From the creators of various Devolver Digital titles such as Minit, Exit the Gungeon and Sludge Life comes a collaborative effort about rooms with discs… sharp discs. Disc Room has you play as a scientist in the year 2089 on a mission to explore and get to the bottom of a giant disc that has begun to orbit Jupiter. There’s a fine line between bravery and recklessness and this scientist is ready to foolhardily walk it.
The movement and frame rate for this Switch version is nice and smooth, which is sorely needed when avoiding rampent buzzsaws. Each room throws more and more discs at you, as well as a variety of discs that move and interact differently, making it increasingly challenging for you to stay alive. However, if you’re not one for surviving the longest and earning your claim to fame on online leaderboards, each room simply has a task or two that you need to complete in order to progress. The challenges come in two different forms: challenge for the individual room and challenge for the entire game; these can be survive for x seconds or die from x different amount of discs. Once you fulfil these challenges, you can continue onward through the dungeon to progress through the game.
As you encounter new discs, you will learn new abilities by being defeated by enemies with said abilities. They’ll start off quite standard with a dash ability and become increasingly more elaborate with the ability to clone yourself. You can only opt for one ability at a time so it comes down to what works best for you; me, I like to slow down time. You may even find that some work better with certain challenges, forcing you to experiment to see what works best.
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In games that are designed to be ludicrously difficult, load times can make or break the experience. Luckily, the developers of Disc Room were well aware of this, with starting up each attempt being quicker than the spinning discs themselves. This then diminishes that frustration that may come from dying and trust me, you’ll die a lot in Disc Room.
To help with both one’s competitive spirit as well as the game’s longevity, the online leaderboards encourage the player to keep at it, even after they’ve finished the room. The leaderboards are on the right side of the screen in every room and will be prevalent as long as the Switch is online.
The Gatekeepers act as the game’s boss fights. They’re massive in size and require you to pick up yellow orbs that each count for one second on the clock. The third gatekeeper was especially difficult as it took me 34 minutes of continuous trying – I, grasshopper, became one with the discs.
World / Level Design
Each room begins as you’d expect, square with a bunch of discs inside bouncing from wall-to-wall, reminiscent of the DVD player screensavers that we’d be glued to in hope that the bouncing logo would finally hit a corner with exact precision. However as you progress through Disc Room, there are a few curveballs that are thrown your way – and not just in the discs themselves. The first twist you’ll come across is a circle in the middle of a room which takes up about 40% of the space. The objective of this circle is that time is only counted when you are in the circle, limiting your field of movement or if you’re forced to exit the circle to avoid being sliced, there is a part of the room that becomes your target. These objectives help to keep the gameplay exciting with variety, adding a feeling of uncertainty as you proceed.
Story / Personality
As expected, the plot doesn’t take centre stage in Disc Room, nor does it strive to. It’s happy to provide a sense of progression with just enough intrigue to keep the player going but what really draws the player in is the frantic action. That’s not to say that it dons a “save the princess” cliche and is done with it as you’ll encounter mysterious scenarios in its comic strip style storytelling that provides a healthy dose of intrigue.
Graphics / Art Direction
Disc Room‘s aesthetic is crudely drawn animation that is quirky and fun. It’s nostalgic of classic 90s cartoon with sharp corners, bright colour choices, bold yet messy outlines and blood and gut splashes. Not only does this work from a nostalgic point of view, it’s also vibrant and attention-grabbing, with the black outlines making it easy for the player to distinguish avatar from razor sharp hazards.
Music / Sound Design
The music is nothing to get excited about but it knows how to rely on fast tempo when the moments call for it (which is most of the time, truth be told). At the risk of sounding like a psychopath, the squelching sound of the disc going through the avatar is strangely satisfying with a lot of emphasis on the gore… don’t judge me.
Final Score: 80%
If you’re looking for a challenge in your next gaming venture, then Disc Room will provide it in spades. Its hectic gameplay coupled with its colourful 90s aesthetic ticks many boxes, resulting in an oddly satisfying experience even after dying one, two or six dozen times. Just remember to take a deep breath, survey your surroundings and RUN!
Thank you for checking out our Disc Room Switch review, thank you to Powerup PR for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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