If you’re a part of Games Twitter, you’ve probably heard mention of Devil Daggers in the last week or so. Seriously, it seems like it’s everywhere. I saw a few screenshots, realized it was a grimdark, fast-paced shooty thing about skeletons and demons, and rushed to get it. This kind of thing seems like it was made for me, right?
I just can’t get into it! I see all the other kids having fun with their new toy and I want to have fun too, but I just can’t.
So first off, what even is this thing? You’re trapped on a very dark circular platform (that you can fall off of and die) with demon spawning creatures that fill the platform as time goes on. Once you’re, say, a whopping *five seconds* in, you’re surrounded by skulls chasing you. One touch from any of them and you’re dead. You can shoot daggers from your hand to blow them away, but the spawners keep them coming and coming and coming. Kill the spawners, fewer enemies will come for a second, but I mean just for a second before more spawners…spawn. It’s a whole bunch of worse and worse things chasing you and you shoot them dead. Forever. That’s it.
Your high score is determined by how long you survive this onslaught, and I’ve actually made it a little over a minute. But it didn’t really make me feel like, I don’t know, I’d accomplished anything I guess? You run around and blast these things into oblivion, but your score isn’t determined by how many you kill, it’s always just how many seconds you get compared to the run before. Sure, you’re kind of forced into killing things to survive for those extra seconds, and you can kind of look at those seconds as points for killing things if you squint hard enough. Also I wish your previous score was kept onscreen so I would at least know what I was shooting for. There’s just a few little things that keep turning me off from it, but I can’t figure out exactly which of them are bothering me the most. So I keep playing it.
There’s a lot of Doom meets Geometry Wars in Devil Daggers, except it doesn’t feel as good to play as either of them. It’s more focused on being totally overwhelmed and dealing with the stress of so many threats that you can barely process what all’s happening at once. You’re frantically running around shooting down spawning towers while there’s a trillion skulls behind you, and it’s hard (for me at least) to get into a rhythm where I feel like I’m ahead of anything. If Devil Daggers is about anything, it’s about how constantly fucked you are at every given moment, and maybe that’s just not what I’m looking for.
Devil Daggers is still so, so cool to watch someone be good at, though. Watching Giant Bomb’s Quick Look of the game made me want to jump back in and give it a try. Just check out how enthused those duders are about this thing! I want to like it that much too. But I tried it again. And I left feeling…not much. Except slightly more stressed. And glad that I got to see scary skeleton spiders.
If you want to for see if sprinting away from skulls is enjoyable for you, try out Devil Daggers here! It’s $5, well made and cool, and maybe you’ll fall in love with the thing like everyone else on the internet. Happy stressing!