The roguelite genre can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to providing an entertaining experience that encourages you to keep playing even after all the inevitable failures. It’s tricky to do right, and oftentimes a game has to really click with a person to make it work. I’m always apprehensive whenever I come across a new one, but games such as Dicey Dungeons, Immortal Redneck, and GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon have made me realise that I can occasionally stumble across an absolute gem.
Die After Sunset, then, aims to be yet another one with its colourful visual style and high octane shooting. Could this be my next addiction?
Many thanks to PQube for the review code.
UNLEASH THE MURKRAKEN
Taking place during a futuristic alien invasion, you are part of the resistance left to fight against the Murkor so that humanity can survive. These silly little creatures wear rubber duckies for hats as they come in hordes and try to overwhelm you until their commander arrives, presumably at sunset. It’s your job to build up your strength and take them down in order to survive another day.
At first glance, the game appears to take heavy inspiration from Fortnite with its visual style (think bright colourful characters and environments) and third person shooting, but in reality it plays more akin to something like Risk of Rain 2. This is a singe player only experience, and your goal is to take out the alien creatures and complete objectives in order to power up enough to take out the boss.
Levels themselves are largely static, with only really the items, creatures and missions being randomly generated each time. The aliens are much of a muchness, and aren’t a huge amount of fun to take down due to the rather clunky controls and lack of gyro aiming, but the missions are at least a tad more interesting. These may consist of activating switches, collecting keys, or the like in order to complete your given objective and obtain a chest that will beef up your character. There’s a nice variety to these missions, but the overwhelming number of enemies that spawn in can often make doing them a little bit of a hassle.
The main problem with the missions is just how disconnected they feel from the rest of the level. For example, one mission had me reactivating a generator, but doing do had zero effect on the world around me. Perhaps the level could have been in darkness beforehand, only to brighten up once the generator comes back on; or perhaps have this mission activate perimeter defenses to aid you in fending off the aliens. It’d make the missions actually feel exciting and worthwhile doing, rather than just seeming like filler to keep you busy until the boss arrives.
The only real thing that helps to make runs feel any way unique are the chests full of weapons, items and abilities that you can acquire along the way. There are some cool items that help you both fend off the hordes and traverse the environment, even if there’s nothing especially memorable. You are able to acquire permanent upgrades too between runs to help subsequent ones become a little easier, but the game isn’t overly punishing once you get used to it…
…if it wasn’t for the biggest problem with the game: the technical performance on the Switch. Whilst the poor controls can make the action a little fiddlier than what it should be, the main difficulty lies in the frequent minor framerate stuttering when turning the camera and the horrendous pop-in that causes things (particularly enemies) to appear right before your very eyes, giving you little time to react before taking what seems like unavoidable damage. It’s a constant frustration that really dampens the experience, but at least it’s a potentially patchable one.
There’s an interesting concept at the heart of Die After Sunset, but the technical limitations and rather vacuous missions make it not quite enjoyable enough to keep you invested in going for another run. That being said, if you really are itching for a third person shooter roguelite, then perhaps keep an eye out for a potential patch that may help with some of the worst issues that the game has. We can only hope, as the game clearly has a lot of potential!