Deadlink Early Access Review (PC)

Deadlink Early Access Review: Cyber Hades x Doom Punk



I’ve always been enamored by the cyberpunk aesthetic, whether it be movies like Blade Runner or anime like Akira, but mostly when it comes to video games. This is exactly what drew me into indie studio Gruby Entertainment’s debut project. Drenched in bright neon lights and futuristic gadgets, Deadlink is a fast paced cyberpunk first person shooter rogue-like where you play as an autonomous combat shell fighting to take down corrupt megacorporations. It’s out in Early Access now on Steam, but is already looking to be a well polished experience and tons of fun to play.

The story of a rogue-like is never the focus, but Deadlink brings a competent premise to the table. The player commandeers a robot sent on dangerous missions to bust shady deals undertaken by dishonorable conglomerates. It’s quite the stereotypical cyberpunk setup, but one that gets the job done. This proposition naturally sets up the rogue-like nature of the game as well, because you control this combat shell through a neural connection wirelessly. Once destroyed, the connection is severed and you must start over in a brand new shell. Try, die, repeat!


Smooth and Polished Gunplay


Deadlink 1


What makes Deadlink brilliant is how smooth and fleshed out the gameplay is. The easiest way to describe it is a combination of fast paced shooting as seen in Doom Eternal with the rogue-like elements introduced in Hades. The game rewards you for playing aggressively and punishes you immensely for playing defensively or staying still. Combat is arena-based and procedurally generated throughout different runs. Gunplay is brutal and visceral, and you are always jumping and traversing throughout the arena. Circular orbs called C-Balls are scattered throughout that refill your ammo and those good old jump pads are there as well. There’s a decent variety of enemy types, ranging from your average gunman and swordsman, to robot droids and giant sumo wrestlers. Everything fits in cinematically with the cyberpunk theme of the game, especially with the challenging boss encounters at the end of a level. I get that the game is supposed to be hard, but there are some questionable hitboxes and moves from the bosses. Sometimes their attacks would track you even behind cover and feel a tad bit unfair.


Try, Die, Repeat!


Deadlink 2


You start off with the “Soldier” shell, which comes equipped with a shotgun, rocket launcher, a grapple hook, and a scrambler skill. There’s also an interesting system of marking your opponents, which allows you to regenerate your shield if you take down marked enemies. This is the only way to heal in this game, which ultimately makes the difficulty quite high considering how easy it is for you to die. As you play a few rounds, you soon unlock the “Hunter” shell, which comes with a completely different arsenal of weapons and tools. Every stage is what you would expect from a typical rogue-like game, as Deadlink doesn’t reinvent the formula or anything. Levels contain several exit points, each offering a different power-up or upgrade. Should I grab more coins to buy at the shop later on, a chip upgrade for this run, or a special token that I get to keep even if I die?

After you die in a run, you immediately get sent back to your base of operations, where you can use your hard earned currency that persists on death to unlock permanent upgrades such as restoring health on kill, gaining an extra dash, dealing more raw damage, or gaining access to secret challenge rooms. I tried a few of these challenge rooms, and I can confidently say it lives up to the name. The learning curve is high, but as you play more and unlock these upgrades, your runs will feel much more satisfying and fluid. 


Over Too Soon


Deadlink 3


What Deadlink is lacking majorly in right now is content, because there are only two levels and two classes to choose from currently. Sure, you can grind to unlock all the permanent upgrades but even that can get stale and tedious after a while. Given this game just launched in Early Access, we can expect to see more maps, guns, classes, abilities, enemies, and bosses. The current price of $19.99 USD is a little bit steep for the amount of content there currently is though, considering the full-fledged Hades is around the same price. I also experienced some frame drops and stutters on a 1070 PC but the game ran quite flawlessly for the most part, with excellent visuals and a head bopping soundtrack.





It’s no doubt that the future of Deadlink is looking very promising, as Gruby Entertainment has laid out a solid foundation for a fantastic rogue-like. The only downside to all this is the content, or lack thereof, as there are only two levels to play through. The developers have stated that the next major update is slated for December 2022 so here’s to hoping for a fleshed out road map leading to a 1.0 launch. If you’re a fan of Doom Eternal mixed with Hades, drenched with a cyberpunk skin, then you will for sure love Deadlink.


Final Verdict: 4/5

Available on: PC (Reviewed); Publisher:; Developer: Gruby Entertainment; Players: 1; Released: Oct 18, 2022; ESRB: N/A; MSRP: $19.99 USD

Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Deadlink provided by the publisher.

Henry Yu
Soulsborne & horror fanatic with a dash of JRPGs sprinkled in. Huge sucker for OSTs too!

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