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Review

Disc Room (Switch) Review

In Disc Room, you are presented with a series of rooms in which buzz-saws of different varieties, speeds, shapes, sizes and behaviours all whizz around trying to cut your sweet, soft flesh. It is yet another hard game where you will die a lot, but there’s a tweak. By including skills that unlock as you succumb to all the different disc types in the game, Disc Room very smartly brings dying into the progression loop. It makes death less of a hindrance and more of a check list. Of course, you’ll still die a heap of times. After all, a game about surviving for as long as you can in a series of death rooms was always going to be about dying over and over, but when there are three disc types you’re yet to succumb to, and you need to survive for fifteen seconds before one of them appears, it becomes fun to then deliberately lead your hapless little character into the welcoming jaws of a deadly blade.

One excellent thing about Disc Room is the customisable difficulty. If you find constant disc-death frustrating, you can navigate the menus to tweak everything from game and disc speed, through to hazard speed and goal difficulty. That last one is handy – if there’s a goal of, say, “survive 12 seconds” and you just can’t do it, scaling the percentage down on Goal Difficulty might change that to 10 seconds, 8 seconds and so on.

I found most of the rooms enjoyably challenging. They tend to follow themes, so you have normal rooms, then rooms where the timer only operates when you stand in a centre circle, then rooms where it’s pitch black or the lights turn off (I did not like the dark rooms). Different discs are also introduced in each of these groupings. And to keep things spicy, there might be a monster that spawns as a mouth on the ground, forcing you to keep moving or end up as dinner (yes, there are goals for getting eaten by various things).

It was cool to enter an almost zen-like state, watching my character and being aware of multiple disc trajectories, different disc sizes, some bouncing in predictable patterns, some chasing me directly, others operating on a whole other level of unpredictability, plus ones that charge up and ram at you. Avoiding all this for ten or fifteen or – gasp – thirty seconds feels like you’re record-breaking master.

As mentioned above, you unlock unique skills as you progress, of which you can equip one. The first of these is a disc dash, which effectively lets you phase straight through a disc. Other skills include being able to suck one disc into you, slowing time and spawning clones of yourself, which then mimic your movement. I found the slow time skill to be the most useful. It provided a lot of cool moments as I waited until the very last moment before certain death to then slowed time to narrowly thread my way out of danger.

Disc Room isn’t a long experience, but it never outstays its welcome and soon becomes something that you can get out for a quick try. Once you’ve unlocked all the rooms, there are a few cryptic secrets to work out. There are also online leader boards to challenge. You can compare your survival times against friends, the world and even members of the dev team. It’s almost frightening to see how long some people have survived certain rooms!

Disc Room is fast, frantic, smooth and inventive. It folds death into the progression loop and makes score-chasing in each gore-tastic room an enjoyable challenge. The choice of skill can massively influence your chances of survival and domination of a room, which adds experimental longevity.

Rating: 4/5

The Good

+ Quickplay structure
+ Skills are fun to experiment with
+ The variety of discs is impressive
+ Custom speed settings

The Bad

- Gatekeeper battles need checkpoints
- Some very difficult room goals
- Combined skills would be nice

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Disc Room is fast, frantic, smooth and inventive. It folds death into the progression loop and makes score-chasing in each gore-tastic room an enjoyable challenge. The choice of skill can massively influence your chances of survival and domination of a room, which adds experimental longevity.

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About The Author
Dylan Burns
Artist. Fiction writer. Primary teacher.

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