I never would have anticipated that I’d be writing about another bullet-hell so soon after Gungeon, but here we are. Disc Room comes to us, yet again, from Devolver Digital and is another intensely fun game about gracefully dancing through a sea of killer projectiles. So let’s take a quick look at how the game manages to be amusing for the duration of its runtime.
Developer: Terri, Dose, Kitty, JW
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release Date: Oct 22nd, 2020
Available on: Switch, PC (everything)
As previously mentioned, Disc Room could best be described as a bullet-hell, but it takes a different approach from traditional titles in the genre. The gameplay still revolves almost entirely around dodging incoming bullets, or in this case saw blades referred to as discs, but instead of funneling players through linear levels they’re instead asked to survive for as long as possible. And it is this shift in focus sits at the heart of what makes Disc Room so intensely fun to play.
Once a level is started a timer begins ticking up until players are sliced into a pile of viscera on the floor. Their best survival time is then recorded and proudly displayed on a leaderboard that features their friends and the developers on the right hand side of the screen. It’s really hard to then not begin trying to beat said times as they’re staring you right in the face. Death may come swiftly in Disc Room, but chasing a new best time became the reason that I’d replay levels again and again. In combination with the game’s razor tight controls the mere act of surviving a little bit longer becomes an absolute joy.
If high scores aren’t your cup of tea, each level has one or more objectives that need to be completed to unlock new levels. This provides goals to less intrinsically motivated players and also helps provide some much needed direction. These objectives also vary enough to help spice up the otherwise straight forward nature of Disc Room. Naturally, some are focused on surviving for a set amount of time, while other require you to die to a selection of different discs, or otherwise defeat “boss” discs. The different objectives help to give the whole game just enough variety to remain entertaining for its duration instead of spiraling into complete repetition.
Furthermore, Disc Room also features player driven difficulty. Instead of choosing a static level of challenge from a menu, the available challenges, competing for high scores, and the optional nature of many levels allow players to choose how difficult they want their time to be. If you simply want to finish the game you’re able to gun straight to the final boss. If you want some additional challenges, however, several levels off the critical path provide both intense action focused challenges as well as more cerebral puzzle focused challenges. This gives players a lot of control over their time with Disc Room and allows for the game to be as oppressive as individual players desire.
Disc Room is an intensely fun game that is highly addictive to replay ad nauseum. The tight controls and focus on survival create a compelling gameplay loop that is fun to throw yourself into as you complete a variety of objectives, or compete with your friends or yourself for a new best time. It’s a bullet-hell style game that offers an experience that is easy to get into and enjoy for the couple hours it sticks around for. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a fan of the genre I’d still recommend giving Disc Room a look for its highly addictive gameplay and less traditional take on the genre.
Sounds like a fun twist to the bullet hell formula. Trying to survive increasingly tough gauntlets always makes for a good challenge
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I’d say that it is. Disc Room is definitely worth checking out for the right price if for no other reason because of the novelty of its core concept.
I absolutely despise time-based survival and challenge rooms. To me, they feel artificial and just for the sake of themselves. I cannot think of a single instance where I did not hate them.
It surprised me a bit that you seem to like them, but then I realised that you enjoy system-driven games, getting better at them, and are not avert to a bit of challenge. So, it makes sense…
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I could see that, but the majority of what was in Disc Room was so simple and relatively easy to attain that I never found it actually blocked forward progress. The majority of my time was spent trying to either beat my own best, Dan’s, or the Developer’s. So in that way it was less of beating the game’s challenges and more choosing what was and wasn’t a meaningful goal for myself.
Plus, yeah…all of that other stuff you said.