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Deathtrap (PC) Preview

An eccentric mix between Diablo’s hack and slash formula and the traditional tower defense genre; is it crazy enough to work?

Deathtrap is NeoCoreGames’ newest offering and is quite a bit different than their Van Helsing series of action/RPGs, which plays mores like your traditional ‘Diablo’ type game, which I mentioned above. There’s a few different elements, that you normally don’t see in a game like this, at play here that separate it from that game and the entire genre though. I do like the direction it’s heading, though not everything is quite ready for prime time just yet.

The visuals in Deathtrap look good enough to be passable, but not mediocre enough to be counted as bad. All in all, the gothic/mystic vibe that players can experience from the overall game design are pretty good and only add to a title that’s as smart and as decently paced as Deathtrap. The characters all look great and they reminded me of the designs from Vanillaware and Atlus’ Dragon’s Crown (that’s a very good thing, if I know you Benj -ed). The various effects, monsters and explosions all look top-notch too and overall, the game has a bleak tone… but in a good way.

One negative aspect about the visuals would have to the overly complicated menus which, at first glance, look absolutely terrifying to learn for a beginner. The labels seem a little too bothersome to read and just aren’t that helpful either, which certainly doesn’t help. Though the game offers a tutorial, it still isn’t enough to give the players a good and solid grasp on what it is that they need to do, especially for those who need a good practice or two to get things going.

The music is satisfactory but unlike the visuals, the score is not enough to pique my interest for long. In fairness though, the game can still improve on this, as it’s a ways off from release. 

Deathtrap’s controls are straightforward and surprisingly intuitive, though the decision to make the arrow keys instead of the traditional WASD as the movement keys baffles me as it not only overly complicates movement and aiming, but it also makes it harder to access the skill hotkeys which are directly above the WASD keys – this is a problem for the less flexible gamers among us.

Fortunately, the mechanics at play here are simple: Deathtrap is a tower defense game with a character that the player can control directly. Basically, you traverse the various battle grounds that the game throws at you, setting traps (turrets and various pitfalls) while dealing damage to the horde of enemies that tries to fight its way through your machinations and spells. It’s a surprisingly unique twist between Diablo and other, more traditional, tower defense games. It’s refreshing and excitingly fun to play, though the unique combination presented here will take a lot of practice to get used to.

Final Thoughts

Deathtrap is promising; the mechanics are fun and simple, but it has few areas that require improvement. The game is available in Steam’s Early Access section right now, and NeoCore says that there’s plenty to come that will expand upon what’s currently there.

Co-op play is available right now though, which makes the game all that much more complex, as well as a map and creature editor, with which you can devise your own levels and beasties. For an Early Access game, that’s a lot of customization that’s available off the jump.

All in all it’s a fun ride that I’d like to enjoy to the fullest come launch day.

About Benj

Benj likes video games, neckties and scotch. His favorite games include Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VIII. You may contact him at [email protected]

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