That’s not to say Devil’s Dare doesn’t introduce or utilizes some of its own ideas. The first of these is the “Fatality” mechanic. Essentially, once an enemy’s health drops low enough, you can use one of your special attacks to “finish him.” Finishing off just one enemy in such a way generates more money, which can be used to upgrade your character at the end of a stage or it can be saved to give you a revive. If you finish off multiple enemies at once in this way, not only will you nab additional money from each of them, but you’ll also get a healing item as well. This can be particularly useful right before a boss fight or even in the middle of a long wave of enemies.
While the "Fatality" mechanic may seem like a fun kind of distraction or combo system, the money that it generates plays a much a bigger role. In-game money takes the place of real-life currency when it comes to buying another life in the game so you can continue should you perish, but it also is used for upgrading your character. These upgrades do provide needed boons, such as increased attack power, defense, and health, that will help you progress further in the game. The catch is that you can only buy one upgrade at a time and while they aren’t too expensive, they could potentially lower your budget to the point where you can’t afford a revive when you need it.
There’s a definite risk/reward factor involved, yet it’s also one that is reliant upon how well you master the “Fatality” mechanic. If you’re successful in grouping enemies up and finishing them off to get more money than usual, you likely won’t find yourself with money problems until late in the game. That’s assuming you’re playing single-player.
Teaming up with friends in Devil’s Dare changes the game in a very noticeable way; specifically, the underlying strategy that you employ. Enemies aren’t tougher, but grouping them up requires more coordination with the rest of your team. You could just let everyone cut loose and kill indiscriminately, but money is shared across the whole team, which means your pool of funds will have to be able to sustain more people. There is no revive mechanic so a fallen teammate will either have to spend money to rejoin the fight, or wait for the rest of the team to clear the level. You will have to decide who should get an upgrade and who shouldn’t. Healing items will have to be spread amongst everyone and exploiting some of the mechanics (e.g., using the running attack to group up foes) becomes more difficult. Bosses are, for the most part, easier with more people as one player can easily distract the boss while the others attack from behind.
It may sound like co-op is more of a hindrance than a boon in Devil’s Dare, but that’s only if you expect to play the game cooperatively the same way you play it solo. For a lot of games, adding more players means scaling the difficulty, typically by just making the enemies tougher and/or adding more of them. Thus, the enemies force players into cooperation as the foes can more easily defeat you without the support of a teammate. Devil’s Dare’s co-op experience, however, relies upon its mechanics. When playing with friends, very little changes in the game with regards to the enemies themselves. What changes is how you approach those foes. You cannot rely upon the same methods to get you through the entire game that you used when playing it alone. Every player is not a lone wolf occupying the same space moving towards the same goal. Coordination and cooperation is needed to get more money, have more healing items available, and be able to take down bosses with as little damage to the group as possible. Co-op in Devil’s Dare is its own kind of experience.
Devil’s Dare initially feels like a comfort game. It’s the sort of co-op beat ‘em up many of us grew up playing in arcades or on our home console of choice (Super NES, for me). It’s a game that will feel instantly recognizable and natural for anyone who’s played Streets of Rage, Alien vs Predator, Golden Axe, or countless others. As you play more, though, and particularly as you play with friends, it begins to lose a little of that comfort. This isn’t quite the type of game with which we grew up; it is familiar yet new. It channels the best memories of the past and puts them to work in its own ways. It is a beat ‘em up for the modern arcade.
The Co-Optimus review of Devil's Dare is based on the PC version of the game. A review code was provided by the developer for review purposes
The Co-Op Experience: Devil's Dare is a 2D zombie beat'em up, supporting up to 4 players to co-op and fight together locally. With every kill, the player makes some cash, which you can use to purchase upgrades or save it to revive when you're dead. When you run out of cash completely, you are dead for good and it's time to start over again!
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.