Daymare 1994 Sandcastle – Review

Daymare 1994 Sandcastle Featured Image
Release Date
August 30, 2023
Leonardo Interactive
Invader Studios
PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by
Leonardo Interactive

“Daymare 1994”, is a 3rd person survival horror game that serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed “Daymare 1998”. It’s a story-driven horror game inspired by classic horror titles like Resident Evil. Daymare 1994 explores the events that took place prior to the storyline of Daymare 1998, offering players more insight into the game’s universe and lore.

You take control of Agent Dalila Reyes a likable, strong, independent woman who does anything to finish her mission. The game takes a lot of nostalgic homage to the survival horror genre where you have to survive with limited resources, inventory management, and exploration and solve puzzles to progress.

Daymare: 1994 takes place in Area 51, the mission to retrieve a briefcase, the investigation of the facility, uncovering truths, and delving into the stories of the people working there all seem to contribute to a rich and engaging narrative experience. Exploring the environment, reading files, and listening to tapes are classic mechanics often found in survival horror games, as they help players like me immerse in the game world and gradually piece together the backstory and lore. It’s evident that the storytelling and world-building aspects of the game are engaging, and that’s a crucial factor in maintaining my interest.

When playing the game, its gameplay reminds me of Resident Evil Remake wherein players navigate creepy environments, solve puzzles, and face limited resources and challenging enemies. While the game captures some of the atmospheric and puzzle-solving aspects of the Resident Evil series, It appears to have some issues in terms of controls, movement, and enemy variety.

Control and movement problems – such as unresponsive button presses, slow character movement, and difficulty in aiming or switching weapons – can significantly impact the overall gameplay experience. Smooth and intuitive controls are crucial for player engagement, especially in games that involve combat and exploration.

Regarding the lack of enemy variety, having a diverse range of enemies can enhance the gameplay by introducing new challenges and keeping players on their toes. Repeated encounters with the same enemy type can potentially lead to monotony, and the overall experience could benefit from a wider array of threats to face. Daymare 1994 squarely falls in the latter category.

Addressing control and movement issues, as well as introducing more enemy variety, would likely enhance the overall enjoyment and replayability of the game. Regular updates and patches can go a long way in refining the player’s experience and making the game more enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

It’s great to see that Daymare: 1994 game visuals are of high quality, comparable to those of a triple-A game, especially considering it’s developed by an independent Italian game developer.

A detailed environment contributes to the immersive experience, creating a rich and engaging game world. However, it seems that there are some issues with the character models and animations that are affecting the overall presentation and emotional impact of the game. Character models and animations, particularly during cut scenes, are crucial for conveying emotions and bringing the story to life.

Mismatched mouth movements and lack of facial expressions can indeed hinder the players’ ability to connect with the characters and their experiences. Authentic and relatable character expressions and animations play a significant role in immersing players in the narrative and allowing them to empathize with the characters’ situations. Improving character animations, facial expressions, and eye movements can greatly enhance the emotional resonance of the game. Players should be able to see the characters’ emotions and reactions in a realistic and convincing manner, which can significantly contribute to their investment in the story.

If the developer can address these animation and facial expression issues through updates or patches, it could lead to a more well-rounded and emotionally engaging gaming experience. It’s evident that the game has a lot of potential, and refining these aspects could help elevate it to the level of its impressive visual design.

The game is running smoothly on the PS5 and I haven’t encountered any game-breaking bugs. A seamless experience on a next-gen console like the PS5 is essential for player satisfaction.

The well-designed sound that contributes to the eerie atmosphere and feeling of isolation also adds to the immersive experience of the game. However, I encountered some weird glitches, such as character models popping in during cut scenes and assets like guns or hair flickering in and out can indeed disrupt the immersion and overall enjoyment. These types of visual glitches can detract from the otherwise polished presentation of the game. It’s common for games, especially those with complex visuals and interactions, to have occasional glitches and bugs. Developers often release patches and updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and enhance the overall player experience.

If the development team is attentive to player feedback and dedicated to improving the game’s technical aspects, it’s likely that these glitches will be resolved in future updates, allowing players to fully enjoy the game without these distractions. Regular updates can also showcase the developers’ commitment to delivering the best possible experience to their players.

Overall, I really enjoyed the game despite its flaws. My love for survival horror games played a role in my positive experience playing Daymare: 1994. The developer’s passion and dedication to creating a game that pays homage to classic survival horror games is a testament to their efforts to capture the essence of the genre I enjoy. Hopefully, the developer takes these insights into consideration to further refine and improve the game through updates and patches. If you are a fan of this genre, I recommend checking this game out.

Daymare 1994 Sandcastle Featured Image
Daymare 1994 Sandcastle – Review
Score Definition
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you have to admit it is a “Good” game.
Good Quality Visuals
Atmospheric sound design
Rich Lore
Strong World Building
Engaging Story
Limited Enemy Variety
Glitches and missing assets
Control Issue
Character Model and Animation Problem