Desync is an explosive neon acid trip aesthetic of a game that moves fast and hits hard, but therein lies the biggest flaw of Desync, it hits too hard. An unfair kind of difficulty that leaves a frustrating bitter taste in your mouth; tarnishing a really sweet looking game that could have been a quite bit of fun, unfortunately turned into a disappointing slug that left me punching my desk and dreading going back in.
The game is jam packed with glowing neon Tron vibes through and through, pretty much everything is hard edges and glowing, lighting up the screen with blues reds and purples. Sometimes the aesthetic can be a little bit jarring and confusing, environments are a little samey and leave a lot to be desired and enemy projectiles can be hard to differentiate between crucial pickups. Starting from the title screen there is a glitch effect through the game making things jitter, shake and interlace which can be really obnoxious especially when trying to rebind controls and fiddle with graphics options when you first start up the game I understand what you’re going for here but did you need to make the text jank out so much when you are just trying to get the game set up?
Enemy designs are pretty hit or miss, there are a couple that I struggled to tell apart but most are easily recognisable which is important for a game trying to move this fast. Varied versions of enemies consist of them being covered in a single colour like yellow or red and I still actually have no idea what the differences between the colours are, I know they are charged up variants of normal goons but I don’t know what’s actually different except for them having more health.
Desync is really fast, running and dashing all over the joint like the popular retro styled modern shooters which has a lot of potential to be fun and that’s where the disappointment sets in because of the kick in the dick difficulty. What should be a rapid fire orgasm of darting around blowing away glowy guys with your space shotgun turns into a slow boring game of run away and turn around for pot shots here and there. You will be bodied in just a few hits and health drops from enemies that you overkill so your healthbar is both too small and too hard to fill back up.
The core gameplay loop ends up being walk into a room, goons spawn in and you get locked in, kill goons and walk into the next room and that was literally it, apart from a boss fight after a few levels that’s all the game has shown me to where I got which really wasn’t far. I beat the first boss and the level after that and just that short progression was excruciatingly difficult, I don’t even know how long I spent trying to beat the first boss but it felt like forever, with only room for a few mistakes it ended up just being a frustrating mess that I didn’t even want to beat. The same thing would happen in rooms of goons, you can fight through the whole lot and get bodied by one guy at the end and you have to restart the whole room.
A lot of the enemies are just painful to fight, like the guys with hammers that will run you down or fucking slam dunk you from what feels like the other side of the room, or the fat guys with 2 blade arms that teleport close to you and kill you in 2 or 3 hits which often led to me trying to dash away when they teleport and getting myself stuck on the environment and instakilled.
The misery really started to set in as I was on the first level after the first boss and it bugged out, leaving me outside of the room where enemies were spawning with the barrier in place, only able to look in and watch as for some reason the goons would flail around trying to reach me and then drop dead, willing to exploit this to beat the level I let it go and as I was watching two of the teleport guys stomping around wanting my delicious man meat one of them managed to teleport out into the little hallway I was in and have a nasty meeting with my face. The “press R to restart” message comes up and as I am looking at it I’m thinking “Well FUCK now I need to play the game” I caught myself thinking that and that’s where it hit me, that’s really not a good sign. I was in a position where the game was so hard and felt so unfair that I didn’t want to keep playing, I didn’t want to go through however many more levels of infuriating restarting and slogging past it to reach another boss that would kick the shit out of me for what would feel like an eternity.
There wasn’t a word of lore or any kind of story so all I was left with was enough neon lights to blind a man and difficulty that made me want to punch my desk in, as of writing this I have seen there is a patch coming out soon that is supposed to address the difficulty so hopefuly that can bring Desync up to it’s potential and that it from making me want to pull my eyeballs out to a fun little shooter blowing up bright goons.
I would give Desync a 5/10