Professor Elinberg has gone missing while opening a portal endless void. It’s up to you to find out what happened to him by using astral projection in a death-like meditative state. A Deathstate that allows you to travel the far planes and face the terrors that lay within.
Can you survive the hordes of horrors as they swarm over you. Even if you do, can you stay sane? Maybe madness is the key to everything as you become less and less human in order to survive.
Deathstate is self-described as a Rogue-like, bullet hell, single-stick shooter. This pretty much sums up the game pretty well. The basic controls couldn’t be simpler. Move around the screen with the left stick while your character automatically fires a steady of projectiles into oncoming foes. You can also perform a short dash with one button, and unleash a special attack with another.
As you progress through the game you can obtain Relics and Artifacts that make you more powerful and may give you additional auto attacks or special attacks. There are also mysterious potions to be found who’s effects aren’t known until they’ve been ingested at least once. Last, certain powerful enemies, or treasure chests, may drop organs. These organs give permanent and powerful boosts to your character…until they die.
Death is permanent, waking you from your Deathstate and causing you to lose any items or organs you found during your last Deathstate. As you play and die more and more items become unlocked, making it slightly easier to find them during your next trip into the void. Everything you’ve unlocked can always be viewed from the Library, your base of operations.
The Library will also allow you to switch between any player characters you’ve unlocked. Each has their own base stats and special abilities to be used in the game.
The game’s official trailer basically lets you know everything needed to play the game:
Deathstate is filled with horrific, sometimes disturbing, 16-bit pixel art. The soundtrack is eerie, and a bit unsettling, as is a lot of the sound effects in general. It all combines into a surreal and terrifying package that oozes with theme. Each level has it’s own specific details from pools of blood to obelisks. Enemies vary a bit, though there’s plenty of pallette swapping to give the impression of further diversity.
With its ultra-simple controls, unique and retro graphics, and brutally hard gameplay, Deathstate is an amazing overall game that packs a lot of punch for a small pricetag. There are hours upon hours of gameplay as you slowly unlock more powerful items to allow you to progress further and further through the game towards its finale.
There’s plenty of secrets, unlockables, and different endings to keep you more than satisfied, all with a $9.99 price tag.
A North American PS4 key for Deathstate was provided free for review by Black Shell Media.
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.