DeadCore by 5-Bits Games, is a platform shooter based in a sci-fi world, developed using the Unity3D engine. 5-Bits Games is a developing team of six reigning from France composed of former Ubisoft employees and the founder of Rock Paper Glass. With conceptual art and alpha versions dating back to 2012 and 2013, DeadCore had an official PC release in Q4 2014 and has found its way to both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on July 14th, 2017.
The game greets you to a basic main menu with generic options such as story mode, speedrun, achievements, settings, etc., However, the game does not give you any indication of controls and controller settings are not available in the settings, which may confuse new players. The settings menu is also limited to audio volume, sensitivity, and field of view.
The story mode starts with a short but sweet cutscene as you fall from a swirling and stormy sky, as you get to see the entire map, a monstrous tower spawning from a vortex. You are immediately thrown in to the game and must solve puzzles to go to the next phase, where you receive the SwitchGun, like the Portal Gun, which can be used to manipulate your environment. As you progress through the game you collect logs, which vaguely give you more information about the setting and purpose for the game, and new abilities like dashing, to help you navigate the more spread out sections of the game. Checkpoints are located throughout each stage in multiple locations with each checkpoint reloading the SwitchGun, so ammo is never in scarcity.
The manipulation of map environment is a core element to the game, however, the parts of the level that can be changed are well-represented, do switch back into their initial position after time. This makes DeadCore feel more like a reflex test than a head-scratcher, which becomes even more prominent later in the game when you are constantly dodging laser fans, grids, walls, or turret cubes.
By using the Unity3D engine, 5-Bits Games does a good job with level design. The different shapes along with their futuristic look help tie in the narrative from the logs. I also liked that some levels have multiple paths to choose from instead of having a linear path. Although, the abilities you earn as you make your way through the game can help you on previous stages by opening alternate routes, effectively increasing the re-playability of the game.
Like nearly all platformer games, DeadCore, has its own speedrun community. The game has its own dedicated speedrun game mode with global leaderboards and a soundtrack, but maps are only available after they are played through the story mode.
Overall: DeadCore is effective in its purpose as a first-person platformer. The graphics, which have not changed much since its PC release years ago, still help set it apart from other indie platformers, where gameplay is preferred over graphics. The game mechanics seem to be well polished, so there are few moments where you feel cheated by missing a jump or getting shredded by lasers. The story, or lack thereof, is one of the few areas where this game is lacking and the logs collected through the game seem like compensation for it.
With their first project, 5- Bits Games have a solid platformer game with miscellaneous aspects that could use some reworking.
Final Score: 7/10
Here is the DeadCore Xbox One Trailer:
DeadCore is now available for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 priced at $7.99.