Disc Room: Hardcore, high scores and bullet-hell gameplay

Disc Room from Devolver Digitial is about exactly what the title promises: discs and rooms. But both are just out to saw you into pieces. The loose and unimportant backstory? In the year 2089, a huge disc was discovered in the orbit of Jupiter, which was to be explored. As a nameless scientist, you embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of the mysterious disk.

Run Forest, run!

At this point you would normally learn more about the story, but it's more a means to an end. Because Disc Room is all about gameplay.

The game world is divided into individual rooms, each of these rooms being nastier than the other. Much time is not wasted explaining what to do, because you will quickly find out for yourself: survive for as long as you can. After a certain time you have created a room. If you are on the hunt for a new high score, you can continue playing as long as you want – or rather as long as you survive.
Each of the unique rooms has different compositions of circular saws ready for you, while these are designed so diverse that one would hardly think possible. Some fly around aimlessly, others chase you, while still other saws only fire more of the deadly spinning top. The amount of different killer saws is amazing and a listing would go beyond the scope.

But it's not just the saws that make life difficult for you. Then there are the rooms themselves, which are also a challenge. In some levels you have to stand on special fields in order to get the time counted. In others, however, you have to keep moving all the time, otherwise a monster will eat you up along with the floor.

The mixture of different saw blades and the rooms themselves promises interesting and varied gameplay, although you basically just run and dodge in the best bullet-hell manner. To make your life a little easier, and to add more variety to the game, there are also a few different skills. In addition to the classic short sprint, in which you are also invulnerable, you can, for example, slow down the time briefly, which will save your virtual life more than once. Through challenges in different rooms you can unlock even more of these skills, which can significantly influence your play style. So if you can't get past one of the death traps, it is advisable to try another skill.






A very common level.



A very common level.

Source: PC Games




Hard but fair. Mostly.

Disc Room is one hell of a difficult game. Everything happens incredibly quickly. However, the game reacts immediately to all your inputs, so that the controls feel good and appropriate at all times. That doesn't make things any easier. In any case, there should be a certain limit of frustration, because there are rooms where you will despair. After all, dying is part of the game principle, because don't forget: You are a researcher. Every disc you die of unlocks more detailed information about yourself, which you can view via the main menu. This supports the "trial and error" principle of the game and keeps the level of frustration within a tolerable range.

On the verge of desperation you will still stand a few times, because although the game is usually very fair, few of the rooms seem rather ungrateful. In said passages the feeling arises that you could have made it if the circular saws had behaved just a little differently. Even if you learn the patterns of the circular saws by heart, more and more of them will be thrown into the room as time goes by, depending on where you stand and where the death tops bounce off, you have to adapt your approach. On the one hand, this provides a unique experience with every attempt, but it can also be frustrating if you get the feeling that the previous run was somehow easier.
Especially in boss fights, you often get the feeling that luck plays a relatively large role. Bosses are fought by collecting yellow dots that appear randomly. Sometimes you are lucky and can quickly browse the points in a row. But it also happens that you have to cross the entire room each time to collect the next point. The longer the fight goes, the more difficult it usually becomes, which is why this element of chance can seem quite unfair to you. However, it should be said: as long as you stay focused and try to understand how the opponents work, you can still win.






One of the bosses.



One of the bosses.

Source: PC Games




There must be a reward

Due to the high degree of difficulty, it is extremely satisfying when you can finally master one of the rooms that you have been struggling with for ages. To spice things up a bit, you only unlock all rooms when you complete special missions. Often these amount to having to survive 10 seconds longer, which is not particularly exciting. However, there are more creative tasks from time to time. One of these tasks is to complete four boss rooms in a row. Completing such missions is definitely more motivating than just completing the individual rooms.
On the other hand, it has to be said that there are also tasks that are not necessarily understandable. "Feed 4 ???? to ????" is such an example. Here it can sometimes take a little longer to understand what the game actually wants from you. There are only a few of these missions, but completists could run the risk of scratching or even exceeding the threshold of frustration at one point or another.
A nice little thing are the developer records that are shown to you in online mode. If you manage to break any of these records, you will feel like the king of the universe itself.

Addicted to Death?

In addition to the masochist fun, there is a synth soundtrack that transports you into a trance-like state after ten minutes of playing. Before you know it, you've immersed yourself in the game for three hours with absolute tunnel vision. This is supported by the fact that after a devastating defeat you are right back in the action with the push of a button. There are no breaks. In addition, the game shows you via the main menu on the map exactly where you have not yet been, what your best time is in the individual rooms and where you can still unlock something.
If the first run wasn't enough for you, there is another card after the end, which is even more difficult than the previous one. This is where all of the knowledge you have acquired on the normal level of difficulty is put to the test. If you are completely addicted to the game, you can use the implemented speedrun mode and hunt global high scores in it.






The overview map.



The overview map.

Source: PC Games




Disc Room is fast, ruthless, but above all motivating. You won't be stopped with a big story, instead the game knows what it is and brings you exactly that: Pure gameplay and classic high score hunting. If you are into super meat boy-like fun, you can take it easy here.

Disc Room is available for Nintendo Switch and PC through Steam and the Epic Games Store.

fast
reactive
easy to understand
creative
Soundtrack
Variety in play style through different skills
Cracking developer high scores
Speedrun mode
Difficult…
… but sometimes unfair
sometimes frustrating
confused mission descriptions

Disc Room is damn difficult, but at least as rewarding.

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