DESYNC is an arcade style arena shooter from FORGONE. In this game you get to shoot through wave after wave of enemies, but it isn’t that simple. DESYNC also has a scoring system which encourages you to do special combos, hit enemies into traps, and dodge precisely. To add encouragement and replay value there are high score leader boards which allow players to beat their own scores, their friends and maybe even the whole world.
When I first started playing DESYNC I was instantly enthralled. The game has a beautiful art style and great music, but after a few hours of being stuck, that beauty started wearing off. By the time I was 8 hours in I could not get past level 3. I found this to be the case with every level. I spent so much time dying over and over from wave after wave of impossible enemies, until finally getting lucky enough to pass through. I was ready to give up on the game until March 20th when FORGONE released Patch #2. This patch included bug fixes, sound fixes and some other basic stuff, but the most important change was difficulty balancing! They made DESYNC actually playable, so here are my thoughts on DESYNC after Patch #2.
Even though the difficulty balancing made the game much easier, it did not ruin it. DESYNC is still a very challenging game, which is the point. You are supposed to have to play through a level multiple times to get better and place higher on the leaderboards. They even have inverted Dark Zone versions of every level that add interesting constraints, just to mix it up a bit. It is old school arcade style challenge, and I am loving it.
This game is beautiful in a very interesting way. You play in a low poly looking neon world with a kinda grainy interlace effect put over the screen. It reminds me of the original Tron movie on a CRT monitor, but at a much higher resolution. While that may sound horrible, it is so thematic and genuinely looks great. Everything is glowing while you shoot bullets at shining enemies, which causes them to explode. You can really tell they were going for an oldschool arcade game experience, and DESYNC delivers on that. These screenshots don’t do the game justice, so make sure to watch the trailer at the top of the page.
The level design is interesting. You move from arena to arena, some with small corridors, some with pillars, some with multiple levels, etc. What really sets them apart is the hazards. There are spikes, drill pillars, corrosive acid pools, bottomless pits and more. You need to be careful with these, because though you can knock enemies into them and score extra points, you can also hurt yourself. You should be aware and remember where every danger is, because it isn’t uncommon to walk off a ledge, or dodge into some spikes. This usually means instant death and you have to start the whole area over.
DESYNC has great but slightly frustrating enemy design. On one hand there is a huge variety of very different enemies, big melee guys, little mites that attach to your face and block your vision, ranged baddies, and even teleporting enemies who will appear on top of you at the worst times. All of this variety makes for some crazy situations and crazier strategies to deal with them. The bad part of them is that their AI seems to be a little buggy. They stutter and don’t always know where to go. It isn’t horrible, but it’s noticeable. These issues can make them harder to predict, or occasionally too easy to deal with.
The weapon selection is great with a wide array of weapons for many situations, like the POLYHEDROM a rapid fire long range weapon good for taking out fast moving targets, or the DIAMETEOR a rocket launcher, perfect for crowds of enemies. My personal favorite was the shotgun like weapon called the TERRABLASTER, which is great for powerful short range kills. And yes, everything is this game has sweet names like POLYHEDROM — the first level is even named NECROPOLIS.
One of the most important parts of DESYNC is the Score System. Every time you complete an area you are given a letter grade, from D to S. Your grade is determined by everything you do in a battle, kill streak, speed, deaths, traps, variety, dodging, accuracy, etc. Some of the coolest contributing factors are the Attack Sequences. These are special effects you gain from getting cool combos. For example rushing at an enemy and killing it, knocking an enemy into a pit of acid, or a switching between weapons quickly to optimize kills. I have ran into so many interesting ways to destroy your opponents. It really encourages you to experiment and try weird things.
Although I had an aggravating time at first, the update made the game so much better. The game is still tough but now it’s more fun than frustrating. The art direction and music hit all the right notes, being the perfect homage to old school arcade games. This game isn’t perfect, but if you are the kind of person who likes a challenge then DESYNC is good game for you. Pick it up on steam here.