Content Previews: Mega Chests

The Deathstate world is very old and full of weird treasures. We’ve mentioned before how during runs you will find treasure chests selfishly guarded by otherworldly nasties. In these chests you will typically find a single relic or a few gold, potion, or health drops. Well, we’re not stopping there…

Enter the Mega Chest

Mega Chests are exactly what they sound like. Giant, enormous, gold covered setpiece chests filled with a plethora of rare goodies and trinkets. They will take a bit of playing and unlocking to enable in your game, but once they are unlocked you better be ready. Mega Chests don’t just open for any traveler stumbling by. All are guarded by some manner of high tier encounter or event. You don’t need to worry about accidentally triggering the event (unless you are button mashing), so if you see a Mega Chest and you decide that this is your time to be a champion you’ll have the opportunity to prepare your surroundings and maybe go grab that spare health drop you left earlier in the floor.

Survive the trial of the Mega Chest and you will reap great rewards.

Once you’ve triggered a Mega Chest event it’s time to fight! In the particular testing instance we took these gifs and screenshots from, the Mega Chest summons a pack of Elite Skeleton Warlords and some lesser minions. For many players this can be the kind of battle that makes or breaks your run. If you’re in a gambling mood or just plain treasure hungry, dive right in! If you already have a solid build going and don’t want to risk it, maybe leaving the Mega Chest alone is the wise decision for you. Where’s the fun in that though? Fortune favors the bold!

Champion of the Treasure Hoard

Behold the terrors unleashed when the Seeker tries to plunder the Mega Chest!

Once you’ve defeated the monsters summoned by the Mega Chest it will then open and relinquish it’s hoard over to you. Multiple Relics, Potions, and Spellbooks may be hidden inside. Even Organs. And gold! So much gold! Congratulations, brave champion! For you have survived the trial of the Mega Chest.

General Development Updates

In midst of all of the content stuff we’ve been sharing, we wanted to mention that in general the status of the game moving towards completion is going well. In broad terms we are approaching an internal Beta and are going to begin QA and polish rounds soon. Also this means that we are getting closer to being able to announce a release date for Deathstate. It will be happening…sometime soon!

Thanks for visiting and reading! Keep dreaming of arcane treasures scattered throughout the deep and terrible vastness of space!

Content Previews: The Maze of Ix


In a previous Content Preview we talked a little bit about the Maze of Ix theme music. Today we’re going to discuss more on the setting and it’s weird inhabitants!

Swarms of horrors and nightmares wander the hallways of the Maze of Ix!

The Maze of Ix is the third world in the Deathstate universe. It also may be the world that has gone through the most iteration and balancing out of any in the game so far. While the Maze of Ix is a “maze”, the level generation for its floors has become more open and less claustrophobic over time. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feature some labyrinthine and claustrophobic features! In a procedural bullet hell game where positioning is prime importance you begin to appreciate the difference between an open room and a narrow hallway. The Maze of Ix strives to explore the tension between those features.

You Shall Not Pass!

Among all worlds in development, the Maze of Ix also features the most position-critical enemies gathered together in one world. Strange Spiderkin leave behind clusters of baby spiders when they die! Green Slimes disintegrate into corrosive puddles of ooze! Skeletal Pharaohs have an aggressive teleport ability to pursue players who are trying to flee! And packs of flying Evil Eyes will circle overhead for some time before swooping down to attack. All of these major or minor interruptions to progressing through a floor makes for a tense and exciting run experience unique to the Maze of Ix!

Wielding powerful fire magic is one way to deal with being overwhelmed by mobs in Deathstate.

You may have noticed in some of today’s preview gifs some new and esoteric player characters we are working on, namely the Star Creep and Horror! We’ll have to talk more about those sometime soon…

Thanks again for stopping by and reading. Helpful advice: if you ever find yourself lost in a maze, always go right and you will find your way. Until next time, star travelers!

Content Previews: Screenshot Saturday

We love gifs as a way to share the exciting features of Deathstate, but we can’t ignore screenshots too! Below are some screenshots we’ve gathered from some exciting play sessions and a bit of context about them. ♥ #screenshotsaturday

Trapped in the Library

Scar wanders the supernatural Library.
Scar wanders the supernatural Library, the hub world of Deathstate. What strange research and motives opened the vibrant portal to the terrible worlds beyond?

Dependable Death

Enervating death comes frequently in the world of Deathstate.
Enervating death comes frequently in the world of Deathstate. As you travel the planes of astral horror, your connection to the mortal realm is a tenuous one. Suffer too much punishment and you may find your connection to the beyond severed in a violent burst of eldritch energy.

Magic and Might

Powerful magic tomes await those foolhardy enough to unleash their powers.
Powerful magic tomes await those foolhardy enough to unleash their powers. Secret words of power line the pages of these lost grimoires. Like a focused laser of the arcane, energy surges forth to decimate those who confront you!

Strange Denizens of the Planes

Swarms of the undead and extraplanar beings wander the weird shifting floors of the Fortress of Koth.
Swarms of the undead and extraplanar beings wander the weird shifting floors of the Fortress of Koth. While once the Fortress of Koth was a mighty prison built to span it’s giant abominable prisoner, centuries of decay and invasion have left it a place of chaos where weird things congregate to plot strange designs and deeds.

Fit for a Queen

Discover relics of lost royal bloodlines to help further your journey through the planes of Deathstate.
Discover relics of lost royal bloodlines to help further your journey through the planes of Deathstate. The myriad shifting planes of Deathstate are places of vast and terrible history. Kingdoms have risen, fallen and left relics and tokens of their time to be found. The greedy denizens of the myriad planes selfishly guard these treasures. Are you bold enough to claim them for your own?

Thwarted by the Dead

The Seeker attempts to recover a magical grimoire but is thwarted by a mob of angry skeletons!
The Seeker attempts to recover a magical grimoire but is thwarted by a mob of angry skeletons! All power comes with a price!

Speed Demons

The denizens of the Ossein swamp attack unwary travelers with frightening speed.
The denizens of the Ossein swamp attack unwary travelers with frightening speed. Fast running kobolds and teleporting warp beasts will keep travelers on their toes.

What Are You Buyin?

Behold! The lucky may find an undead merchant willing to peddle wares. Greed for some transcends time and space.
Behold! The lucky may find an undead merchant willing to peddle wares. Greed for some transcends time and space. If you have the gold to spare on a rare trinket or potion it could mean the difference between life and death.

Burning, Arcane Power

The Seeker wields a powerful arcane relic that summons waves of flame around her. Can she defeat the elite skeleton knight confronting her?
The Seeker wields a powerful arcane relic that summons waves of flame around her. Can she defeat the elite skeleton knight confronting her? Relics and weapons bring with them new powers and resources for you to unleash against the wicked creatures that dwell within the world of Deathstate. Use them wisely and you may be able to escape with your soul intact!

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed the screenshots and as always, we’ll see you next time!

Content Previews: Mummies!!!

There are some fantasy and horror genre monsters that are so evergreen and nasty that you always want to include them into your bestiary. It’s evident already that Team Deathstate are big fans of Skeletons, but have we told you about our love of Mummies?

Deathstate ♥ Mummies.

Above all others, Deathstate dev and artist Mike Roushey bears a particular affinity to all members of Mummy-kind:

In this or any other astral plane mummies, mummos and mum-ra’s are the kings of all that is and ever will be. None can equal their crawling beauty or cursed grace. Although they are slow to learn, even the strongest fire cannot burn away their strength of heart.

In fact, we were originally planning on having one Mummy enemy in Deathstate until Roushey and artist Matt Porter kept making new mummies.

A lineup of some of the Deathstate mummies  you may find haunting an astral tomb!

Here you can see a Mummy spawner lead dev Matt Leffler and Mike Roushey are prototyping for end game. So many of Mummy!

Team Deathstate hearts Mummies. Testing out a Sarcophagus mummy spawner made by devs Matt Leffler and Mike Roushey.

There’s just something about that supernatural Mummy essence that is perfect for Deathstate. Mummies being a terrestrial remnant of an ancient culture, an intended inheritor of future supernatural life via grim corporeal preparation, and ultimate in the weird mystery of their wealth and decoration…We think Mummies (be they terrestrial or otherworldly) are well at home in our strange abyssal worlds as they are in the Egyptian Pyramids.

Thanks again for checking out the Deathstate Content Preview. We’ll see you next time!

Content Previews: Maze of Ix and Boss Theme Music

The Maze of Ix

The Maze of Ix is the third world in the Deathstate universe. Strange crypt-like pathways built out of limestone set the stage here. Deep beneath the winding maze lies a red howling cosmic miasma…The halls of the Maze of Ix teem with strange, forgotten beings. Twisted spider mothers, abominable puddles of flesh, and winged flying eyes perpetually wander the maze in search of victims.

Swarms of horrors and nightmares wander the hallways of the Maze of Ix!

The music in the Maze of Ix beats with an eerie staccato rhythm reminiscent of the myriad inhuman footsteps echoing around you. Echoing synth underlies the track to convey the feeling of the weird openness of this nightmare plane.

Now for a Real Nightmare!

Nothing ratchets up the pacing of a game like an epic boss theme. The core Deathstate boss theme interrupts your main gameplay with fast paced, musical intensity. Once you hear the music change over you’ll know it’s time for you to fight for your life!

Thanks again for visiting and listening. We’ll see you on the other side!

Content Previews: Expanding on Minibosses

The Seeker squares off against a deadly Starchild Emissary!

Minibosses, Time Out and Desecration

If you’ve followed information on Deathstate so far you may have seen this tall green formidable foe. While our definition of them have been changing, the mechanics behind these minibosses follow two core elements in gameplay.

  • They will appear if you have spent too much time in a given level, acting as sort of a time-out event to help spur on progress or extra challenge. Also,
  • They will now appear when you desecrate an Altar. This adds an immediate challenge to a run for players brave enough to look for it.
  • For a long time in development we’ve had only the one miniboss entity in our builds for testing. But, with the passage time and the shifting of dimensions some new more menacing forms have begun to emerge from the void…

    Adding more depth and variety to our in game minibosses helps create a concrete gameplay progression for players.

    What you see here partially revealed are three Emissaries of the Starchild race. Adept creatures of expansive intellect, they are some of the most pervasive creatures to Deathstate (second only to Undead). Guided by the weird twisting path of time and planar isolation, they feature a bizarre varied morphology while still keeping core identifying features of their race. In gameplay terms, adding more depth and variety to our in game minibosses helps create a concrete progression for players. Plus its thrilling for us to see a section of content that has mostly been in stasis begin to get filled out and expanded upon!

    As with much of the content we preview regarding Deathstate, these threatening Starchild Emissaries are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to miniboss encounters.

    Travelers of the Outer Realms

    The place where these bosses fit into the world of Deathstate lore is an interesting one. Similar to player characters in some ways, these beings are also travelers of the myriad planes of unreality. Some may be trapped and trying to escape, while others represent seasoned and potent wanderers well equipped to navigate these forbidding realms. Some may represent a chance to gain a run boosting relic or the figurative death-knell of a run about to go up in flames. All should be considered a mighty threat!

    Thanks again for stopping in and reading the update. We have such sights to show you!

    Content Previews: The Ossein Swamp and Organs

    The Ossein Swamp, a Vile Stinking Place

    Previously mentioned in the last Content Preview, the Ossein Swamp is the second world in Deathstate. It is a terrible place where weird cultists roam among the stagnant blood covered ruins. Wild beasts and monsters swarm the area as well in terrifying numbers. The Ossein Swamp features some of the faster and more mobile enemies in the game. In our current balancing we’ve found it to be an exciting jolt of action in the gameplay progression. Running into Elites in the Ossein Swamp can be a very dangerous situation if you haven’t cleared a safe area to engage them.
    Deep within the Ossein Swamp, strange cultists roam with terrifying beasts.

    Organs, Organs Everywhere

    Deathstate is full of weird relics, spellbooks and weapons for you to find and use in your quest. Among those things you will discover are Organs. While you have finite slots to be able to hold other items (only one spellbook at a time, for example), you can carry as many Organs as you wish! Instead of merely carrying them we like to think that you take the new found organ into your spirit-form to truly change your core being. Each Organ gives you some sort of ability buff and all have some brief story element tied to them. Perhaps you will find the lungs of an ancient spice merchant, or the relic tooth of a forgotten saint. Maybe you will have four alien eyes and a brain barded in iron! We’re very happy with the level of weirdness equipping Organs has brought to Deathstate.
    In Deathstate you equip the organs of powerful dead beings to make you stronger. Truly bizarre!
    Thanks again for visiting and reading. Take good care of your organs and we will see you next time!

    Content Previews: Game Theme and Ossein Swamp Music

    The Deathstate Sound

    Those of us behind Deathstate feel a quality game soundtrack is just about as important as the game itself. Many times during game development things will just “click” once you get some decent sound effects and background music in. Each Deathstate world features its own unique background music, on top of multiple boss fight themes and other music elements to help fine tune gameplay feedback and mood. It’s safe to say that we are really into the music! Many thanks and credit to Pete Johnson and Mike Burns for helping us develop the Deathstate sound!

    Developer and composer Mike Burns shares his thoughts on the Deathstate sound:

    For each world’s soundtrack, it’s important to balance tone-setting, ambient atmosphere with a driving melodic line and rhythm track to create the most effectively compelling aural space.

    Being a 2d pixel based game we wanted the soundtrack to dwell in a space that would be both nostalgic and authentic to the visual roots. Thats why we chose to compose our music primarily out of soundblaster audio elements with a few deviations wherever there was something fun to gain. Perfect for a pixel art game that heavily uses Unity shader visual effects!

    The Main Menu Theme

    The main menu theme is the core song driving the Deathstate music experience. Heavy with eerie church bells and an echoing bass sound and plenty of fuzz on top. When you hear this you’ll know that you’re about to enter into a weirdly arcane and otherworldly game. This won’t be the last time you hear strange bells and gongs ringing throughout the soundtrack. There’s something innately “Deathstate” about the sound of an echoing bell…

    The Ossein Swamp

    The Ossein Swamp is filled with nasty monsters.

    The Ossein Swamp is the second world in the Deathstate universe (further details and previews soon to follow). It is a gloomy and dire place filled with strange cults and wild beasts amidst mold covered bloody ruins…beneath the main foreground instruments you can hear a drawn out wail of synth that adds the right kind of eerie tone to Ossein Swamp. Could it be the howl of some horror, the echo of some vile ritual, or the crying of the stars themselves?

    Thanks again for visiting, reading, and listening! We’ll see you next time.

    Content Previews: The Library, Fortress of Koth

    Thanks for checking out the new Deathstate content preview! We have such sights to show you.

    Welcome to the Library

    One of the most significant additions we’ve made to Deathstate over the past months is the addition of the Library. Gameplay wise this is your hub area where you will launch gameplay, switch player characters and view what monsters and relics you’ve discovered.

    Welcome to the Library.  This is Deathstate's gameplay hub.

    The Walls Have Eyes

    One of the new additions visible in the first Deathstate world is animated world tiles. It adds a nice subtle strangeness to your surroundings when you notice an eye embedded in the ceiling blinking at you! Flickering candles also added a lot of life to the gameplay atmosphere. All worlds in the game will feature animated background tiles that follow a similar logic.
    Deep within the Fortress of Koth even the walls have eyes...

    Desecration Station

    Another new feature visible in the Fortress of Koth are Desecration Altars. Available for players who find Deathstate too easy so they can kick up the difficulty and the rewards. You don’t need to desecrate Altars to complete the game, but you can if you wish…
    Who knows what strange secrets are kept within the Altar?

    Beware of Elites!

    The final feature I want to mention that we’re adding in are Elites. Not quite a miniboss but stronger than a vanilla enemy, Elites have extra abilities and attack patterns that will surprise and challenge an unsuspecting player. You can choose to avoid them if they seem too dangerous but each presents an additional chance for you to find a rare relic or organ to improve your build. No risk no reward in the world of Deathstate!
    The Priest squares off against an Elite Skeleton King. What a nightmare!

    That’s all we have for now. See you next time, astral traveler!