Disc Room is a game about rooms which are full of discs that want to kill you.
While the name itself is a bit uninspired, Devolver Digital is the publisher behind Disc Room and for those unaware, it is they who consistently back polished, fun games that are often incredibly replayable. Two of their most prolific titles – and two of my personal favorites – are Enter the Gungeon and the more recent Death’s Door. The question is, how does Disc Room hold up against these other great games and is it worth playing?
Disc Room heavily focuses on gameplay, with much of the story taking a backseat to the action. It plays much like a bullet hell game, but instead of bullets it’s waves and waves of disc blades flying around. Before getting too far into the review, it’s worth saying that Disc Room is a tough, but fair, game that I found incredibly addicting.
Each room features different discs that act in various ways and while the main theme of many of the rooms is to survive as long as possible, rooms are also part of unique areas that share a theme. The first level begins with a simple instruction, to survive. It won’t take long to fail that objective though and become a red splatter on the walls. But it’s the taste of failure, followed by the drive to do better, that makes Disc Room such an addictive game.
After dying, the progression system is revealed. Every room that’s adjoined to the current one shows a requirement for progression. This can range from surviving ten seconds in the current room, to more complex requirements, such as dying to fifteen different types of discs. Along with this, there are also special discs that grant a new ability once they kill you. The first of which is a dash ability that briefly allows you to pass through discs unharmed.
These abilities serve a dual purpose. Not only do they offer new ways to improve your time, but they also introduce some puzzle mechanics into the game. Really, these are what set Disc Room apart from other games in the genre. While many of the rooms focus on a main goal of “don’t die”, there are plenty that also require you to use the abilities in creative ways. I won’t spoil these puzzles, but some rooms that seem impossible – or like dead-ends – have a trick to them that requires a little out of the box thinking.
On a fundamental level, the game plays well. The controls themselves are very simple, but tight and responsive which are incredibly important in a game like this. A game like Disc Room falls apart if the deaths feel unfair. Thankfully, I never once felt like I was cheated during my time playing. All of the deaths were without a doubt a result of me making a mistake. That’s not to say it didn’t hurt when I died just a few milliseconds from beating my personal record, but those deaths were the result of my errors.
Really, Disc Room’s biggest con is that it only takes a few hours to experience all of the content. Mastering it is a separate matter altogether, but you can unlock all of the abilities and make it through the standard difficulty levels in an afternoon if you’re committed. I say standard difficulty levels because upon completing the game there is a new set of hard levels that will beat you down even more than the first batch of levels.
These levels have a little less flair than the first batch since they are reusing the themes, but they do add more content to enjoy. Personally I didn’t find them as engaging as the first batch, but they were still fun to play.
One of my favorite things the developers have done though, something that will really encourage you to keep playing is their addition of a dev timer. Every level has a timer that shows how long the dev team managed to survive on each level and personally I think that is a brilliant addition. It makes you feel like you are competing against the dev team and you’ll no doubt spend a lot longer on some of the levels because of it.
Overall I really enjoyed Disc Room. Disc Room is a straightforward game that’s built on a simple concept, but is also incredibly addicting and challenging. The length of the game leaves a little to be desired, but that’s also a testament to how enjoyable it all is.
Devolver Digital have picked out another great game here and so if you are looking for a new challenge then you should try out Disc Room.
Disc Room is available from the Xbox Store