Review – Deadlink

It feels quite odd that a game like Deadlink, a game with impressive production values and one of the hottest settings in modern gaming right now (an environment so clearly influenced by the overall Cyberpunk world and lore), hasn’t managed to garner much of an impression, being released to little fanfare. That usually means that the game in question has very few redeeming or interesting qualities to make a sizeable splash, but that’s not the case with this title. Sure, yet another first-person shooter, yet another roguelite, that’s nothing new… but it’s still one worth giving a shot.

Deadlink graphics

Cyberpunk and cel shading go along like peanut butter and jelly.

It is a game that does its best to immerse you in a deep cyberpunk world, but I don’t think storytelling does the game any favors. It’s not that the plot in Deadlink is bad. In fact, the way the game drip feeds you with lore information via some excellent voice acting is actually quite good. The thing is that, at its core, Deadlink is arcade-heavy. This is an ideal game to pick up and play in short, but very intense sessions.

At the beginning of each run, you pick up a class of fighter and the kind of area you will explore. The objective is pretty simple: reach the end of the gauntlet, defeat the boss, and reap the rewards. Shoot every lunatic in sight with the help of your handful of weapons, as well as some additional accessories such as a dash mechanic and a grappling hook. At the end of each small section of the map, you have the chance to acquire a power-up or a small health boost. Keep doing so until you eventually die.

Deadlink sumo

He can eat up a lot of rockets for a dude clearly not wearing any clothes whatsoever.

You can then use the resources acquired during a run to permanently upgrade your character’s stats, giving you an advantage for a future run. It’s a somewhat fair in-game economy, not forcing you to rack up a ludicrous sum before letting you upgrade your health or other stats. In short, it’s not exactly groundbreaking for a roguelite; if you have ever played any given game in this style over the past decade or so, you know what to expect in terms of progression.

I wouldn’t blame you for not feeling hyped over yet another sci-fi shooter, yet another retro-inspired first-person shooter (clearly inspired by the mobility of both DOOM and DOOM Eternal), yet another roguelike. Yet, it’s still one worth giving a chance. It’s all about not doing anything wrong. Its gameplay is pretty good, being fast-paced and punchy. Whilst the button placement can be a bit odd at first, you can get used to it after a while. Or you can simply change it to your liking.

Furthermore, its presentation is top-notch. Deadlink features some impressive graphics, blending cyberpunk aesthetics, not unlike those seen in CD Projekt Red’s 2020 title, with some slight touches of cel shading. Every particle effect is bright and colorful. Every enemy is easily distinguishable from one another. It also runs like an absolute dream. Furthermore, I can’t help but love being bombarded with some high-octane electronic music whilst murdering a ton of enemies onscreen.

Deadlink combat

Shoot, dodge, use grappling hook, die, cash in resources, upgrade, repeat.

Initial impressions of Deadlink were mixed. Whilst its presentation captivated me from the start, it took a while before the game’s core loop eventually managed to win me over. After a few rounds and some upgrades, I’d finally get a hold of its occasionally confusing controls. I’d start jumping around, shooting everything in sight, all while being bombarded with some great visuals and music. It’s not particularly the most creative of games (it’s an indie roguelite, for starters), but Deadlink is a blast in shorter bursts. If you have a Steam Deck, this one is a no-brainer.


Graphics: 8.5

The combination of slight cel-shaded touches with cyberpunk aesthetics resulted in a game that’s very pleasing to the eyes. It also runs like a dream.

Gameplay: 7.5

Standard first-person shooting controls and gameplay coupled with a roguelite loop. Some button placements are a bit confusing, but it’s decent enough, if not a bit lacking in creativity.

Sound: 8.5

The kind of electronic soundtrack you’d expect from a cyberpunk game. There’s also some top-notch voice acting in here.

Fun Factor: 7.5

It’s an old school shooter mixed with a roguelite and a cyberpunk adventure. It gets a bit repetitive after a while, but it’s very fun in shorter bursts.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Deadlink is available now on PC.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Deadlink was provided by the publisher.