Demon Spore places you right at the heart of a deadly contamination breach

I don’t know about you, but one thing that I definitely don’t want to find myself having to do the next time I’m at the office is fighting my way out of a laboratory that’s being overrun by an expanding, deadly lab-created viral horror born out of an experiment gone wrong. That, however, is what you’re doing in Demon Spore, a vicious, top-down roguelike-meets-dungeon-crawler, with a serious brutality about it.

By the time Demon Spore starts, everything has already gone horribly wrong. A rapidly growing lifeform has broken containment and is spreading through the research complex. It is, put simply, a killer nightmare blob that’s rapidly evolving and attempting to consume all of the living matter it can find. That’s you.

While it looks like a top-down, twin-stick arcade shooter — which I was guilty of thinking when I first saw it earlier in the year at Courage XL — it’s nothing of the sort. In fact, if you decide to try and play it like that then you’ll end up confused and dead after a very, very short run. That’s because, despite any first impressions, you’re really, really against the odds here. In fact, it’s closer to games like Hotline Miami or OXTO where you need to be continually thinking on your feet and about your next move. The difference is that the enemy is always hunting you, so the moment you’re trapped in a corner, or your weapon runs out, you’re probably dead.

There wasn’t a single point where my death didn’t feel like a panicked, final moment. That wasn’t because I never felt like I was in control — although it’s tough to be in control when the sprawling flesh mass starts pumping out bipedal hulks or tentacled beasties that hurl organic chunks across the room — it was because every room is a bit of a scramble for the first few seconds when you get in there, and in those seconds you have to make a plan, and death comes almost at the exact moment that you realise that your plan just wasn’t good enough.

You burst through the door, spot the canister, and notice the railgun, the locked security door and the broken windows. The creature is in a later stage, greying, so you have a moment to make your choices… you throw the canister through the broken window at the beast, but it’s just off-centre and as you detonate it you realise that you were just off-point with it. A small fragment survived and has already started to grow.

Demon Spore

There’s no progression from room to room, but you (and a companion) start to recognise and learn the patterns of the spore. You start to learn to flank, and start to understand exactly how close you can get to these things before it’s too late. Then you clear a room, then three, then five. Suddenly there’s a meta to each room. The facility is locking down each lab as they become overwhelmed, and you need to make your way from one side of the facility to the other, with the sprawling, expanding demon spore right between you and the exit.

The build I played was totally ready to go, however the developer still had some tweaks in mind. Either way, I really enjoyed my time with Demon Spore and look forward to trying to escape from its nightmare fuel when it does release.

Demon Spore will release on PC, via Steam, in the future.

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