Inspired by 1990s FPS and arcade games, Devil Daggers is a fast-paced shooter that places you in an abyssal arena to face endless legions of demons. Armed with versatile magic daggers and a fluid movement system, fight to survive as long as you can. Compete for precious seconds with Steam Friends or on global leaderboards. Your spirit and skill will be tested.
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Devil Daggers was an unlikely game that I’d find myself enjoying for more than just 30 minutes, and yet I’ve seen myself come back to it from time to time for a go or two. There’s quite a bit to this small indie title that are just superbly done.
Devil Daggers is an endless Arena FPS game (literally) inspired by Quake, the goal of the game is simply to survive for as long as possible, fighting off all the horrors the game throws at you. Horror explains this games aesthetic very well actually. There is this constant sense of impending doom, the feeling that you’re sooner or later going to be taken by these monsters, and the seconds you spend surviving are only extending the inevitable, and that’s part thanks to the sound design and part thanks to the visuals. The dark gothic lo-fi visuals give the game a very cool aesthetic, and the sound design is wonderfully done, and with how minimal the game is, it really does intensify the horror undertones this game provides.
Speaking of minimal, the gameplay is very minimal. It’s a distillation of Arena FPS mechanics into its very bare bones elements. Your weapon is your hand that fires daggers, and it has two firing modes: a continuous stream of daggers, and a shotgun like blast of daggers. The stream is self-explanatory, it functions similar to a lightning gun in quake, the more intriguing one is the secondary. It functions as a good clean up attack, finishing off one or two fodder enemies, but can also be viable in a pinch for crowd control, dishing damage to a tough enemy, and gives you some extra mobility in the form of shotgun jumping; functioning similarly to rocket jumping, you point down on the ground and shoot. This is essential for vertical momentum as its not uncommon to be swarmed and have no way to escape, shotgun blasting allows you to go over whatever group of enemies block your escape. You don’t have multiple weapons, instead your hand becomes more powerful as you progress via the form of gems that upgrade it, these gems can be dropped by most enemies and are a very valuable resource. There is more nuisance to the system but for the sake of keeping this review relatively short I’m glazing over it. I’ve talked about the sound design of the game being really good, its also extremely vital. Your ears are just as important as your eyes, as every enemy makes a distinct noise and get louder depending on how close they are, keeping a keen ear open for them will give you much more awareness of the arena, and maybe even save you from death. The minimal visuals give the game more readability, even the very arena is literally an arena; just a big circle that only shifts depending on the enemies.
There’s a fair bit I’m grazing over but I’d like to keep this review relatively short. Devil Daggers is a very solid and very cheap FPS that provides an excellent atmosphere and plenty of replay potential, provided you get good enough to survive long enough. According to Speedrun.com at the time of writing the longest anyone has lasted in the game is 18 minutes and 27 seconds, which isn’t really that long in the context of other things, and that should give you an idea of how tough this game is.