When humans eventually find a mysterious object in space, I’m damn certain they’ll be exploring that thing—no matter how ancient or alien it is. I’ve surmised this solely from my experience with media, especially video games. In this case, there’s a giant disc floating around Jupiter. The hand drawn style cutscenes don’t really explain how or why they’re there, but it was undoubtedly for some answer to the universe’s mysteries—but oops! No answers, just discs.
I’ve heard of bullet hell, but is blade hell a thing? I guess it is now. Disc Room is described on the developer’s website as a “sawcore bladerunner” that pits you, a lone scientist, against a massive slaughterhouse of blades and puzzles. Your goal is to avoid these blades, usually for a set amount of time—and that’s it. And dammit, that’s hard enough. Death doesn’t seem to stop you, and it even seems to bestow mysterious powers that might help you get out of this alive. Well, get out of this without being chopped as much as you previously would have been—it doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Sawblades in Disc Room come in all shapes and sizes. Some shoot other blades. Others slow you, or push you. Dying by certain blades will bestow powers upon you the first time you encounter them. These powers can be used for the rest of the game once acquired. My favorite, the dash, gives you invulnerability that allows you to pass unharmed through blades. But you acquire several skills on your journey, such as the ability to push blades, slow time, or even absorb a blade to shoot out later. You’ll need all the help you can get, because these rooms are tricky.
There are even boss encounters where you have to not just survive for a certain amount of time, but also pick up amber orbs to damage the boss. Later rooms have similar mechanics, requiring you to step on a number of grid squares before you can continue. Still other rooms use light to attempt to trip you up, while most of the puzzles in the overgrown rooms require you to stand on a disc in the middle of the floor for the time to register. There’s a lot of variation between disc types and rooms to have you invested to the end.
You travel through the disc by selecting the room you’d like to attempt in an overhead map. You don’t have to travel through one room to get to another—once you unlock it, you can fast travel to it. Some rooms have multiple objectives. Each objective, if completed, unlocks an adjacent room—with other rooms only unlocking once you complete certain objectives over the entire area. Some of these challenges are absolutely devious, and you’re challenged to beat the dev’s times in each room—though there was no public leaderboard (at least not in the pre-release review build) and that’s a shame. I hope to see them implemented after launch.
Once you finish Disc Room—you’re asked to do it again, but this time in reverse, in a sort of new game plus that has you trying to escape the large floating disc through rooms you’ve already accomplished—but this time with an insane harder difficulty. Despite its challenges, and even its mirrored escape run, Disc Room is a pretty short game—taking less than four hours for me to complete it both ways, and with all challenges done.
Disc Room is great fun, and it’s one of the most fun games I’ve played in a long while. It has a killer soundtrack, and utilizes a cartoon gore and art style that reminds me of Super Meat Boy—and the time between deaths and getting back into the action is about similar. It doesn’t take too long to play through Disc Room, but it’s something I’ll be recommending to anyone I can. Jump into this giant disc full of discs and rooms, and see how long you can last.
If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content and more. Patreon.com/3CR
You can also catch us streaming games we’re reviewing and staff favorites at twitch.tv/bokor