Deathstate is a shooter with roguelike elements shown from an elevated, almost top-down perspective. The player guides a character through a series of realms where each realm consists of four levels each including a boss. The game starts when a female character receives a cryptic message from her mentor professor Elinberg, three weeks after he disappeared from the Miskatonic University Campus. The note ask her to meet him at the library, but there she discovers a portal that allows for dimensional exploration.
As is typical for these roguelike shooters, each session is played in randomized environments, but based on the enemies and the environment of the realm. Other randomized elements are item pick-ups, bosses, mini-boss enemies and shops. There is permadeath so after each run the entire game needs to be replayed. Based on different conditions good runs are rewarded with unlocks, introducing new items that will then appear in new runs. In the same way additional playable characters such as Brawler, Eye, Priest, Scar Scientist, Scar, Starcreep etc. are unlocked, each with different abilities. The library acts as a hub where it is possible to switch between characters or optionally start a much more difficult type of run.
The game uses a pixelated visual style reminiscent of the 16-bit era with different types of filters. The environments are often bright and colourful with Lovecraftian influences for enemy design. Levels are designed as giant mazes, but not always narrow, that can be explored freely. Enemies appear in large groups with different types of attack patterns. To complete a level a pink portal needs to be reached to travel to the next level. It is not necessary to explore the entire environment or kill all enemies. This is however often needed to receive health pick-ups, a currency that can be spent at a shopkeeper and chests with items. Fast movement is encouraged as there is only a limited amount of time to complete a level. There is no timer, but after a while a warning appears and the screen gradually grows darker. If the portal is not reached before the entire environment is black, the game is over. The character shoots automatically and always targets the nearest enemy. The player has to concentrate on movement and a second set of four keys is used to dodge, evading bullets as most enemy encounters resemble bullet hell game that require a large amount of evasion.
Next to a basic ability the character can be upgraded in various ways. One potion can be carried at all times to introduce a temporary effect. There are also secondary abilities that are either stored and consume MP (slowly generating over time), or as an item circling the character and providing an additional ability. There are also permanent perks through mystic tomes, ritual blades, relics and organs as ingestible items left behind by mini bosses and bosses, influencing movement speed, fire rate, health, damage, the type of shots (stream or burst), and additional types of attacks including grenade-like bullets, fire, ice and so on. Ingesting an item is irreversible and the game balances risk versus rewards in almost all aspects of the game, including optional bosses with a higher difficulty, but great rewards.
Credits (Windows version)
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- MobyGames ID: 76915
- Steam App: 402120
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sciere.
Additional contributors: firefang9212.
Game added February 10th, 2016. Last modified July 20th, 2023.