of arcades in the West, then look no further than Devil Daggers.