Deathtrap – Review
Follow Genre: Action, adventure, RPG, strategy, tower-defense
Developer: Neocore Games
Publisher: Neocore Games
Platform: PC

Deathtrap – Review

Site Score
9.5
Good: Strong RPG-elements; good variation of monsters, spells, traps, maps and game-modes, high replayability, stunning visuals, can easily be expanded via DLC's
Bad: Uses a setting of the Van Helsing games which some might not have played
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Deathtrap, NeoCore Games’ first tower defense and action RPG, has been in Early Access for a mere three to four months. That is, until the game fully released earlier this month. The short duration of the Early Access of this tower-defensive Van Helsing-spin off does not mean the game is lacking in any way. In fact, this hybrid is simply outstanding and features everything you’d want in an action-RPG: huge invasions of deadly minions and a large variation of traps, spells and other RPG elements combined with various game modes including a CO-OP and PvP mode.

Deathtrap

Story

Deathtrap takes you to the hidden regions of the Ink, the mysterious otherworld that was first featured in the Van Helsing games from NeoCore Games. It is in the Ink that one can find empty forts, once used to keep the deadly minions from the otherworld at bay. These forts are your playground, as you’ll use them to fight off the hordes of monsters discharged by the black heart of the Ink.

You’ll be fighting off the incoming armies with one of the unfortunate souls who were left in charge of the fortified labyrinths that are the forts. Each of these souls have their own tale. The Sorceress has been trained to make use of the power of the Ink. The Mercenary was thrown into this dark world by his own foolish actions. The Marksman, who lives to hunt, travelled to this dark world on his own accord – hoping to slay legendary beasts – only to find that he now has to save the world from the impending doom.

Graphics

If you’re familiar with the Van Helsing-franchise, you’ll immediately notice that the visual design in Deathtrap is similar. This shouldn’t come to a surprise to you as both games are set the same universe, somewhere in the 19th century. Much of the overall design – including the RPG features – was inspired by the Van Helsing-series, which were created by the same developers but there are features that are typical for its genre, the tower-defense games. Beside the quite obvious influence, Deathtrap also features a Diablo-esque feeling. This is not only visible graphically but also in the gameplay itself which is a typical action-RPG feature. Therefore I can say in all honesty that the two genres are mixed perfectly, not only in the gamestyle but also visually.

Deathtrap scr04

Sound

As I mentioned before in the preview, the soundtrack is quite difficult to determine. It sounds like it’s a Celtic soundtrack, which would somewhat align with the game’s setting. It’s very rhythmic and calming but when the battle calls for it, the pace can accelerate. This can certainly raise your heartbeat like it often does during horror games because you know something is about to go horribly wrong. Whether it does or not is up to you of course.

There is not much voice-acting in the game. In fact, most of it is to explain the story in the beginning and at the end of the campaign but none of it is disturbing in any way, nor is it quite bothering that there is not much to ‘listen’ to.

Gameplay

As Deathtrap is a tower-defense game at its core, it uses features similar to other games of the same genre such as Dungeon Defenders, Orcs Must Die! and Sanctum. Before each wave of monsters, you’ll be able to place traps and towers that will aid you in slaying these foul beasts. Once you’re satisfied with your set-up, you can start the wave and face the incoming horde head on. As the traps cost Essence, which is gained by killing monsters, you need to have a certain strategy in mind. You could sit back and relax but you’ll notice soon enough that the traps you’ve placed are not always strong enough to deal sufficient damage. You’ll be able to deal quite some damage yourself with the use of various spells, which you can upgrade and unlock at certain stages. The same goes for the traps and towers.

Deathtrap scr05

In the preview, we’ve only had the Sorceress class which is a ranged magic class but two more classes has been added. The Marksman acts like a hunter thus he is also ranged. The Mercenary on the other hand is a melee class which is quite similar in gameplay as Diablo’s Barbarian. You should be able to find a suitable class for you with these three classes, especially since the gameplay can change depending on what abilities you upgrade and unlock later on. Since the game hints towards DLC’s, you should expect new classes in the near future. And before you ask, yes, you can have all three classes.

The RPG-feature is mostly found in the huge skilltrees. There is a character skilltree which consists of passive and active abilities. This skilltree is also split up into three types: combat skills, trap skills and world skills. These are, once again, split up into three tiers which are unlocked at specific levels. The second skilltree you’ll make good use of is the trap skilltree. The trap-tree is split into five types: mystical ground traps, mechanical ground traps, mystical towers, mechanical towers and summoning traps. Again, there are three tiers which are unlocked periodically. Certain traps require you to deal specific damage or upgrade specific traps and more to unlock them. If you are a numbers-cruncher, here are some numbers for you: there are 25 different traps and more than 150 trap upgrades and more than 50 skills per class. Certainly enough to keep yourself busy for quite a while.

Deathtrap scr06

If these numbers don’t mean anything to you, there are three types of game modes: single-player, PvP and Co-op campaign. The single-player contains of 13 maps, which can be replayed on five different tiers, in three different modes: casual, normal and hard. Once finished with the campaign, five more scenario maps will unlock. Once you’ve reached level 20, two more ‘game modes’ within the single-player mode will unlock: Endless mode, where you fight endless waves of monsters and the Scenario mode where you can customize the difficulty of the challenges for better gold, XP and item rewards. The same 13 campagin-maps can also be played in co-op mode with up to three other players. The third mode, the PvP mode, uses the classic arrangement of defender vs. attacker. As the defender you’ll need to slay the incoming waves of monsters, as the attacker you’ll be the one leading the monsters. All of this only adds to the already incredible replayability of the game.

But wait, there’s more! As your character levels up, you’ll be needing new gear that will further aid you in your battles. There are three ways of getting equipment. Once you’ve completed a level, one or more chests will ‘drop’ which can contain equipment, gold and materials. This gold can be used in the in-game store to buy equipment and potions. A third way to get equipment is via the crafting system where you can craft weapons, armor and accessories for your character. Keep in mind that you’ll need various crafting materials as well as some gold to craft. If you don’t have enough materials, you can always salvage items you’ve found.

Deathtrap crafting

The game has an encyclopedia where you can learn more about the creatures you’ll be facing sooner or later. This encyclopedia is a great way to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of the creatures so you may adapt your strategies accordingly. And lastly, you’ll find a leaderboard, split into four categories.

Conclusion

NeoCore Games certainly risked something by making a hybrid game that uses such extensive RPG-features in a simple genre such as the tower-defense but it was absolutely worth it. Deathtrap is a great game for fans of both genres that has every feature needed for both genres and combines it in a visually stunning game. There will be exceptions where one might be put off with the hybrid or its visual aspect but I can honestly say that the game is an incredible experience for such a low price.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Deathtrap - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Drydwen
Drydwen


Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.