Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac (reviewed on), PS Vita.
Developer: XMPT Games Inc.
Release date: Out now!
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Discstorm reminded me a lot like shopping with my partner – a strange comparison but I’ll happily elaborate.
Whenever I end up on the unfortunate end of high street shopping with my partner (it’s a guy thing – we generally don’t enjoy it), she goes on about how she wore something 15 years ago until it went out of fashion and that she can’t believe something has come back.
What does that have to do with the game?
The comparison is simple – 2D pixel art games went quiet for a while but they are creeping back into the mainstream in full force. Recent Indie games like The Escapists, and of course Discstorm itself are proof that an older ‘art-form’ can still work.
Discstorm is colourful, has classic BGM scores and is an overall nice looking pixel art action game; it also has a character selection screen worthy of the old Micro Machines games on the Sega MegaDrive!
I wouldn’t take the character design that seriously – it’s a homage to the classic nineties console game.
The premise is simple – enter a number of small arenas, throw discs at your targets whilst avoiding enemy projectiles and throw in the occasional objective or boss fight. It might not sound overly exciting but it actually isn’t bad at all.
The pace and design actually took me back to fond memories playing games like Mega Bomberman. Simple, easy to grasp and tough to master. It’s not by any means unforgiving in the challenge where most mistakes or failures are a result of personal error rather than extreme difficulty.
The story is about as expansive as a narrative light story can be. You play a character who starts out an absolute beginner in search of fame and glory within the Discstorm world and championships within. Again quite simple but this isn’t really a negative point – an intricate storyline isn’t required as it’s all about the gameplay with this title.
If I had to be somewhat critical of the game; it’s that the Discstorm website itself, as mentioned above, says the game is inspired by classic nineties consoles. That being the case, I can’t understand why it didn’t stick to the inspiration and stay within the console realm.
The reason I say that is because I loaded the game up and it did strongly suggest that the game is better played with a controller – something I later found out to be the case because playing such a fast paced game on a keyboard provided to be quite challenging, if not impossible. Some people have extremely dexterous fingers and could probably manage playing without a controller quite easily but to get the full experience of the game, the clause should actually say that you shouldn’t play without one.
Anyway, my point is that whilst the game is available in some formats that are more forgiving in terms of controls, as a novice PC gamer without a controller – I felt condemned to suffer because of the lack of peripherals. It also made it very tough to get further into the game where split second reactions and aiming is mandatory.
The game itself allows you to go through the story mode or play in competitive modes with up to four other players, locally or online. It sort of made me wish such technology was available back in the day when two players seemed like a luxury because a four player battle can get quite messy and it’s a damn good laugh!
At least for a while… as the game did seem to get rather repetitive. I suppose there are only so many discs I was prepared to throw in a day.
Within the story mode, some of the boss battles do seem to drag on a little but I suppose that could be argued as a mark of a good boss fight (or my lack of a controller!).
One thing I didn’t see the point in, which is perhaps a me splitting hairs, is the fact you can unlock costumes. I’ve never understood the need to have alternate costumes in a pixel art game where you can’t really see the benefit. Especially when your character is running around at high speed.
It was almost as if costume unlocking was a way to make the game seem like it had more depth and a purpose other than just the occasional achievement/trophy pop ups.
On a positive note, the game does feel quite simple and eloquent in its finish; living up to the inspiration with a truly classic feel to it. The game has a global leaderboard, various game modes and most importantly – addictive gameplay so it does seem like quite a ‘complete’ game with all things considered.
The absolute ultimate praise I have for Discstorm is that it proves that it doesn’t matter how ‘old’ a game looks, it can still be in with the new.
- Very classic feel.
- Classic BGM score!
- Don’t play it with a keyboard/mouse combo.
- Gets repetitive quickly.
No reason why not!
A code was kindly provided by developers for the purposes of this review.