Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle (Self-Aware Area 51 Sci-Fi Horror)


Having played the original, Daymare 1998, I was pretty stoked to hear about a sequel, or rather prequel since this is taking place four years prior. If you’re not familiar with its predecessor, it was a homage to the Resident Evil series, taking many of its ideas, purposefully, from the franchise, equaling what is essentially a form of video game fan fiction. In Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle you play as Dalila Reyes, former spy turned beast H.A.D.E.S. (Hexacore Advanced Division for Extraction and Search) operative who with her crew enters Area 51 to discover the meaning behind a sudden shutdown, followed by the inevitable mystery and corruption involving moral ambiguity in the quest for better weaponry. You’ve heard that before? And that makes it bad? Seriously, what’s wrong with some of the morons playing this? If you don’t get that it’s self-reflective, perhaps better to say self-aware, don’t play it, go away. We don’t like you.


Dipping more into the Resident Evil zone, and even a bit into Area 51, while tweaking concepts, Daymare 1994: Sandcastle plays its role very well: that being a homage title. Complaints abound concerning the animations, some of the acting, creature speed, the lack of creature and weapon variety, and the linear style of play. Some of the complaints are not just confusing, but downright idiotic. Why does it matter there’s a limited monster type? Do you need monster variety for horror? And no, the creatures aren’t too fast, you’re too shitty at playing it. I could spend several more paragraphs ripping apart the criticism for this one, but it’s a waste of all of our time. Relying tropes and references is part of its thing, if you can’t get that and are looking for totally new ideas, that’s not what Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle is about. It’s nostalgia refashioned into a better, newer form. It even rips on itself, on occasion, as proof of this, but it’s a much better ride than some will lead you to believe with its difficulty settings, new mechanics like the “Frost Grip,” and frights. Variety isn’t key here, it’s how the provided creatures are woven into the story and the lack of more than three weapons is part of its staging. Just, ugh, shut the hell up people and pay attention! My word is law, though, so hopefully this sets some of the record straighter.


Daymare 1994: Sandcastle Official Steam

Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Daymare 1994: Sandcastle
Invader Studios (developer), 4Divinity and Leonardo Interactive (publishers)
4.5 / 5