As I made my way to the Devolver Digital booth at PAX East this year, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I entered their booth space and found that the demos they had on hand were set up in a seriously trendy arcade set-up — cabinets and all. As I made my way over to the game I was scheduled to try out, called Disc Room, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d only briefly seen the trailer released just prior to the event. I wasn’t prepared for what was to come.
Playing a few rounds with developers Kitty Calis and Jan Willem Nijman, the developers of Minit (and more), I quickly found out this title was going to be my newest addiction once it releases sometime in 2020.
In the year 2089, a giant disc enters Jupiter’s orbit. You play as the courageous (or more likely stupid) scientist who has decided to brave this land in order to discover its secrets. Here’s the catch: everywhere you go has nothing but big, spinning saws of pain that want nothing more than to slice you up. With its comic-book-style storyboards, Disc Room offers a trendy, yet subtle hint towards its story, which is perfect for what is on offer. The set-up is simple, but the gameplay proves arcade-style experiences are here to stay.
Described as a “Dodge ‘Em Up” — each room you enter offers different types of saw blades moving in distinct patterns. With varying speed, size, and abilities, each offers a new obstacle for you to avoid. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the name of the game — avoidance. The only thing you need to do in each room is live as long as possible in hopes that you can unlock the next room and continue your progression. Outside of some specific room objectives, such as getting killed by each type of saw or lasting a certain amount of time, that’ll be your only focus. As you navigate this treacherous maze, you will discover boss rooms that allow for a bit more strategy and puzzle-solving, but at the end of the day, you will be running for your damn life. Period.
Whatever kills you, only makes you stronger. Besides just manipulating the control stick, you will find that certain deaths also offer interesting changes to your character. You can take on the effects and abilities of the various saw blades, which seriously help out in your time of need. I was able to gain a dash ability from one blood-thirsty menace, which ended a really good run, but only allowed me to come back stronger than ever. Super enjoyable mechanic, and helpful to those who aren’t great at these types of tough-as-nails experiences.
As someone who, generally speaking, doesn’t enjoy pure gameplay experiences like this, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself not wanting to put the game down, to the cheers of the dev team next to me. Trying, again and again, to last a little longer than the last gave me so much incentive to keep trying that I never wanted the experience to stop. Disc Room was easily one of the better experiences I had while at PAX, and is any of this sounds even remotely fun, you need to get this one on your radar immediately.
Currently slated with nothing but a 2020 placard and an impending release on PC and consoles, it is not announced at this moment in time whether or not this title will be making its way to the Nintendo Switch, but all I have to say is that if it doesn’t, I will be supremely disappointed as it would be right at home on our favorite little handheld. But — there’s at least a chance.
Steven started this Nintendo adventure with a Game Boy Pocket and Pokémon Blue and never looked back. Having played through every successive Nintendo system since then, he has grown a deep passion for the games they have made. The Nintendo Switch has really brought Steven back into the fold, which is why he writes about it.
Some of his favorite games include: Luigi’s Mansion, Pokémon Silver, Super Mario 64 & Sunshine, Animal Crossing, Pokémon Snap, The Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild.
If he isn’t having a great time writing for Nintendeal and the various other outlets he dedicates his time to, he is probably watching the Detroit Lions continue to disappoint. Go Lions!