Review – Disc Room

Devolver’s 2020 has been quite good so far, much better than most publishers out there. However, I can’t help but feel that a good chunk of their releases were either simple ports of a slightly older games. Or even some other titles which, sadly, just didn’t live up to the hype, like Serious Sam 4. Sure, we’ve had phenomenal titles like Fall Guys and Carrion, but I was wondering if there was something else they would release later on in 2020 to close the year, and also the gaming generation as a whole, on a more positive note. My prayers have been answered with Disc Room.

Disc Room

This is actually one of the easiest rooms in the entire game.

Disc Room wasn’t developed by a studio, but actually by a collective of well-known personalities in the indie scene. As in, people you will only know if you’re really into Devolver games to the point of religiously following their developers’ personal profiles on Twitter. The game was basically developed by four people; two of them who were part of Minit‘s development team and the other two were the people behind this year’s Sludge Life. This game ended up being even better than their previous outings, so I’m hopeful this won’t be the last team they collaborate on a gaming project.

There is a story going on in here, but I’d be lying if I told you I cared and therefore paid attention to it. You’re an astronaut venturing through the most diabolical, sadistic, and trap-filled labyrinth ever created. Which for some reason is located on Jupiter. You’ll venture from room to room, trying to avoid traps until your inevitable death a few seconds later. You’ll respawn shortly after, as if nothing had happened.

Disc Room

Disc Room features cutscenes, as well as something that resembles a plot. I can’t say I cared about either of them.

Yeah, I still don’t get why dying is so inconsequential in here in a lore-centered perspective, but mechanically speaking, it is a blast. Disc Room features one of the simplest gameplay loops I have ever seen. Simply keep avoiding a neverending onslaught of sharp discs and saw blades until you complete that particular room’s endurance challenge. If you complete an objective and then die, you’ll be able to proceed to the next room, where an even harder objective awaits you. More often than not, the sole objective will be to survive for a specific amount of time, but the game even manages to come up with some boss battles every now and then. Very creative battles with unique strategies, may I add.

You only use one analog stick and the A button throughout the entire game. You can unlock new abilities by exploring the mysterious dungeon you’re stuck in, and then assign them to the A button in order to (moderately) increase your chances of survival. These abilities range from a very brief dash mechanic that gives you a few milliseconds of invincibility to being able to occasionally absorb a saw blade coming your way. The catch is that you can only use one ability at a time, adding an extra layer of strategy to the overall gameplay. There is no better ability, as each one is useful in its own way. I ended up using the dash mechanic throughout most of my playthrough, however.

Disc Room

Disc Room’s boss battles were a lot more creative than expected.

There’s not a lot that I disliked about Disc Room. Its gameplay loop and control responsiveness are absolutely pristine, and I did not mind its ludicrous difficulty curve. I was already expecting it. The game’s presentation isn’t that bad either, even though it’s nowhere near as impactful as its gameplay department. It looks like a Flash game, with noticeably basic hand-drawn assets and models. Meanwhile its soundtrack, composed by Doseone (Sludge Life, Enter the Gungeon) is comprised of fast-paced, high-octane electronic beats that are a perfect fit for a game like this. Looking back at the game as a whole, the only thing I really didn’t care about it was the occasional story-centered cutscenes. Can’t say I cared about its plot at all

So tense, yet so nonsensically relaxing…

Disc Room features such a stupidly simple gameplay loop, yet the developers managed to come up with so many kinds of challenges and so many room layouts, it’s absolutely bonkers. It is a stupidly hard game, but it never felt unfair. Not even when I was stuck in room where the amount of saw blades trying to turn me into a sashimi defied the laws of physics. It’s challenging, but also very motivating. I ended up loving this little gem, despite some gripes with its visuals and its length. This is Devolver at its best, delivering a small, unique, colorful, bloody, and most importantly, fun experience once more.


Graphics: 7.0

Disc Room looks like a Flash game that wouldn’t feel like a fish out of water on Newgrounds. It runs incredibly well, by the way.

Gameplay: 10

Incredibly simple controls. You’ll basically use one button and one analog stick, yet the game always manages to introduce a brand new gimmick or obstacle to spice things up. As to be expected from a game like this, the controls are extremely responsive.

Sound: 8.0

Doseone is responsible for the soundtrack and he did a great job with this collection of high-octane electronic beats. One of his best soundtracks so far. 

Fun Factor: 9.0

Disc Room is stupidly hard, but it never feels unfair. It’s challenging and motivating. It’s a game that can easily win you over with its multiple challenges and surprising amount of variety.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Disc Room is available now on PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Disc Room was provided by the publisher.