Death's Gambit has all the makings of a fantastic 2D Souls-like experience. Getting through the campaign right now requires a bit of patience due to glitches so hopefully, White Rabbit will refine the experience to ensure players can get the most out of it.
Death’s Gambit provides an interesting 2D challenge with its dark world filled with fierce enemies. While I can’t recommend it for everyone, anyone who likes challenging 2D action-adventure games will enjoy this title.
I kind of feel bad for the mix reviews this game received from the moment it got released. After playing it I could tell the heart and passion that went into this. I'm not aware of the bugs or problems the game had at first but as of now from a story and gameplay perspective Death's gambit is beautiful from its music to story, simply outright fun, and challenging. In my eyes Death's Gambit is perfect and has given me an amazing experience that I won't ever forget.
This game is a gem! From the stunning pixel art style to the breathtaking soundtrack made by Kyle Hnedak (serious props for the soundtrack, it’s amazing) and of course the fluid challenging combat.
The combat system starts of simple: One preforms a attack-string by tapping the designated button and there is a jump and roll attack. One blocks, dodges and parries/counter attacks to avoid damage and punish.Then there are weapon abilities which both boasts higher damage and secondary effects such as bleed/fire or an increased damage buff. Where the twist comes in is with the talent tree and weapons. Talents can give the player certain buffs when preforming a certain action, for example: Next Aerial Attack *4 damage after executing a full attack-string or blocking an attack reduces all ability cooldowns with 2 secs. Some weapons have similar effects, so combining weapons, abilities and talents can really dish out some damage if you play your cards right. There are also more mechanically adding talents such as an air dodge and perfect blocking.
When it comes to builds then the game generally has 3: Strength, Finesse and a Intelligences builds. They can all be mix and matched, all sporting different weapons to choose from. There are also starting classes which determine how to obtain additional “mana” used for abilities, 2 class specific talents each and some other perks.
But what good does a combat system do without opponents? Death’s Gambit presents a decent plethora of enemies and some incredible bosses with overall creative battle design to face of against. But the fight isn’t over when you defeat the boss. Heroic Rematches can be had with defeated bosses for rewards. The bosses obviously get stronger, but they also get a slew of new attacks! Some endgame heroic bosses will surely give seasoned players a challenge, but if that’s not enough then there’s always NG+ which the developers have fleshed out to a surprising degree. (since most games literally just tend to buff enemies and send you on your way)
Then there’s the story, which touches upon themes like life and death (starring Death himself) with a very emotional undertone featuring very humane voice acting. I can’t say too much without spoiling, so all I can say is that I thoroughly liked it. This game even used dying as a story feature instead of just a gameplay mechanic.
Where I feel the game falls short is the amount of content it presents. It’s certainly fits it’s price range, but I’m left wanting more. There was a lack of weapons (all existing weapons were unique though), some areas felt too short and I was left wanting more lore and story than what was presented. Some soundtracks like at least the majority of the “Gaianslayer” OST didn’t even get used, which is a shame since it’s truly EPIC. My playthroughs of the game took around 10 hours each to beat (minus some heroic bosses I’m stuck on...) across 4 save files with different builds. Luckily the developers are currently working on further content to the game beside patches and bug fixes.
Hopefully this spoiler-free review was somewhat fulfilling and I certainly hope anyone who decides to pick this gem up end up enjoying it as much as I do.
Death´s Gambit fulfills what it intends, offering a challenging title, with new mechanics regarding its gender rivals. Its variety of builds and its intriguing argument make it a good alternative within Souls-Like.
In the end, Death's Gambit is a solid 2D Souls clone that actually attempts to tell a direct story and provide the same challenge that fans are looking for. And it's just downright beautiful. Unfortunately, the gameplay is fairly shallow, with limited weapons and abilities. Death's Gambit can also be rather short if you are skilled at these types of games (I mean, I definitely grinded some levels). If you can't get enough of Souls action and are looking for your next challenge, you should definitely have your eye on Death's Gambit. If not, this is a title you can definitely save for a rainy day.
Death’s Gambit is 40 per cent trial and error, 40 per cent reliant on upgrades, and 20 per cent luck. Racing to the next level only to be stopped abruptly in your path by an opposing foe issues an element of surprise and delightful unpredictability, and exploring its pixelated medieval world feels both refreshing and nostalgic. Though the inclusion of a fully voiced cast and more platforming elements wouldn’t go amiss, its difficult boss battle encounters are enough to keep you motivated, providing you have a great deal of patience, and are willing to put in some time upgrading your character and skill set. Just don't get mad if you die, like, a lot.
Death’s Gambit had such promise. At its core, it is the blueprint to properly take risks and make attempts to improve a game design that we all take for granted. But it’s just surrounded with poor quality of life choices, while missing some things it should have absolutely nailed. Weird animations, strange pacing, counter-intuitive combat, and way too many bugs holds this game back from being something truly great.
The games amazing, its like a mix between hollow knight and dark souls, its only downside is that its a tad short, and skills for lots of weapons are limited. But it makes up for that with boatloads of customization options and replayability.
The world, music, and atmosphere are amazing, please let there be a sequal.
I stumbled upon Deaths Gambit by chance after gaming around with Dead Cells for a while. In short: it is a nice game that picks up retro-esque Dark Souls gameplay but has shortcomings on controls and depths. Read on for details.
... are overall decent. I m playing it on PS4 Pro. There are minor frame rate issues on screen transitions but I didnt encounter any drops while playing the game so far. The artstyle is really well made and fans of pixelart will be surely satisfied. There are nice details and the different colors and backgrounds are catching the atmosphere decently.
Sound... 9/10 - 10/10
... is amazing. I would rate this easily 9/10 or even 10/10. Also the moving, fighting, jumping, explosion are well presented and deliver intense gameplay that I enjoyed.
... are a true shortcoming which is even more sad because that game had so much potential. You have to press and hold L1 for grabbing ladders and climbing... this fact alone is an absolute no-go for me and gets intensified by clunky gameplay itself. The movement is not smooth. Turning while slashing takes time which leads to combos going in the wrong direction. In a game that is so unforgiving this is absolutely bad and should be fixed, if possible. The combo execution doesnt feel well placed either. Dont get me wrong... the game is playable and you can enjoy it that way, but for me it didnt feel smooth and way less satisfying in comparison to Dark Souls 3, Bloodbourne or Dead Cells. Also the responsiveness of the controls and the control of the character while in air is definetely lacking to me.
Story, monsters, the world... 6/10
... are well designed. I feel that the DEVs had kind of an idea but for me they werent able to transport it. The characters felt a bit dull. The world interconnection is strange. You have to walk over places multiple times and again and again. Monsters look interesting and really unique, but dont transport any feeling while you fight them. Also the classes and weapons, the character build, it all feels okay-ish. Its not bad, but it doesnt make you LOVE the game.
After all its hard to judge this game. I want it to deserve 7/10. I think if you like retro-art/pixel-art and are into Dark Souls themed games, you shoud give it a try but dont expected a bread and butter game like Dark Souls or Bloodbourne or even Dead Cells. Personally I wouldnt invest 20€/$ into this game. Wait for a sale and then have a really well worth grab.
Admittedly, I've never been too into the Souls series. I understand the appeal of them; I was one of the believers, owning the first print special edition of Demon's Souls before launch day courtesy of Amazon. I know plenty of people that love the games, with my brother getting the platinum trophy in each he has played. But something has always felt off for me in them, and the more difficult 2D games that follow a similar path fail for me in a similar manner.
Death's Gambit is a game that may seem like the aforementioned series to someone that doesn’t have a whole lot of experience or time sunken into one of the now extremely popular Japanese games. It's amazing to see how far From Software has gone, inspiring a new subset of genre often referred to as Souls-like. Similar to Metroidvanias, these don't necessarily play by all the same rules, but certainly take inspiration. Technically speaking, this is closer in relation to Salt & Sanctuary, but my experience with that game is even more limited, so I can't speak to that with much authority. So let's jump into the game.
Starting out you'll find that you've been resurrected by death incarnate and are to avenge those who have fallen, more or less. I was taken aback that the game had voice acting, and is pretty good to boot (for the more prevalent characters). The art style is the definitive high point of the game, both in character design and environments. Knowing nothing about this game, the attached screenshots would've intrigued me enough to buy this. But art is hardly enough to make the game enjoyable, and for that we need to discuss the gameplay.
Death's Gambit is no stranger to the idea of killing you. If you're familiar with the You Died screen, you'll feel very much at home in this. The difference here is that it's not always seemingly your fault. There are plenty of games where people will exclaim the game has cheated, and I don't doubt that this will have people doing the same. Deaths are not always seen as fair, and that frustration will certainly translate to how enjoyable the game is for the player. I don't shy away from difficulty in games, but when the odds are stacked against you without enough reward for the duration of the frustration, it's hard to justify playing it.
Something that I've only really seen in the likes of Shadow of Mordor (likely in Shadow of War too, but I couldn't be bothered to play past the tutorial) that makes this unique is the reaction to your character's death. For example, I fought a woman (I believe she's the first "boss" you encounter, if I remember correctly) who got the better of me, and when I ran back into the room after respawning she was confused and accused me of being one of the many undying demons. The game uses this mechanic to almost encourage death to see what will be said, as it fleshes out the world a bit more. But many of the game’s bosses will provide less of a challenge for you than just wandering around the world early on. I played as an assassin class, and the dodge behind and attack method worked without fail on the bosses, often being hard up to provide any challenge whatsoever. Perhaps the other classes that require different strategies would offer a bit more difficulty - for those that want to stick to their class though, the game has a heroic mode of the boss after leaving the room and coming back in.
In the past couple of months, we've gotten a wide assortment of 2D Metroidvanias that range from good to great, such as Chasm, Guacamelee 2, and Dead Cells. At a glance, this looks like it'll be joining them, but it ends up being quite a different beast altogether. While aesthetically stylish with a world you'll backtrack through, many of the elements feel unfinished or rushed. The game’s platforming is pretty standard and borderline boring at times. As mentioned previously, the difficulty seems to be falsely implemented for the sake of taking your time opposed to creating a sense of accomplishment. I also ran into a number of technical problems while playing it, but they may have been patched by the time this review goes live as that was closer to launch.
In theory, Death's Gambit should be an unrequited success. On paper it sounds wonderful, but the execution is flawed and at times unappealing. There are plenty of things to enjoy in this, especially if you are coming to it for the RPG aspects, but for those that want a solid Metroidvania platformer will find it to be a bit lacking. With future patches this can be something that shines, and White Rabbit's next game may very well send people down the rabbit hole, but this one falls just short of it.
If you like Dark Souls you'll get more enjoyment out of this game than most players...which is not to say you will enjoy it. It's one thing to reach for the difficulty found in Souls games, it's another thing entirely to nail the balance of discovery, build variety, and difficulty that Souls makes look easy.
To its credit Death's Gambit looks and sounds really good for a 2D Souls-like. Initially you'll feel compelled to learn more about the world and story. But early on the drudgery sets in, and you'll be skipping dialogue and trying to run through sections to get some semblance of progression. The worst part for me was the stiffness of movement you have to fight against compared to enemies' and bosses' seemingly effortless ability to put danger in your path.
It really comes down to the fact that it's too easy for your health and stamina bar to deplete. So even when you feel like you have an enemy's moves down, you find yourself without enough red or green bar to survive, eliciting an amount of grinding that feels like padding considering the limited nature of the game.
I feel bad going so hard on White Rabbit's first game. The developer's made great strides in putting out a competent product that almost feels like a B game, but as you go on the limitations show their faces more and more and outstay their welcome.
I'm not a big fan of artificial difficulty. I mean that's about 5minutes work for devs to raise mobs hp and damage, then they can namedrop dark souls.. imagine that temptation to sell any crap without working on anything else (unlike the soulsbornes, which were excellently balanced and worked games). Then there are gems, like Death Gambit or Blasphemous, with a lot of work and passion put into them.. yet still with that damn artificial difficulty. I mean the games are hard enough by gamedesign when they're worked. Besides those are 2d, you can't do much. Realistically, that means a lot of useless deaths getting 2-shot by mobs, a lot of wasted time hitting 10+ times each mob, and a lot of running from combat to heal. Tedious, boring, chorish.. anything but challenging or fun. Why da fuq ruin the games. Anyway.. yeah -3 for artificial difficulty, -2 for the level cap. at 150, hit midgame and underpowered. And -2 more for wasting my time playing till endgame where it becomes unplayable, having to hit 20, 30 times each monster. Good game but fk u back devs. Gimme crit builds if you pull crap like that
SummaryDeath's Gambit is a challenging Action-RPG through which you explore an alien medieval planet filled with beasts, knights, and horrors. As an agent of Death, bound to his service, banish your fears and endure the struggle that lies at the heart of Leydia.