Dere Evil.exe is a dark and twisted meta thrill ride disguised as a simple pixel graphics side-scroller. The game blends the all the difficulty of a side scrolling platformer with visceral and fourth wall breaking storytelling to produce an experience thats creepy and strangely rewarding at the same time. Fans of both horror games and platformers will be thrilled.
The Devil in Disguise
On the surface, DERE EVIL .EXE is pretty straight forward. You control a generic knight character as he navigates obstacles and physics-based platforming to get to the end of the level. You are guided by an in-game AI called A.I.D.E. who speaks to you the player and provides instructions on how to proceed.
The controls are also very simple. Your knight can move backwards and forwards and can jump and double jump using the on-screen controls. While playing a platformer on touch controls may seem unappealing to some, rest assured that the controls are quite responsive and tight and gets the job done for the most part.
As more gameplay elements are introduced, you slowly start noticing that not everything is right with this game. The game starts introduce little things that go against genre conventions as it slowly starts to creep you out, like how picking up coins causes death and how your checkpoint in the level is marked by a small tombstone.
A.I.D.E. even starts to comment that, due to an unknown reason, there parts of the game that have changed and are now different from how it was originally programed. Some levels shed the medieval fantasy of the game world and just apppear to be someones’s living room as a new report about missing persons start play on the TV. Various audio glitches start to occur and you could swear someone just opened the door behind you.
DereEvil.exe is filled with these types of moments designed to unsettle and keep you on edge the entire game. Some less subtle than others. Some break the fourth wall even trying to trick the actual player into doing something that really won’t work. Be warned this game is not for the faint of heart.
Soon after the game’s first level, you’re introduced to more of the game’s story. We meet a girl named Yanna Curtis a central figure through the whole narrative. Without revealing too much, it features a story that occurs outside of the world of your little knight and delves into the actual creation of the game. The strength of DereEvil.exe’s plot is in how much they commit to the level of meta elements and how use them to tell a dark but compelling story.
No Rest For The Wicked
The game does have quite a difficult curve. The platforming is very challenging requiring you to perform precision jumps despite the pitfalls of touch controls. There’s also the matter of the game’s screwy physics which leads to more than a few frustrating moments and deaths. However, in a weird way, the janky nature of the physics lends to the experience. The narrative sees the game glitching out by an unknown cause, so the faulty programming and temperamental physics really highlight that fact.
As an experience DERE EVIL .EXE is quite unique. It inverts traditional gameplay conventions and throws curveballs after curveball at you when you least expect it to produce a truly unsettling and horrifying experience. Its presentation is absolutely brilliant, capitalizing on the feeling that the player is at the game’s mercy all throughout the playthrough and taking them on a twisted journey through gameplay, meta-textual elements and some fun homages to some classic games as well. Definitely give it a shot if you need a break from run of the mill side-scrollers that are dime-a-dozen on mobile.
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