Since the downfall of arcades in the nineties game development has focused less on the idea of a high score, more so on the aspect of story development and making it to the end. Though every once in a while a game comes out that steeps itself in the idea of combos, scoring and leaving your mark with the high score. The game in question is Desync a first person shooter developed by The Foregone Syndicate and published by Adult Swim games.
The premise of Desync is simple, beat the levels, no real story to go by you just jump in, get to the level select screen and start the game. Now upon booting it up the first thing that will be noticed is that this game oozes the eighties, from the synth rock to the neon palette and scan lines on your screen to mimic a VCR. Progressing through the levels will unlock three additional weapons beyond the starter pistol. Four side arms can also be unlocked as well as weapon upgrades, attack sequences, and core abilities. Fragments can also be found hidden throughout the levels. Fragments are the currency that is used to purchase upgrades.
Gameplay is fast paced and hectic, boiling down to move and shoot, in your arsenal, there are variety ways to kill the enemies, from dashing and knocking them back with the shotgun, to the alternate fire of the pistol which stuns some enemies. Points are scored for getting kills in a variety of ways including weapon swapping between shots, chilling them with the crossbow sidearm and finishing them off with the primary weapon, and using knockbacks to hit them into environmental hazards. There is also endless re-spawning though, you re-spawn at the start of the section that was just finished. Every weapon has a primary and secondary fire, there are no iron sights in this game. The pistol stuns enemies, the shotgun shoots a blade that hovers in the air a short distance out and rotates and the launcher fires an explosive round that does splash damage.
Sidearms and core abilities need to charged via getting kills and scoring combos, the better you fight the faster they charge. Sidearms vary from a shield that will block attacks, a crossbow that freezes to dual pistols. Once the sidearm is charged it becomes a pickup on the map that needs to be obtained, all side arms last a limited period of time. Core abilities vary from healing to increasing speed or damage for a short period of time.
At the end of each round, you are scored based on how accurate you were, how high your score was in comparison to a perfect run, whether you re-spawned and whether you had to heal. Healing, re-spawning or using certain core abilities will take away from your final score. You gain bonus points for being above the accuracy percentage threshold, varying how you kill enemies, proper ammo management and using desync attack sequences. One example of a desync attack sequence would be dashing into an enemy and blasting them at point blank range, called Agressor. Memorizing enemy spawn patterns and taking risks will go a long way toward achieving the high score and mastering the levels.