Dead Sky Review: Dead In The Water

 I guess that’s beyond a little bit of polish; Dead Sky needs a complete overhaul.

If you are an indie developer and you don’t have the resources to make a graphically-beautiful game, then you must concentrate on the story or something that makes your game different. It needs to be something unique that will stand out, allowing the game to stand on it’s own. If you build it, they will come, but the first step is building it well.

Once Dead Sky loaded up, I immediately knew what I was getting into. The graphics weren’t a selling point but I looked past them. I was searching for something to make me smile or at least get my heart rate up, but that was not easily found. Let me start off with your team.  Your companions are rude, self-centered assholes with weak acting abilities. I wish I had the option to shoot them in the head like in Organ Trail.

Entering one of the more enjoyable mission types.

Besides the linear direction and the push down the beaten path, the gameplay is decent and fun overall. The gameplay mechanics might work but it’s plagued with inventory problems. You can only hold one weapon at a time, and you can only get more ammo for the weapon you are holding. You also have to hit a button to pick up more ammo which is a pain but not a big deal. The thing that pissed me off is that the ammo and weapons that are dropped only last a matter of seconds on the screen until they “ghost off” and you are ultimately left frustrated and dry on ammo.

The weapons are powerful and plentiful and there is a fair range of them. To name a few, there are hand guns, machine guns, shotguns, rail guns, flame throwers, chainsaws and rocket launchers.

Rinse and repeat.

The enemies are stumbling, bumbling zombie idiots that move at a speed slightly above slow. What Dead Sky does offer (as the game progresses) is different enemy types. Faster and deadlier, bigger and stronger, and some super-style zombies with inhuman abilities eventually show themselves. Some can grab you from a distance while others will come in charging. I did see some similarities with Left for Dead, but Dead Sky was smart in using the mix-up of enemies to keep the game fresh. The boss battles were enjoyable and plentiful while also being so strange that they worked.

The mission types range from tower defense to A to B escapes. The more notable missions are of the driving variety. Running over zombies is something I could do all day, and I have done that in Dead Rising 1&3 with the achievements to prove it. The jumps are out of Dukes of Hazard and the vehicle splats are reminiscent of Carmagedon.

Dead end?

The tower defense missions are challenging, enjoyable and fast paced which come from the effort put into the coding. The challenging part partially comes from the problems with with the overall gameplay.  Your goal is to grab parts to make and continue to upgrade turrets to defend your cabin, kill zombies and don’t get eaten while the zombies hack at your cabin.

Another somewhat enjoyable part of the game are the helicopter missions. You man a chaingun and pop zombies the size of ants into oblivion. It’s difficult because of how many hits a zombie can take from the chaingun (something that should be taken up on Myth Busters), but what’s more frustrating is the overheating gun mechanic and the painfully long cool down cycle that occurs after the overheat.

Where’s my boomstick?

Dead Sky doesn’t take itself very seriously, and I’m glad it doesn’t because there is some fun to be had with this game. The fact that Evil Dead was a huge influence is another big plus for me.  If you can’t do scary, at least try to do funny. I do wish they took the structure and direction a lot more seriously, as this would have potentially been a very different review. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in your gut you just know when something feels wrong.

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