Title: Disc Room
Available on: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Epic Game Store, GoG.com, and Itch.io
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Indie, Action, Adventure, Single Player, and 2D
Version Tested: Steam
Official Site: https://www.devolverdigital.com
Release Date: October 20th, 2020
My fellow gamers, 2020 has been a wild but scary year. While the world still suffers from the effects of Covid 19, game developers look to ease the stress of everyday life by providing fun, interesting, and over the top games for people to enjoy. Before 2020 is over, gamers will have access to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. In addition to next-gen consoles, gamers will finally be able to play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077 (Potentially), Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Demon Souls, and Spiderman: Miles Morales.
At PAX East 2020, I had the opportunity to meet with Devolver Digital to preview two titles that they planned to publish in 2020. The first title I was shown at the meeting was Fall Guys; the second title show was a game made by four developers called Disc Room. Earlier this year, Mediatonic’s Fall Guys became the most popular game to play before being replaced by Among Us. Sadly, Devolver Digital’s newly published title Disc Room will not rise to the same level as Fall Guys; however, Disc Room should not be overlooked.
Disc Room takes place in the year 2089. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have survived 2020 and gone through the wild times of 2077 to be on the brink of extinction once again. A giant disc has appeared in the Milky Way and has started to orbit Jupiter. This massive disc is a potential threat to Earth and you must discover what mysteries lie within. Take control of a brave scientist who has been tasked with exploring this disc ship.
As the Scientist, you’re armed with nothing but an oversized spacesuit (great for dodging things of course). As you enter the first room, you quickly discover that death is not the end. Unlike other dungeon crawlers, Disc Room recommends that you die in a variety of ways, which shakes up the formula a bit. Each room features at least one disc type that you can die to. The various rooms have their own challenges that you must complete to move on. Some rooms can only be accessed by collecting specialty discs and completing challenges, which gives an incentive to do every task. As the game progresses, so does the difficulty of each section. This progression was quite solid too, offering nothing that was too challenging or easy for the point in the game. In order to survive these new challenges, you can unlock different abilities to equip. You can only have one active ability at a time.
Disc Room contains fifty-three rooms spread between six different environments. Warning, the game does have a bunch of effects that can sensory overload; the most damaging effect arguably is the red strobing light in one area. This lighting effect can be damaging to those who are colorblind or have epilepsy. It’d be nice if the game featured settings to counteract this, but none were in sight. As far as game modes go though, there are two in the form of Normal and Hard. You can only unlock hard by completing the game, giving you something extra if you’re wanting more. Once the game has been beaten, you must escort your ally back to safety.
Changing Variables in Disc Room
At the start of Disc Room, you have no abilities and must dodge discs to the best of your abilities. Upon dying in special rooms, you will unlock new abilities. The game features only six abilities but each one is unique. You can either warp, clone yourself, dash, slow down time, absorb a disc, or repulse discs. Disc Room features sixty different types of discs. Each disc has its own unique effect that you must discover. Some challenges require that you survive a specific amount of time in each room. Some rooms will not unlock unless you collect a certain amount of discs or have an average life span between rooms. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Graphics & Audio
Disc Room‘s graphics may not be state of the art but that is part of its charm. The game reminds players who are familiar with dungeon crawlers of Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac. Each room becomes more chaotic as you survive. Excluding the strobing red light effect, the game did not have many issues graphically until the later stages. During the final stage, the game did suffer from a few graphical issues. The game would lag as it was trying to register your movements over the light tiles.
The game’s audio warns you when you are close to being hit by a disc. Disc Room‘s soundtrack is the second most enjoyable feature of the game. Like the game’s graphical issue on the final stage, the game’s audio seemed to struggle. The game’s soundtrack keeps you energized with its techno/synthetic style. Like other dungeon crawlers, the game’s main character does not speak. Instead, we experience the story through artwork and get a surprise at the end.
Personal Thoughts on Disc Room
Going into Disc Room, I was excited due to how good the PAX East preview was. Sadly, this small indie game did not live up to my expectations. Yes, the game is enjoyable and the team has done a great job of creating their own dungeon crawler, but for me, it’s a one and done experience. The developers missed an opportunity to bring in co-op after completing the base game and complete levels with friends.
The campaign is a bit too short for the price point and the only thing that redeems it is the games easy to use controls and an amazing soundtrack. The story is cute once you figure out what is going on but it takes a little bit too long get to that point. A Dark Souls/Destiny approach is not needed in a dungeon crawler of this size. The gameplay is cute and does make you think about what you are doing at first but once you get the hang of things you kind of stop caring. If you have to pick between Fall Guys and Disc Room, go with Fall Guys.
Don’t get me wrong, the game is great for what it is and how it changes the dungeon crawler genre; however, in a time where many are monitoring and limiting what they spend, it’s not a must-own. The game falls into the maybe one-day category of your steam wishlist.
Disc Room might not be a contender for game of the year but it is still enjoyable. The game’s retail price seems a bit high ($14.99) for a short game. Our playthrough of Disc Room‘s normal mode only took two hours without lowering the game’s difficulty. Hard does take a bit longer to complete but only you can justify the purchasing price. The game does have good replay value where you can decide how they want to play each room and change the difficulty. The game is enjoyable but not a must-have unless you like these types of games.
- A variety of disc making player's think about each room
- Interesting abilities to use
- An energizing soundtrack
- Short story/gameplay
- Game processing errors on the final stage
- A strobing effect that can cause visual issues