Death by Game Show (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 12.02.2016

Review for Death by Game Show on PC

Death by Game Show posits a future where robots make humans play deadly games for their own entertainment. It takes an interesting twist the tower defence sub-genre, in that the action takes place on a horizontal, 2D plane, with the player having to balance getting attacked from both sides, while managing a slowly recharging energy bar with which it's possible to summon various robots that can help the protagonist live long enough to make it to the next level.

Death by Game Show has some serious style to its art direction. Everything is colourful, clear, and adds to the feeling of the last humans left playing a game to survive. The actual story is minuscule and mostly just flavour for the actual action itself, but sets the stage nicely for an interesting tower defence. In this, it's possible to picks robots such as a blocker that moves forward taking damage, a simple damager, a flying suicide unit, and so on, to combat waves of the same kind of units.

There are essentially two variations of the general theme of surviving for a certain amount of time. A single round puts the play on a line with enemies coming left and right, and must balance which way to defend. Another type of round has the player summoning various robots at the cost of a slowly regenerating energy. As the game goes on, more robots become unlocked, and some buildings can be placed. In the end this is different from typical titles of the genre, since this is more of a creature-vs-creature battle, rather than buildings wiping out waves of enemies.

Screenshot for Death by Game Show on PC

Upon dying, enemies drop coins which be grabbed by the protagonist (with the trade-off being the danger of moving closer to danger), and if enough is gathered, a spinner gets activated; a spinner which randomly gives a small bonus. Typically, the pace is very frantic and there is little time to actually focus on anything so much as just surviving.

Of the two major modes is a 'preset' type where all the robots are limited, there is no energy, and they can be summoned freely until the limit runs out. The other one uses the recharging energy, and there is not a limit to how many can be summoned. The first of these lends itself very badly to a 'runaway' syndrome (as will be explained next), such as when the player falls behind in previous levels, and it literally becomes impossible to advance, due to a strange decision to carry over some things to next levels and being expected to have items that are easily lost.

Overall this is pretty fun given the atmosphere and the challenge of each level, however, a curious decision is made that negatively affects the game: while playing, a building will get unlocked. This can be used on any level, and it can be reclaimed if it doesn't take damage for using again. If it is damaged or lost, though, it is never replaced. The actual level can be re-played, but the building is only given once and never again. This leads to a very unfortunate divergence where the game is easy with every building down but if they get lost, subsequent levels suddenly become nearly impossible. It's possible to go back and grind some of them, but never the better ones. This 'carry over' effect could be good if there was a way to actually reward going back to grind, but very often it is a grim necessity, and still not enough.

Screenshot for Death by Game Show on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Death by Game Show has a lot of style, and is a pretty fun take on the tower defence formula. Learning and understanding its new rules, offers a lot of early challenge and enjoyment while teaching everything in a non-obtrusive manner. The problems come in that many things carry over from level to level with no way to get many of the necessary items back if they are lost, which makes some levels truly impossible to beat when the protagonist gets overran. However, as long as the buildings are not lost many levels are simply ploughed over. This extreme divergence is the most pressing issue of an overall decent title.

Developer

Oointah

Publisher

Oointah

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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