Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Platformer, Adventure & Arcade
Release Date: February 21, 2019 (Worldwide)
Do you have what it takes to escape the Forsaken Caverns and rob the king of all of his beloved treasures whilst armed with only your trusty teleporting dagger? It is time for our Daggerhood review.
Daggerhood was developed by indie game developers Woblyware, the very same Woblyware that are behind League Of Evil, Omega Strike and Devious Dungeon and who has close affiliation with indie publisher Ratalaika Games, who has ported and published their games to consoles such as PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch.
After enjoying a life of thievery, a young man is eventually caught and thrown into the forsaken caverns as justice for his crimes. This is not the end of the story but rather the beginning as Daggerhood desires to escape his captivity and plunder all of the king’s gold.
There are many hazards in his way and a single touch means instant death, dangerous creatures and guards will try to thwart his escape but Daggerhood is no ordinary thief. He can jump off walls and is dagger gives him the power to teleport over short distances.
Daggerhood is a 2D, side-scrolling, platform adventure game with 100 different stages over 5 worlds. Each level has two types of collectible: treasures and fairies. There are 5 pieces of treasure in each stage and a fairy.
Fairies are time-restricted collectibles and must be reached and collected within a certain amount of time or they will disappear. Treasures on the other hand, are constant; they will only disappear after you have collected them.
Each stage has a 3 star ranking system for those that like to speed-run. The quicker you complete the stage, the more stars you can earn. Whilst trying to go for the quickest times, you may want to forget about collecting the treasures along the way, as they will only hinder your success for achieving the best time.
As mentioned earlier, there are 5 worlds; each with 20 stages. The last stage has a unique boss that you have to evade and get to the end of the stage without being caught. As you venture through each stage, you must avoid the many hazards such as enemies, spikes, and cannonballs.
If you touch any of these hazards, you will instantly die and will be sent straight to the beginning of the stage again. You have infinite lives so you can keep starting over again and again which, is quite infuriating after the umpteenth time as the difficulty arc ramps right up within the first world.
Your trusty dagger can teleport you over short distances and is an essential tool that you will need to learn to get good at using. Pressing the Y Button throws your dagger and will kill enemies it makes contact with. If you press the Y button again while the dagger is in the air, you will teleport to its position.
You must be cautious however, as there is little room for error. If you mess up on throwing your dagger or miss your timing, you could end up on the spikes and will have to start the level again.
On some levels, you can find power-ups that temporarily grant you the power to smash through blocks or slowly float in the air. They are more of a necessity than a welcome supplement and work like keys to a lock. As you can’t get progress beyond some areas without the required power-up.
As regards to controls, both the A and B button is to jump and can be used to execute a double jump as well. You can jump from wall to wall or up along the same will. The left joytstick controls the movement of your character and navigating the menus.
Daggerhood visuals are inspired by the likes of retro 16-bit platformers, much in the way that Shovel Knight and Celeste are. The stages take place in dark areas with a textured background whilst the main foreground is mainly black with some coloured textures around the surface of the floor, walls and ceiling.
The music is very retro and quite funky but each World music track is not very distinguishable from each other. The chiptune music compliment the visuals well but it is not very memorable and will not have you humming away to it long after putting the controller down.
I like the Dagger teleporting mechanic but I would have preferred that the actual teleportation action, be keyed to a separate button. Many a time have I accidentally hit the Y button a second time to attack an enemy and my character transports directly into another enemy or straight over spikes, killing me and sending back to the beginning of the stage.
The difficulty arc is certainly a fierce one. You are meant to fail, learn from your mistakes and try again. Aside from the first tutorial level, there is no further hand-holding and you will die a LOT. I found myself putting the game and walking away quite a bit so I could tackle the stages again at a later time with a fresh mind. Daggerhood is no walk in the park.
Daggerhood looks like a blast from the past and it plays like one too. As far as difficulty goes, to me, it is right up there with Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts. On the plus side, the stages are much shorter and your progress is saved after each stage. Unfortunately, anything and everything wants to kill you and will most likely succeed 80% of the time.
While it is not an award winner nor will it be picking up game of the year any time soon, it is certainly a game that will challenge players every step of the way. For $4.99, There are plenty of levels to keep you occupied with different ways to play and keep you coming back.
THE VERDICT: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by Ratalaika Games
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This post was written by Mike Scorpio