Posted: June 15, 2014
Stolen from your home, Dead Bits plops you into a voxel world of deadly testing in a retro inspired circle strafing hell. The rules are simple: grab a gun, kill anything that moves, and try to stay alive amid the hordes running your way and the deadly traps in your path. So what's the catch? Well, pretty much everything after the first level..
Dead Bits is a simple game, which I'm perfectly fine with, but it does so very little with everything that it attempts that it's just plain boring. Enemy AI is entirely nonexistent, running toward you with the fever of a teenage girl who caught a glimpse of her favorite pop idol walking buy. This more or less devolves the game into running backwards while holding down the trigger, having to fear more about falling off the edge of the map than anything the enemies might do. The guns are dull and lack any sense of power or recoil, which makes mowing down waves of bullet sponge enemies even less interesting.
The most egregious thing about Dead Bits however is how bloody frustrating it can be, by way or deliberately inflating the difficulty for no reason but to make you angry. Instant kill obstacles that you're never made aware of abound, making for numerous deaths which feel not at all your own fault, and a complete lack of checkpoints turns the lengthier levels into absolute chores to complete. The extended death animation is particularly annoying, itself taking too long to finish and then proceeding to boot you to the level select screen so you can wait for levels to reload before trying them again. I completed the games brief 9 levels in just under 2 hours, but it only took me that long because I died at least a dozen times for cheap reasons every level.
Though it's rather simplistic, I actually did like the cel-shaded art style developer Microblast was going for with most of the game, though for whatever reason they weren't content to stick with it and instead chose to go with a completely different style for the guns and character models. The end result is a complete mess of conflicting styles and really puts to waste the great foundation they had before they added the odd pseudo realistic elements.
Dead Bits is the sort of game I'd expect to see a student or modder put out as a first step toward something more ambitious and polished. If that were the case it might be a commendable, if heavily flawed, first attempt at making a game, but as a finished retail product there is no way I could advise anyone to pick it up, which is to say nothing of wasting your time and sanity playing it. I feel there was potential here at some point, but in the end it's about as enjoyable as banging your head against a brick wall, and could very well do you just as much harm.