Devil Daggers a tremendously invigorating experience
Devil Daggers is a tremendously invigorating experience that is one part 90's shooter nostalgia, one part ultra-minimal arena fighter and one part edge-of-your seat mayhem. It's also gloriously difficult, possibly in homage to classic shooter such as Doom, where hand-holding was thrown out in favour of dying over and over until muscle memory guided you through the levels.
Except in Devil Daggers, there is only one level and it is a simple dark arena inside a black abyss which serves as the birthing ground for all sort of hellish creatures and abominations. Your sole job is to fight off countless waves of nightmarish monsters for as long as possible. You achieve this simple goal by firing devil daggers from your fingers, tracing a circular path around the enemies and near-tearing your hair out from sheer frustration.
Every time you start up the game it is the same: you begin in a room engulfed in shadow, with a single spotlight illuminating a floating dagger. The only option is to take it, which immediately brings you to the aforementioned arena. Within a few seconds, a sinister hum will begin emnating from one direction of the place. An unsettling apparition will begin floating towards you and a horde of livid skulls will erupt out at you.
From here, the carnage begins. You have no other weapons or armour - your only task is to survive as long as possible, restarting is instantaneous and your score is the time you survive. The action is so brutal and fast-paced that one of your biggest problems will be the sting of your eyes from not blinking for fear that even missing a millisecond of action would result in death.
Devil Daggers is not a game that anyone could beat on their first try (take that as a challenge, by all means), and its creators know this. Since the whole point is surviving as long as you can, the leaderboards allow you to watch top players' runs so you can learn techniques that you haven't considered, or see the horrific enemies that you've yet to encounter. At the time of this review, the highest score is a scintillating run of eight minutes - and the whole thing is available to watch. Truly a game for the impatient generation.
Devil Daggers aesthetic goes a long way in evoking nostalgic feelings from gamers who experienced the polygon-fest of the nineties, but it may not be for everyone. For me, the jittering aesthetic only adds to the horror. A brilliant time-waster that offers a surprising amount of reward for the perceived lack of content it offers.