Deathstate: Abyssal Edition is a game that fits into multiple categories. The best way to describe it is as an action-adventure RPG shooter. The game looking like a 16-Bit Era lost treasure. The story opens on our heroine as she has received a message from Professor Elinberg from Miskatonic University. He has opened a portal to the void and now you must go and search for him to discover his fate. Bread Machine an indie company out of New York has created a game that feels like it could have been released on a system in a different era but still works well on the Switch.
The controls for the game are basic and easy to pick up and play. You move with the L stick, Dodge with the R stick, and use abilities and items with the Y, X, and B buttons. Shooting monsters is simple as the game aims and fires for you leaving you free to move and dodge from incoming projectiles and monsters. The game allows for automatic pickup of various items and power-ups you find around the levels. The items and power-ups are shown on the bottom of the screen in boxes that show you the button to use to activate them. Some of the items become part of your permanent arsenal firing things like lasers and fireballs along with your standard magic the player comes equipped with.
The game consists of a Library that serves as your base of operations. This is where you go when you die in a level and can see what you have unlocked in your time in the portal. The Items book shows the 178 different items that you can discover and unlock as you play. The Bestiary book lists a total of 96 different monsters that you will encounter as you travel across the various levels. The Unlocks book shows the 96 different unlockables in the game. All of these books’ contents are hidden until you encounter them in the game. There are a total of 10 unlockable characters that you will encounter the longer that you play. These characters are playable and each provides different boosts for the player.
Music and Art
The games music and art are retro in a good way. The 16-bit style fits nicely with the game and changes with the levels to fit the various different monsters you encounter. The music is eerie and sets the mood appropriately for the story of the game. The sound effects are basic as you hear standard noises for firing and attacks as you give and take damage.
The game consists of 8 stages that have 3 layers each and then a boss fight at the end of each one. You enter the first stage from a portal in the library and must survive a horde of enemies as you collect power-ups and items that increase your player’s strength and health. You keep your power-ups and items as you move from level to level but must start over from scratch if you die. Each level is a series of labyrinth-like mazes that you must navigate to find the power-ups as you battle the monsters and search for the portal to the next level.
Your character will lose health and lives as you are attacked by monsters. You can heal however by picking up blue squares to refill your health that begins with a total of 50 HP. Your lives can be replenished by collecting red squares that will refill the 3 skulls that appear at the top of the screen. They will begin as solid red and turn into white skulls as you lose life in the levels.
The game has a lot of replayability as you must continue to try to survive as you are killed and must restart over again and again. The unlockable items become stronger the more you play allowing you to move further and further through the levels. In the hours that I played, I barely scratched the surface of the unlockable content that is available in the game.
Bread Machine has ported a game that works well on the Switch. I enjoyed playing this game both on the big screen and portable as it was easy to play. Although frustrating when you die and lose all your items and have to start fresh it just made me more determined to try harder to get further. With a price point of $9.99, this game has enough content to keep you busy and entertained for hours on end.