icon Author: athgadt
Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle Review

When you're tasked with retrieving a vital briefcase, the world as you know it turns into a living nightmare and nothing will be the same ever again. Are you ready to face the truth and uncover the mysteries lying in the dark?


Developer - Invader Studios / Publisher - Leonardo Interactive, 4Divinity.

Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle is a third-person story-driven survival horror game prequel to the critically acclaimed Daymare: 1998. Step into the shoes of agent Dalila Reyes, a former government spy now in the service of H.A.D.E.S. unit and prepare to face the true horror.

Prepare yourself for some crazy camera angles, a barrage of bullets and a busload of enemies in this action-packed survival horror game known as Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle. As the Steam description mentions, you play as Dalila Reyes, who's now working as an undercover navy operative in service of H.A.D.E.S. The story unfolds on top of a tower where you meet Commander Foster and Major Radek, who alongside you has also been tasked with retrieving a very important briefcase from a top-secret base. Everything seems fairly normal until your team reaches the base and soon discovers there's a lot more ahead than what they were prepared for. 


Before even talking about the gameplay involved, a warning... I went in completely blind to the whole experience as I had not played the previous game, Daymare: 1998. So, you've been informed soldier.

The game offers 3 difficulty settings on which to play: story (easy), normal and hardcore which just changes how much ammo would take to defeat an enemy, story-wise the game remains completely the same throughout the different difficulties.  Along your gameplay, you'll also come across some interesting and timed puzzles that upon unlocking, could grant you any sort of desired and needed loot. There are also some nice upgrade stations lying around, some behind locked doors that you must hack to enter. These upgrades can give you better cooldowns, faster reloads and even other abilities to use. If that wasn't enough, you also have objectives and hidden collectables to look out for. Hint? Pay attention to the sounds.

Mainly, here you're fighting some sort of alien experiment enemies with the ability to possess and reanimate the dead. As with any other survival horror game, some might be harder than others, so pay attention to your ammo and the weapons you're choosing to use. Using a powerful shotgun and a quick-firing SMG, armed with powerful cryo-freezing technology, you will mostly find yourself lacking ammo, remember to conserve it and resources as much as possible. The cryo-freezing can be decent, but it can also be awful as the recharge is slow and some attacks take a good chunk away from it.

Besides that, the character movement seems a bit off and when you mix it with weird camera angles, it's a recipe for disaster, even the third-person view wasn't able to save it. An example of this? Ladders. Why ladders? I don't think I've seen so much butt action in any other horror game before... the camera angles for the ladders were just not that great and instead of being something that could be skipped, depending on the ladder, you would be stuck seeing her butt for a minute or longer.

Daymare has some pretty nice easter eggs, if you pay attention closely to your surroundings and the influence from other games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Alien Isolation can be seen around the map and in different places you explore. It particularly reminded me a lot about the original Resident Evil 2 at one point. And as with similar games, be prepared to run back and forth in the same areas multiple times as you unlock new doors and pathways. Currently, the game has no tutorial of sorts but will guide you as you discover new weapons and items.



1. Puzzles - the difficulty of the puzzles isn't dependent on the game difficulty chosen. The puzzles are fun to do and vary in difficulty from easy to very hard. If you add to it that some are timed, you can bet you'll have a good time.

2. Upgrades/modifications - around the map, you'll find either upgrade stations or random weapon modifications that will aid in your adventure. Choose wisely.

3. Straightforward- sure some is going back and forth but the main story doesn't deviate much and by the end of the game, everything ties up together.

4. After-credits - even though I was surprised by the ending (there's only one), I was amazed when I saw... or heard the post-credit scenes and realized how important they were to tie this game back with the original.


1. Enemies - it was a bummer that there weren't a lot of different enemy types, just the same ones over and over.

2. Animations - I tried my best but the animations were just off... from the way she'd run, to her head bobbing, to how the mouths wouldn't match what was being said, to their reactions during gameplay "scenes".

3. Horror element - it has the ambience and some light gore but I feel the game missed a mark in the horror department not including more active horror elements like jumpscares, chases, sudden noises, etc.

4. End boss - I wouldn't call this one a fight... like when you have to face Tyrant in Resident Evil or Alessa in Silent Hill... it was more of an experience which left me feeling disappointed, to say the least.


    (On a scale of 1-5, with being 5 the absolute best)

As I said before, there were a lot of missed opportunities for new species of enemies, most of the enemies were re-used throughout with no new additions which made the gameplay repetitive. Not to spoil but in a place like an abandoned school, it would have been great if there were some alien ghost apparitions or even fast alien children roaming around. Having said that, I felt the game offered a good balance in its action, with some restful moments and some moments with a lot of enemies coming at you all at once. The story had the main, which was the reason for recovering the briefcase, and some side stories to get to know the characters better and understand whatever was happening there. However, some story topics felt too overused and when compared to other similar games, they just didn't fit. You'll understand this better when you reach the jail section. 

In general, besides the slight animation issues, the graphics were really good. I loved the environment and the enemy designs... the characters could have used a bit more work, but their design per se wasn't that bad. Sound-wise, I'd recommend using headphones to have a better experience as some sounds are very subtle and can easily be missed. I think going in blind was probably the best thing that could have happened to me as I had no expectations whatsoever of what the game would throw at me. The end surprised me and I honestly thought there could be another ending but it plays out that way for a very important reason, tying up 1994 to 1998. If it hadn't been because the gameplay didn't manage to get me scared even once, if I had jumped or startled even once, I'd have probably given the game a higher rating. 


The game is now available on:




For more information, you can visit the official website here!

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