What can I say about Death By Game Show, the new tower defense game from indie studio Oonitah? I didn’t like it. And I hate when that happens. But, before I get ahead of myself, here’s the trailer, one that initially caught my eye and persuaded me to download the game from Steam.
I get what they’re trying to do. An edgy game within a game concept – “gameception,” if you will – where robots don’t like smart humans. And as U.H. Wutt, the smartest man in the 26th Century, you are sentenced to death sentences on live TV, ala Running Man. But while the setup seems legit, the gameplay itself is convoluted, frustrated and so repetitive it’s as if I’m playing Assassins Creed all over again (the first one; I gave up on trying any later releases in that universe). Death by Game Show made me want to die by (video) game
show. That’s not an exaggeration. I gave it multiple attempts to improve, but it only seemed to get worse.
This is how I felt. Every. single. time. Didn’t matter if I succeeded or failed.
The gameplay itself is some sort of odd Lemmings concept, if Lemmings weren’t fun to play. You take on the role of a human who’s too smart for his own good, so to get this point across they made him fat and nerdy—the stereotyping is strong with this one. Helping you is a robot locker that can unleash other robot minions you use to battle with, because why wouldn’t robots help you out after they’ve devised a game show to destroy you with?
Then there are other robots, evil ones apparently, that are trying to kill you within the span of time you’re waiting for your rocket to launch and whisk you away to safety. I almost typed whiskey in there, which is the exact drink of choice I need to help me in forgetting this game. Is that harsh? I don’t mean to be. It’s frustrating to see the potential of a fun concept squandered by frustrating gameplay. It’s tiresome and repetitious, not adjective you want ascribed to your self-described “twitch strategy game.”
You’ll notice from these screen captures there are two utility bars to access while playing—one on the right-hand border, and one at the bottom. The one at the bottom contains your little robot minions that you can deploy at any time to destroy the other robots making a b-line to attack you. The bar to the right contains objects you can place around you that, effectively, do the same thing as the robot minions. Throw in a timer and 50 levels of increasing difficulty, and you don’t have a game so much as a hellish endurance challenge.
I was poorly disappointed in my time with Death by Game Show. It’s difficult, redundant, and all around was not an enjoyable experience. Will someone out there, in the vast open universe we live in, enjoy this game? No doubt about it. But is that person you? Not if you’re lucky.
I died by game show
Gameplay - 4/10
Design - 5/10
Controls - 2/10
Some may enjoy it, but all-in-all I found it unenjoyable. Maybe that means I'm not smart, and thus, not meant to "die by game show." Oh well.