I’m never quite sure if it’s a treat or not to be able to look at an indie game and immediately recognize its inspirations. Comparisons are bound to be made, and perhaps the game will never have a chance to shine on its own merits. Indie studio White Rabbit’s Death’s Gambit falls on the positive side of this questioning, though, picking and choosing the best elements from two classic and beloved franchises: Dark Souls and Castlevania.
Death’s Gambit at first comes off in the same vein as classic Castlevania games thanks to its pixelated visual style, Eastern European imagery, and old school 2D platforming. Once our hero busts out his sword and starts to go to town on a few enemies, though, it becomes plainly obvious that the combat comes from Dark Souls’ brand of careful approach and defending until that perfect moment to strike.
Bosses too have that overly large sense of scale, and they seem impossible to defeat until their easy pattern is memorized. It’s a far cry from Alucard’s or Soma Cruz’s “charge in and murder everything” approach to castle infiltration.
Plus, Death’s Gambit has a grappling hook, the be-all-end-all tool of video games. Did you know that a strong grappling point mechanic adds an average of at least five additional Metacritic points on top of the score? That’s not true at all, but it is true that grappling hooks make video games that much more exciting.
Death Gambit looks like a marvelous indie title to keep an eye on, and we shall do that for you as more information becomes available.