Review: DiscStorm Is A Simple Pleasure
DiscStorm from XMPT games is a nostalgic little indie game out to deliver fast-paced, arena combat as we love and remember it. Up to a point, it succeeded.
- Worth The Time?Yes for a certain type of nostalgic crowd.
- Things LovedIt's visually adorable; the nostalgia is real; solid and frenetic gameplay; the music is great; quirky humour.
- Things HatedIt can be quite repetitive; no real differences between the player characters; feels a bit lacking for the price point, little lasting appeal.
- RecommendationIt's a fun little way to pass time but it doesn't offer a whole lot for its price point. If you love nostalgia, old school arena combat and frenetic skill-based games, DiscStorm is up your alley but you may want to wait for a cheaper deal.
- Name: DiscStorm
- Genre: Arena Combat
- Players: 1-4
- Multiplayer: Local offline (4 players)
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: XMPT Games
- Publisher: XMPT Games
- Price: $11.99
- Reviewed On: PC
One of the most lovable things about the indie scene is that it has a knack for taking us back to the so-called simpler times where some would say it was easier to have fun. But that’s a bit far from reality, as the nature of things is to evolve. The real truth is that indie has the freedom to explore genres, mechanics and styles of games that have simply fell out of mainstream to make way for the status quo.
Enter DiscStorm, which is a humble arena combat game from XMPT Games that seeks to recapture that old school, Bomberman-esque joy of speed, skill, precision and mastery of mechanics. There’s no story to speak of, it’s packed with quirky humour and the idea is to have a good time above all else.
Up to a point DiscStorm succeeds in delivering exactly that, but it’s not quite the whole package.
You’ll begin the game by going through a short, whacky tutorial that gets you up to speed with the basic mechanics of the game. DiscStorm is easy to learn, but a little tricky to be good at. The idea is to defeat your enemies by throwing frisbee-like discs at them, of which you hold three at a time. Once thrown you’ll have to collect them off the ground again or catch them in mid-air off the rebound. If you have no discs on-hand you get access to a fast dash to help you collect them again. You can also deflect enemy discs away if you’re quick enough.
That’s pretty much as far as your gameplay knowledge has to go. From there it’s all about the environment you’re in, and knowing how to dodge, attack, adapt and survive against the different types of enemies and bosses you face.
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The game has a rather simple structure in its single player mode. You play as one of four characters, but unfortunately there isn’t any gameplay difference between them, and it’s pretty much just cosmetic. You can unlock extra costumes for them though as you play, but it’s just for giggles.
The campaign offers around ten levels that each have unique environmental conditions and enemies. For example in one level lava shoots from the ground to stun you if you get too close, while in another level you can fire your discs through portals. Each level has you face off against a number of enemies and traps in waves, and at various points you’ll fight the level’s mini-boss. The idea is to progress until the big boss at the end of the level.
The locations are varied and fun. It’s a joy to learn the levels and how to navigate yourself within them and use them to your advantage. Each level is different enough to freshen things up a bit, but the gameplay remains largely the same. Things can get quite hectic when you’re taking on bosses or small armies of enemies and you need to throw and collect your frisbees quickly while avoiding damage.
If you have a good grip of the gameplay, you’ll always be able to pull through. However get used to frustration if you’re trying to avoid death at all costs, because it’s seriously challenging to avoid dying in this game, and you’ll thank your lucky stars for the checkpoints after each wave. All dying does though is effect your ranking at the end, if you care about that.
The quirky humour of the game in its dialogue is certainly a highlight, and it goes hand-in-hand with the adorable visual style of the game that is impossible not to love. DiscStorm is cute and colourful, and it shows in its fun, vibrant levels. It’s just such a spirited game, and has a really great soundtrack to go with the fast-paced gameplay.
Unfortunately the game’s simplicity can count against it, because despite the environments and enemies changing the actual gameplay hardly does. At the most you get a new way to interact with the level. The result is things can start getting repetitive by the second or third level already, which is a shame.
You may be thinking at this point that DiscStorm sounds like an inoffensively fun game, and to an extent that’s exactly what it is. A simple pleasure. However when considering the whole package there just isn’t a whole lot here for the price point. Over and above the ten levels in the single player campaign, all that’s left is a local four player multiplayer. While chaotic and fun in its own way it’s not really going to keep you and three friends glued to your screens.
The overall game just doesn’t have much to keep you invested.
Essentially that’s the big problem with DiscStorm. Sure it’s fun, it has nostalgia and it’s a good time. But it feels like little more than a novelty at the end of the day, and has barely any lasting appeal. It’s the kind of game that you’ll never regret playing, and you will enjoy it if you’re the audience for it, but you’re just going to move on after an hour or so.
DiscStorm is fit for a highlight reel, but not a full show. That’s what we’d put on the back of the cereal box.