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Preview – Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle [Demo] PC

I’ve never played the original Daymare: 1998 but let me tell you that after going through the demo to its upcoming prequel, Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle, I absolutely intend to play through them both. Wearing its Resident Evil influence proudly on its sleeve, this 3rd-person action/survival horror game franchise could easily be mistaken as a spin-off to the classic series. Puzzles that involve running around an overrun underground military base operating machinery and stressfully backing up to reload against onslaughts of bizarre elementally-charged zombie-like creatures are two complementary halves of this nostalgic thriller. With the added twist of being able to spray frozen gas to put out fires or even freeze enemies in place for an instant head-shattering kill, I’m very excited to see what other things Daymare has up its sleeves.

Although the demo didn’t go into too much detail about the world lore or the reason for the magical-looking orbs that seem to dictate each creature’s behaviour and strength, as if aligning them to a particular force such as fire or electricity, the little that was available to discover has seriously piqued my interest. Hopefully the explanations around the horrific outcomes of these abominable experimentations end up leaning more towards the existential Dead Space fashion than ever-evolving Resi virus mutations (that nonsense got old real fast). Actually, the H.A.D.E.S-branded utility pack that the protagonist wears does give off very ‘Isaac Clarke’ vibes, so I have my fingers crossed that it can also capture some of that haunting atmosphere or perhaps even manage to pull off one or two similarly powerful sequences that have become synonymous with said trilogy. 

This one went quickly from a game I’d never heard of to a couple of exciting ‘to-plays’ on the backlog all from a short demo. What else is to be expected when it looks great, works well, shows to have put its own spin on things, and world-builds just enough to keep me needing to know more? If you’ve powered through the Resident Evil remakes and are looking for your next hit – this might just be the one for you.

Demo available for all during the first Steam Next Fest of 2022 (Feb 21 – 28).