DYSMANTLE review (PS5)

Not long after its debut in Early Access on Steam, DYSMANTLE has launched into its 1.0 version, and developer 10tons has also launched the game on PlayStation and Xbox in the process. We checked it out on a PlayStation 5.

On the surface, Dysmantle seems like a typical indie you find on Steam. It’s described as a “post-apocalyptic open world action RPG”, which probably fits hundreds of games on Steam right now. But 10tons, which we first got to know as the developer of casual games like King Oddball, Tennis in the Face and Sparkle, has put a creative new spin on a tired genre here.

Yes, there are zombies walking around in Dysmantle, but this isn’t just a case of sticking to the shadows and striking when the risk of getting overwhelmed isn’t too great. Here, loot is crucial for building and upgrading stuff, and you get it by smashing stuff to bits. And while that may sound like a rather simple gameplay nuance, the environments are a great catalyst – offering variety and new challenges that almost give it a metroidvania-like feel at times (but generally without much backtracking).

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You’ll gradually open up more and more of the world by activating towers and opening gateways, and as you progress you’ll also gain access to more and better weapons than the crowbar you start out with. As you’d expect with all that loot, crafting’s a big element as well, and some resources will let you level up your stats and/or equipment, or add new ones to the list of things you can manufacture.

Of course you’ll also face combat, and Dysmantle features different zombie types that will require different strategies. Some have ranged attacks, while others allow you to take them out from a small range as long as you keep dodging their attacks. There are even boss fights to tackle, and combat is generally challenging and thus makes the whole crafting and upgrading process engaging, as defeating a powerful foe feels like a reward in a number of ways.

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It’s a more forgiving game than you’d guess based on the combat though, as falling in battle just means you get to restart and pick up your dropped loot again, so as long as you keep pressing on and grinding your stats and equipment you’ll keep progressing. It’s a loop that also had me hooked on 10tons’ JYDGE, and it’s just as effective here.

Dysmantle isn’t as engaging as zombie classics like Days Gone or The Last of Us, just to name two, but it’s a lovely “one more run” type of game that provides plenty to keep discovering as you push on. Another 10tons game that, without paying much attention to the clock, I’ll be spending a lot of hours on.

Score: 7.4/10

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