Daggerhood review for PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also On: PS Vita, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Woblyware
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Word to the wise: if you?re playing Daggerhood, don?t play it on the PS Vita. I know that I?m one of about a half-dozen people in the world for whom this warning matters, but I?m still stating it anyway. My initial impression of the game after playing it on the Vita was that it was a virtually impossible tough-as-nails twitch platformer, and it wasn?t until I decided to try it one more time on the PS4 that I learned this wasn?t the case at all.

I mean, it?s still challenging in places, if you want it to be. On each level, you have the option of not only getting to the end, but also collecting all the treasures, capturing all the fairies, and beating it within a certain time limit to get three stars. If your goal is just getting to the end, you probably won?t have that much difficulty, but if you decide to go after any of those bonus things, you?ll find that the game gets a little harder — particularly if your goal is capturing the fairies, since those only stick around for a few moments at the beginning of each level.

The difference between the handheld and the console versions is that, on the Vita, you have zero margin for error on anything. One of Daggerhood?s core mechanics beyond the usual stuff you?d get in any platformer is that the main character, the titular Daggerhood (full name: Vincent S. Daggerhood), can throw his dagger, and teleport to wherever it goes. This makes flying over large gaps a breeze, and means that he can get to all kinds of treasures on little tiny blocks of land.

Or, at least, he can do that on PS4. On the Vita, the game is unforgiving, and Daggerhood dies if he even gets in the general vicinity of any spikes or enemies. Given that most levels feature spikes rather prominently, you can imagine how frustrating it is to die for the nth time because Daggerhood and a spike were near each other.

As I said, though, Daggerhood (the game, that is, not the character) is much more enjoyable on PS4. Maybe I just had lowered expectations because my initial experience was so bad, but it was fun to play a platformer in which constant death wasn?t a given, but rather a side effect of choosing to take the more difficult route. Couple that with a retro vibe that?s spot on, and you can see why Daggerhood is a solid choice for anyone in the mood to play an old-school platformer that doesn?t seem to want to punish you just for playing it.

Unless, of course, you?re playing it on the Vita. Then it?s just not any good.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Daggerhood PS4/PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B+