Death by Game Show – What We Think:
Death by Game Show, from indie game developers Oointah, is one hell of a ride. In the literal sense, it’s like a ride piloted by Charon on the river Styx into the depths of Hades. With increasingly punishing difficulty, death occurs almost as often as in a Dark Souls game.
Death by Game show takes place in a 26th century world occupied by robots. Unfortunately, these robots have complete disregard for Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics.” Entertainment has been reduced to a form of human “rehabilitation.” The result is a strategy game borrowing heavily from tower defense elements.
Portly protagonist U.H. Wutt has been deemed too smart for the human race. He must carry out his sentence by surviving levels filled with pop culture references and mayhem. Spawning droids to defend himself against the onslaught of similar droids, his sole purpose is to entertain and possibly be destroyed – much like a futuristic Roman Coliseum.
Presented as a TV game show, the game rockets U.H. Wutt to a 2D circular landscape to conquer bite-sized levels. These start off relatively simply until the “Easy” levels are complete; the “Normal” levels amp up the difficulty considerably. Once you get to “Hard,” forget about it. Luckily, a difficulty slider is available at the beginning of every level in case frustration reaches exponential levels.
All of My Minions
Objectives in Death by Game Show are simple and vary by level. Collecting enough cash or surviving multiple droid attacks within a time limit are the most common. Certain levels will only allow the use of a select number of each droid, forcing a more strategic attack. The other method of expelling droids is an energy bar that slowly refills over time. This allows you to produce an unlimited amount of droids, as long as there are no more than eight in circulation and you have enough energy left to spawn them.
Rectal Furnace? Yes, Please.
Ten different types of droids are unlocked through regular game progression during the 50 rehabilitation challenges. Defensive weapons and buildings can also be unlocked. With wonderful names such as “Scrote Hammer” or “Rectal Furnace,” these help give players an advantage once the mayhem becomes less easily managed.
Once the main game is completed, there is also a level editor with the ability to upload user-created levels. This feature – along with leaderboards – adds a layer of replayability once the main levels are completed. Players can try levels dastardly designed by other users and aim for a higher spot in the leaderboards.
Aesthetically, Death by Game Show is very pleasing to the senses. Upon starting, I was immediately pulled into a Borderlands-inspired atmosphere. Twangy guitars, colorful cartoon-like graphics and rusty robots come together to deliver a package that’s brand new, yet familiar. Relying more on humor than grit, the jokes are constant and plentiful.
Are You Not Entertained?
Despite the polished look, however, the high level of difficulty in Death by Game Show, makes it hard to enjoy. There are obvious issues with pacing, as the same animations occur before and after every level, becoming a chore to sit through. There’s a certain repetitiveness in gameplay that makes progression seem almost futile. To be perfectly honest, I was mildly entertained at first, but then the game sent me diving head-first into the doldrums.
Death by Game Show has something there for both fans of strategy and tower defense; it’s a hybrid of the two, coalescing into a product where enjoyment is subjective. For fans of the two genres, there are still better options out there. If you’re a newcomer trying to get in and experience something different, this one should be avoided.
Death by Game Show is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Death by Game Show below: