Deathloop is one of the best games of the year and three new games on Apple Arcade to keep you tapping.
Dazzling Deathloop a snappy shooter with panache
Combining witty writing and an intriguing mystery with snappy shooter and stealth mechanics and a hip, sixties aesthetic, Deathloop is endless enjoyment.
There’s nothing like Deathloop in the realm of video games. You may recognize many of the components, though. It comes from Bethesda’s Arkane Studios, so you’ll see some of the style and mechanics from the Dishonored and Prey games. And it’s one of the new genres of game that is inspired by the roguelike concept of “you die, you start over from the beginning”.
But Deathloop is it’s own damn thing. And I can’t get enough of this PS5 console exclusive (the game is also available for Windows).
It’s a high-concept premise. You are Colt, and you are stuck in repeating day on the island of Blackrock which is populated by villains and reprobates. You want to break this loop, but to do so you need to figure out what’s going on, why, your place in it, and why others are trying to “protect the loop”.
Your goal, ultimately, is to assassinate the “visionaries” on the island and to finally end the loop you need to get them all in one day, before time resets and they’re all alive again.
One of these visionaries is Juliette, who you regularly converse with through the game. She’s trying to prevent you from breaking this cycle and will actively hunt you down at various points in the game. If she takes you out, the day resets. If you can kill her, you get to loot her valuable gear.
To make this even more compelling, you can set up your game so that real people can come into your game and become Juliette. You can leave this open to any other player, restrict it to friends, or let the game play Juliette instead.
It’s how Arkane has deviated from the typical roguelike mechanics that makes Deathloop so much more enjoyable for me than other similar repeating games. Your playthrough doesn’t end when you die, for one. You get three “lives” before your day starts over again, and you can recharge these lives if you get through a section of the game without having the day reset.
And you can also keep progressively more of the weapons and items you collect thanks to a currency called “Residuum”, which you can spend to infuse those valuable guns and powerups.
The island of Blackreef is divided into four different regions (Updaam, the Complex, Fristad Rock, Karl’s Bay) and the day is divided into four time periods (morning, midday, afternoon, evening). Each region has a different flavour to it at each different time of day, so if you visit Updaam at night you’ll be confronted by many more enemies scattered in different parts of the map.
You’ll become intimately familiar with these maps because you’ll be exploring the areas over and over, farming for Residuum and the other weapons and items that make Colt unstoppable. Along the way you’ll learn more about why Blackreef is stuck in a loop and why Colt and Juliette are such glorious antagonists.
How you do anything is entirely up to you. There’s no prescription for succeeding in Deathloop. If you want to go guns blazing, you can do that. If you want to sneak around, you can do that. You can use either and both approaches depending on where and when you are and what you’re trying to do.
You’ll die, frequently. You’ll start the day over again repeatedly. But you’ll never get bored because Arkane has been able to design Deathloop so that you’re always progressing the story. And because you’re becoming more powerful the more you play, it’s all worth it in the end.
Three new games to play on Apple Arcade
Temple Run: Puzzle Adventure was one of the first endless runners on mobile phones. Now, the franchise has been converted into a match-three game. You can play Temple Run on any iOS, macOS, or tvOS device.
Zen Pinball Party is also playable on virtually any Apple device. Zen has been around for a while, and the digitally-recreated pinball tables are amazingly realistic.
Layton’s Mystery Journey is only playable on iOS devices, so your iPad and iPhone, and features a new female protagonist in Katrielle Layton, who is searching for her father, the clever puzzle solver the series is named after.