Dead Bits Review

This is apparently what qualifies as "retro" graphics

  • Developer: Microblast Games
  • Publisher: Microblast Games
  • Release Date: 8 June 2014
  • Time played: 2 hours

As mentioned last Friday, I received a gift copy of the game Dead Bits from a friend on Steam. After 2 hours of playing the game, I have now completed it and it's ready for reviewing. If you read my First Impressions post on it, my opinions were pretty much vindicated for the second hour of gameplay.

Plot (1/5)
The game has a really basic throwaway plot where you play the role of a creature named Quilly who is abducted by an alien called Quanton and his minions. It's up to Quilly to pass a series of tests in order to earn his right to return home.

And that's it. Nothing else is really revealed about the plot during the game since you only get a cutscene at the beginning and at the end. So obviously, the plot isn't one of the game's strengths, which is a shame since it's something that would've done wonders, even if it was merely fleshing out the protagonist's background story.

Gameplay (3/5)
The game is probably best described as an action-adventure FPS or puzzle FPS, similar to Half-Life or Portal. In fact, just like Portal you have to pass a series of tests or levels in order to proceed through the story, and just like Half-Life, you end up fighting aliens (or zombie-like humans) and performing jumping puzzles in order to navigate around hazardous environments. In that regard, there's nothing that can be really faulted about the game, except that there aren't any difficult puzzles, nor are there any nifty gadgets like Portal guns. The game is also really primitive if you judge it as an FPS since you only ever get to use four weapons in the game which have unlimited ammunition. Consequently it feels like a barebones template for a Half-Life or Portal clone which means it's sometimes fun but it's nothing terribly innovative.

Rarely do you get told off for cheap behaviour such as what happens in this screenshot

Sound (4/5)
The game has a few basic sound effects that play every so often. They're okay. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Music (5/5)
Music is actually the game's strong suit. The game boasts having a dubstep soundtrack which is made by the game's developer - in fact the game developer, Rafael Capelini Carminatti (aka FrostOrb) did everything for the game, i.e. the coding, graphics and audio - no small feat! I think the merging of typical 8-bit game music with dubstep is a good combo, and that's pretty much what has been done here.

Graphics (2/5)
Even though the game is claimed to have a "retro" look, I don't ever remember games I've played ever looking like this! The game has very basic, blocky, low polygon count graphics that seem like they were mashed hurriedly together in order to meet the deadline of a school project. While I didn't mind the graphics too much, you've got to admit that they aren't very flattering.

Replay (1/5)
As mentioned, the game is really short. It only took me 2 hours to finish the game's 9 levels, and that was after I took several attempts at completing certain levels. Thanks to there being no savepoints within a level either there were many times I was very tempted to throw in the towel since the only option was to start the level from scratch. However, I managed to hang in there maybe because the game is addictive in the same way Flappy Bird is, or because it reminds me of how brutal oldschool gaming was (you usually had to finish the game in one go back in those days).

Polish (3/5)
As mentioned before, there are no save checkpoints which you can argue was done on purpose to make the game more difficult and extend its playtime, but I think one or two savepoints on certain levels wouldn't have gone amiss. Also I found that the in-game volume control doesn't apply to the whole game (and only changes the volume for that session). So if you turn the volume down while playing the game and then return to the level menu after dying, be prepared for your eardrums to explode.

Score – 6/10

Considering the entire game was developed by one man, Dead Bits is a pretty impressive effort. Unfortunately, the game is lacking in almost every aspect when compared to its competition with the exception of its toe-tapping, head-bobbing dubstep soundtrack. If you're curious what's possible with the Unity engine and you like dubstep, it might be worth a look, and if you do, make sure to add on the soundtrack for a buck. Otherwise, stay clear.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.

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[ LINK: Official Dead Bits website]