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Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle - Review - Xbox

Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle, developed by Invader Studios and published by Leonardo Interactive, is a third-person survival horror game that pays homage to the classic titles of the genre, most notably Resident Evil. Set in the same universe as the original Daymare: 1998, it delivers a nostalgic experience to fans of the survival horror genre, embracing the fixed camera angles and limited resources that characterized the genre's golden era. Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle is set four years before the events of the first game, and follows H.A.D.E.S. operative Dahlia Reyes as she takes part in Operation Sandcastle, a top secret mission to investigate a mysterious base that has gone dark. Upon arriving at the base, Reyes and her squad discover that it has been overrun by horrific creatures. They quickly realize that the base was conducting illegal experiments on humans, and that something has gone terribly wrong. As Reyes explores the base, she uncovers a dark conspiracy involving the US government and a powerful corporation. She also learns more about the creatures that are attacking the base, and discovers that they are not what they seem.

The gameplay loop is kind of unexpected for a survival horror game, having to use the frost grip on a regular basis, giving it a more action-oriented edge. The game introduces a unique 'Frost Grip' tool, a wrist-mounted ice cannon that has multiple different uses The visuals are one of the standout features of "Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle". The game looks absolutely fantastic on Xbox, especially considering that this is made by a small independent team. The game impresses with its stunning presentation of the Groom Lake Incident, opting for a hyper realistic aesthetic as opposed to its predecessor’s retro style. However, there are some small issues with bad voice acting and really dark lighting at points in the game.


  1. Atmospheric Design: Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle excels in creating a tense and eerie atmosphere. The game's environments are detailed and oppressive, making players feel the constant threat of lurking horrors.

  2. Nostalgia Factor: For fans of classic survival horror, this game will bring back fond memories of Resident Evil and similar titles. It successfully captures the essence of those older games while adding its own unique twists to the formula.

  3. Challenging Gameplay: The game doesn't hold your hand, and resource management is key to survival. Ammo and healing items are scarce, encouraging strategic gameplay. The difficulty can be punishing but rewarding for those seeking a challenge.


  1. Storytelling: While the game's plot has potential, some players may find the narrative a bit convoluted, and the voice acting can sometimes fall short of the mark.

  2. Clunky Controls: Some players might struggle with the controls, which can feel a bit dated. The fixed camera angles can occasionally lead to awkward moments in combat or navigation.

  3. Limited Appeal: Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle primarily targets fans of classic survival horror, and it may not resonate with gamers who are accustomed to more modern and action-oriented horror titles.

Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle is a mixed bag for gamers. It excels in capturing the nostalgia and atmosphere of classic survival horror titles, but it also inherits some of the genre's less favorable aspects, like clunky controls and sometimes convoluted storytelling. If you have a fondness for the classics and can overlook some of the game's flaws, it might be worth checking out. However, if you're not a fan of the genre or prefer more contemporary horror games, you might want to approach with caution.

Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle was released on the 30th August 2023. The game is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles (although these are separate purchases). The game is priced at £29.24 and can be purchased HERE. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A huge thanks for that.

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