Deathtrap (PC) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 08.06.2015

Review for Deathtrap on PC

Deathtrap attempts to do two things and then fails at both. Although it is not an action RPG, action RPG elements are borrowed, but they are severely underutilised and add little to the experience. Deathtrap supports gamepads, but using one is ill-advised; navigating the abundance of muddy and garbled menus with a one is the epitome of obfuscated frustration, and aiming with it during action sequences isn't any better. Muddy, grey-brown, and realist graphics strain the eyes and leave Deathtrap unappealing. Neocore Games certainly had a noble goal and reached for the stars. Did they fall short? Cubed3 evaluates.

Ultimately, Deathtrap just isn't very much fun, and it's hard to pinpoint why this is the case. Standard to tower defence, traps must be set up to defeat waves of monsters, while also running around, controlling a single character, and attacking the enemies. Although it sounds great to combine the tower defence of Orcs Must Die! 2 with elements of Torchlight II, something is undoubtedly missing.

With all of the customisation options outside of the action sequences, it is surprising to enter a stage and find that Neocore Games has already decided where which traps can be set and left players with no room for working outside of that. In this way, it's similar to the Kingdom Rush series, which only lets towers be built at marked locations, but Deathtrap goes one step further: each location can only have particular traps built there.

Deathtrap, then, is more about choosing which traps to activate than it is cleverly positioning and combining traps to be most effective. Essence is used to build traps and activate upgrades on them, but, again, the options are extremely limited. A given trap can only be constructed at the spot Neocore Games has dictated, and the upgrades and enhancements, while they can be activated in any order, are nearly insubstantial in the effect they have on total damage output and utility. Levels play out almost exactly how the developer has decided they should play out, there's not much room to screw up.

Screenshot for Deathtrap on PC

Playing through these stages earns experience and lets the character gain levels. This is where the action RPG elements come in, as abilities can be purchased and stat points distributed. Separate to this, points are earned that can be spent across the various traps to unlock permanent upgrades. All of this is done through complicated menus that require a keyboard and mouse; even though Deathtrap has controller support, these menus are nearly impossible to navigate with one.

Too much was borrowed from Torchlight II, and this is immediately obvious when a treasure chest opens. Loot bursts forward and then litters the ground in exactly the same manner as that game. Also, just as in Torchlight II, the Shift key can be held to make the character attack without moving; otherwise, Deathtrap is click-to-move. It's so reminiscent of Torchlight II that it was surprising to find Deathtrap was made by Neocore Games and not Runic Games.

There is also an entirely unnecessary equipment system, and a crafting system because of course a crafting system. Crafting systems are the "in" thing right now, and they can be found in myriad games that don't gain anything from them—Deathtrap is a fine example of this. Carefully managing equipment, stat points, and ability points yield a total increase in damage of about ten percent, which is hardly enough to justify the effort.

Enemies all use the same colour palette (meaning they are all grey and brown), and it's extremely difficult to tell one enemy from another. Each trap has a specific enemy it is strong against and weak against, but with options being what they are, this hardly matters. This is similar to the Fort Condor attacks in Final Fantasy VII, where it didn't really make much difference that Attackers were strong against Beasts. Even if it was possible to tell at a glance which enemies were which, the limited options available when setting up traps means that players have very little room to actually take advantage of the weaknesses.

Screenshot for Deathtrap on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Deathtrap seems to have included so many action RPG elements simply as a gimmick to set it apart from other tower defence games. It doesn't really work; tower defence games don't mix well with that level of customisation without becoming overly reliant on the character, rather than traps, and it detracts from the actual gameplay. Severe limitations on the gameplay act counter to the premise of character customisation, as though Neocore Games simply focused too heavily on making it like Torchlight at the expense of its tower defence elements. Deathtrap is still not a bad game, but it is a neutered tower defence game with its main gameplay gimped by being too heavily focused on action RPG elements that contribute too little.

Developer

NeocoreGames

Publisher

NeocoreGames

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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