I love the premise for Devil’s Dare. When a sci-fi and cosplay convention is invaded by zombies, a magic faerie grants powers to four unlikely heroes. Now they must survive the battle.

Awesome premise. As a fiction writer let me tell you—that’s gold right there.

But of course we’re dealing with a game and story is only part of it. So, how does the gameplay handle itself?

Devil’s Dare is a side-scrolling beat em up that uses permadeath. Earn in-game currency while you battle and you’ll be able to keep going. Combat gets harder as you play on and the action becomes totally insane towards the end. It’s an intense, all-out, zombie fighting megafest.

Making things even better is the fact that it’s full of sci-fi and gaming references, and each of the characters are parodies of major gaming characters.  Kingston has a golden axe and can wrestle his opponents. Queenie has a magic-spewing mech and is slow but powerful. Jackson is basically Raphael from TMNT. Axel is kinda like Link and has a broadsword.

To start with you’ll find yourself fighting the undead, but later on you’ll come across enemies which are references to sci-fi and gaming, like face-huggers.

In order to nab as much cash as you can you’ll need to obliterate as many fiends as possible, preferably using one of your special attacks. The more you kill in one attack the more cash you’ll be rewarded with. For a high pay-day, you’ll want to weaken all targets on the screen and then unleash a special attack so you kill them all in one go and get tons of coinage.

Once you’ve nabbed enough cash you’ll splash it on upgrades and tokens—the former improving your attributes, the latter allowing you to replay a stage if you die. Boss battles can end up being costly as you die repeatedly and have to pay to try again. Balancing upgrades with tokens ensures you’re powerful enough and have enough lives to pass tougher levels.

Backing up all the cultural references is a nostalgic soundtrack that carries you right back to those grungy arcades we all remember so fondly.  Together with the minimalist sound effects, the illusion of a late 80s beat-em-up is complete. You’ll feel like you’ve been carried back in time to the glorious arcade yesteryears—and that can only be a good thing.

Overall: A retro side-scrolling beat-em-up that delivers, Devil’s Dare will claim the hearts of all OGs.



Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.