Weird & Wonderful Game Watch WW:GW
Weird & Wonderful Game Watch WW:GW
April 25, 2018
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Delivery From The Pain - The Ultimate Review, and then some
Delivery From The Pain - The Ultimate Review, and then some

A review so in-depth it needed a fucking index.

Note: I put together a compact version to post under my steam profile reviews (damn logical character limits) which utilizes the introductory sections and part of the conclusion from this mega-beast covering everything. If you wanna check that out instead, here is a link though the first 80% of it is exactly the same as these first two section. Of course, by then you'll probably know if you'd like to read more or if you're ready to buy anyway :-)

Delivery From The Pain: Review Index

I. Introduction To The Pain

II. General Overview

III. Useful Features and Background Information: Save System, Translation Quality, Controller Compatibility, Platform Availability

IV. The Brutality of Feng Shui: The Hard Heart Of The Game

V. Character Choices: Details, Differences, And Quality

VI. Combative Style: A Deeper Look at Combat, and Viable Strategies

VII. The 12 Flavors of The Dead: Zombie Variations & Portrayal

VIII. Injury System: Dynamics and Escalation

IX. The Raw Difficulty: Perhaps Even Too Difficult

X, Difficulty Modes Alternatives: Easy, Normal, and... Hard?! That can't be right [EDIT - and it's not, anymore]

XI. Final Thoughts

XII. Shameless Self-Promotion

BONUS: Tipz N Tricks Guide I've posted On Steam Workshop

And since a picture is worth a thousand words and all that, you can also get another feel for things by skimming a random section of gameplay I uploaded to our youtube channel if you’d like:

Check Delivery From The Pain on Steam now!

If you want more recommendations for weird and wonderful games then stop by our Steam curation group sometime, and follow WWGW:
Weird Wonderful Game Watch

Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 20, 2019 @ 2:35pm
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(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:00am 
Introduction To The Pain

“Delivery From The Pain” has got me feeling a way I haven’t since perhaps playing “State Of Decay” back when it was early access too. It’s not that DFTP plays the same as SOD, because--for all the general similarities—the styling and execution yield vastly different takes. That similar sensation I’m feeling is rooted in their accomplishment of, seemingly contradictory, nostalgic innovation. DFTP’s central experience plays so naturally as to feel almost... obvious in retrospect; and yet, it’s a perspective desperately absent the array of alternatives already available. Excuse the mixed metaphor, but “Delivery From The Pain” is a breath of fresh air that’s somehow breathtaking all the same.

There’s hardly an experience left undone by zombie media, nevertheless here I am excited about a game for its principle exploration of that atmosphere for the first time in a long damn time. “Delivery From The Pain” manages to evoke a slice of the zombie apocalypse with its emphasis on survival management that’s somehow largely gone untapped in the vastly overexposed zombie zeitgeist. While it’s far from the first zombie game to emphasize crafting and survival management, it’s the first to finally get it right with unrelenting atmospheric doom among the sea of “Rust” clones and wacky weapon zombie brawlers.

General Overview

To give you a broad idea of the gameplay, it mostly traverses the same beats of “State Of Decay” if you’re familiar with that series. Your character progresses through a town in a common goal (originally getting a car) while trying to survive amidst variations of zombies, all of whom grow lethally voracious at night. While “State of Decay” is more open-world 3D exploration & occasional brawler with crafting, “Delivery From The Pain” focuses on the desperation of survival management over time, as the high demand for resources necessitates your exploration of whatever locations the town has to offer, and travel between locations occurs off-screen in (relative) safety. In a way, it’s almost the even-more-indie take on SOD’s relative indie vibe, and all the heart & creativity intertwine into something truly exciting. As with anything, there are certainly a number of flaws—here mostly ranging from awkward translations, to annoying nuances, to asinine characterization---yet you’ll find yourself forgiving (at times even forgetting) these concerns in lieu of the fascinating, original experience available in hand.

Combat could arguably be regarded as a secondary faucet of the game’s core experience compared to the degree most zombie games emphasize shooting balls and melee brawls. DFTP massively rewards stealth attack and evasion wherever possible. However, for some of the tougher zed varieties and the handful of boss-encounters, thankfully there’s an arsenal of guns available in time. Still, your much bigger concern, survival, is no easy task when you’re constantly dealing with the depreciation of hunger, rest, heath, and happiness---and any stat dropping to zero means instant death. The central gameplay manifests in your strife for harmony, as the greatest challenges derive from the demands of resource management and that fight to hold off the inevitable chaotic decay. The constant decay can be frustratingly relentless at times--but it works. Everything in “Delivery From The Pain” has its own cost, and, in turn, there’s a real sense of weight in every decision alongside some sensations of dread and thrills that few zombie titles ever even lurk near.

Compared to SOD’s multitude of random characters switching over on death, the events of DFTP are centrally tethered to one of two main character choices available at the start. The alternative allows DFTP to be driven by an unfolding story through characterization approach, as the selected character gradually gains awareness and knowledge via normal gameplay exploration. The rough translation still makes parts of the story rather hard to follow at times, though it’s equally charming with dialog even coming across as poetic on occasion. For the most part, the cryptic background circumstances are subtly left to decipher and speculate over with various letters/notes the player can find scattered about the city, alluding to the bigger picture. Meanwhile, the direct story progression occurs through fixed NPC encounters in which meaningful dialog decisions alter the course of events. There also a few other NPC survivors, carrying out their own daily routines, who provide a means of (very, very costly) trade, general exposition, and human interaction in this largely lonesome end of the world

Oh, speaking of that… you’re also able to craft blow-up-dolls or dildos--which is just super hilarious

Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 13, 2019 @ 1:08pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:00am 
Useful Features and Background Information

Save System: The game operates using a singular auto-save so your experiences is generally locked into place without the ability to save-scum. With this auto-save point kicking in every time you return to the base camp, it’s fixed to something conveniently frequent though also malleable enough to avoid if things go desperately wrong. Despite that design, the game isn’t set out to crush you either in some iron-man experience; when you die, you’re freely able to load up the last return point as if nothing happened, averting your fate. There's a secondary safety-net in place through the "chapter" system, wherein after each act (every boss battle), the game makes a hard-save. Any of these hard-saves can be loaded (replacing your current game) if you find things going too-far sideways enough to sacrifice the last 5 hours (or however long) to redo history. Additionally, while only one save, there are however three save SLOTS provided for different playthroughs if you’d like to experiment with the other character or the difficulty settings without losing all your progress.

Translation Quality: If probably wouldn’t take a well-rounded gamer (familiar with the classic RPGs of yesteryear) long to pick up on the quirky specificity of phrasing like “the materials are not enough” and realize that DFTP was originally translated from an Asian language. It was actually only rather recently that this underground hit (thankfully) got adapted for a wider audience with an English translation from the original Chinese. Occasionally some item descriptions aren’t so easy to interpret, and the plot progression can be a bit confusing; but, for the most part, the translation is serviceable enough to play. The flair is actually rather charming with some dialog even sounding rather poetic at times. However, there is an issue with intended characterization not coming across with the gravity seemingly expected. This manifests as some rather odd moments and awkward reactions to events that might not resonate well with western audiences.

Controller Compatibility: In another display of their commitment to a wider fanbase, they’ve also recently included built-in controller support. I tried the keyboard a bit, though controllers are easily my preferred means of play too since I like to lean back and relax. Showing some nice attention to detail and an awareness that not everything syncs up perfectly, the default controls wisely include a cursor mode when holding down the upper left trigger. It’s a nice addition, though I haven’t actually needed it since I realized they were also clever enough to design a binding that access the quick-leave icon on your home base by simply holding down the upper right trigger. The cursor could still be quite useful for scrolling over icons on the screen that pop up more with detailed window information, like pill status effects or the random zombie infections.

Platform Availability: I only found out after I started writing this review, though Delivery From The Pain also has an Android version available, which would explain the almost “indie take on an indie game” perspective and a lot of the design choices in limiting outdoor environments for smaller confined spaces. Something that’s especially cool is that you’re able to transfer between your steam saves and IOS on your phone if you have both versions. Something probably a bit more relevant to those of you reading here: while there’s no demo on steam at the moment, the prolog chapter is actually freely available for android users if you wanted to check it out there first. EDIT - And indeed the demo showcasing the prologue is available on Steam now too!
Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 20, 2019 @ 2:37pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:01am 
The Brutality of Feng Shui – The Hard Heart Of The Game

The apocalypse presented is unrelentingly brutal, and whether you thrash or thrive is ultimately based on understanding that “balance” is the real name of the game. I’m honestly impressed with the raw amount of thought and tweaks that must have gone into properly weighting the various aspects of survival to the extent they exist here. Everything—not just items, but actions, strategies, speed, patience---everything represented has some cost in terms of something else that results in a system of real entropy for a constant sense of tension. It’s the carefully-structured opportunity cost consideration required of any given action that amplifies the ordinary aspects of exploration, status management, and even combat into a cumulative experience of such exceptionally rich value. This game is synchronized in harmony towards keeping you desperate, and, in turn, everything remains thrilling.

Naturally there are all the standard varieties of decay one would expect. Equipment, weapons, and buildings deteriorating with usage; food rots over time; and character stats (hunger, happiness, rest, injuries) steadily decline unless appropriately boosted. All those usual elements are here, though the real beauty of the game’s design can be found in the subtle variations of taxation implemented across all the other systems. The gameplay is ultimately balanced through delicately interconnected trade-offs (say, time versus risk versus equipment versus rewards) and natural decay to achieve that perfect sense of inescapable entropy.

Time--the most essential resources of all--is positioned similarly to the structural function of blood in the human body. Incredibly common, but of upmost importance, this fundamental essence flows through all aspects of the system’s design. You’re only able to explore in the day-light, putting a sense of obligation on half your hours already; meanwhile at night enemies wear down your barricades creating a constant resource demands of upkeep. For as much as I talk up stealth and trickery, those techniques have a hell of an opportunity cost as well. The patience and waiting can eat up a lot of precious time and ultimately jeopardize the other demands of your resource crunch. Crafting times are fairly decent though climbing up that tech tree and learning those skills means hours set aside too. And, again, with each hour your stats dip lower in natural regressions of managing survival.

All the various demands of the body can be countered by little means that cheat time or consequence, like say pills to avoid sleeping—but, at best, you can only delay the inevitable. Those items are balanced by scarcity and their own set of drawbacks, like addiction from prolonged consumption. Addiction requires its own subset of treatment, and similarly treating other types of injuries with certain medications too often can result in addiction as well. I’ll go over the injury dynamics more in another section. Even the most common items for keeping your mood elevated, like cigarettes and alcohol, carry the aforementioned dependency risks, so even just keeping up those base stats is far more consequence that simply remembering to eat or sleep on occasion. While obviously raw and spoiled foods risk health and happiness declines, you’re such a god-awful chef that even the initial cooked recipes still carry an accumulated risk of undercooking that can only be avoided by varying up meal types for a properly balanced diet. Sleep is free aside from the hours committed, and there’s a radio always available to boost your happiness after an hour of listening, but the base rates of improvement may not be worth the sacrifice.

While I initially dismissed the trading system as too troublesome to the point of annoyance, over time I’ve realized the vital role balancing this game’s functionality and safeguarding the major pitfall of faultless failure. Your ability to trade for most any resource effectively functions as a brilliant safety-net in place to prevent players from ever losing due entirely to RNG issues with scavenging the right resource at the right time. The trading costs certainly aren’t cheap, as a way of balancing that mechanic, so it’s a system best reserved to times of necessity and whenever opportunity grants you convenient trading bonusses from pills or perfume. Even then, trading is still a pain in the ass and every NPC sucks, but it’s a perfect example of how DFTP thoughtfully implements checks & balances in creating that consistent force of pressure atop the regular story goals that’s representative of real entropy at work.

Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 20, 2019 @ 2:40pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:01am 
Character Choices (Details, Differences and Quality)

There are currently two options for your character at the start of the game. First off, there’s gristle cop Mason Freeman… and yes, that’s his real name---which is awesome, so I’ll just go ahead and assume his middle name is something like Von Illuminati. Then, there’s also single female lawyer, Samantha Aran, whom I’ll just call... Samus for short.

From what I could tell, the plot (and even the dialog) are largely the same for both characters, with Samantha seemingly just an afterthought substitution for Mason. It’s actually something that I found extremely disappointing, and quite jarring too since all the dialog from the other characters is clearly directed at Mason. I’m very much hoping this is only a temporary measure while in Early Access, and they plan to rewrite dialog for her gameplay scenario.

The real deviation in characters (aside from the obvious cosmetic factor) extends from their background stats making certain tasks easier or harder for each character. The biggest difference would be Mason’s strength allowing you to take down enemies more easily versus Samus’s intelligence allowing you climb the tech-tree more quickly. I mostly played using Detective Mason Freeman (because Reptilians needs to represent), but based on the parts I tried with Samus she actually seemed to be the far better character. The benefit of her extra intelligence really outweighs extra strength in a game with such an extensive technology ladder, and in which time is the most vital resource of all.

There’s one last variation that I couldn’t leave out here. It’s related to crafting items designed to starve off surrender to the total despair off the apocalypse: Freeman can patch together homemade blowup dolls, and Samus can craft do-it-yourself vibrators. Both items are quite super useful for keeping sane, though I can’t say I know why they’re tethered to gender. Maybe it something to do with characterization, but I mean no matter who you are, if there’s ever a time to try something new it’s certainly the end of the world. Mix & match, I say! Mix & match!

Deeper Look at How Combat Works, and Viable Strategies

Combat is deceptively simple. Rather than the typical brawler or shooter approach, DFTP heavily rewards stealth attacks and outright evasions wherever possible. Weapons are sparse enough that you must depend on crafting them (ammo is a bit easier to come by later), so the extra resource pressure helps shift your viable strategies towards running, hiding, and trickery whenever possible. There’s only one button for attack, whether guns or melee, though that’s really all that’s needed when the key dimensions of combat manifest through strategic deception, stealthy assault, and cautious planning.

[Suggestion: That said, the boss battles are already somewhat a deviation from the typical combat atmosphere, so ideally the game would make room for a third weapon slot to switch between. Alternatively, or additionally, it could also use a secondary type of slot with a unique button for those few projectile weapons (nail-bombs, molotovs) which would allow you access without having to switch out from you backpack during battle.]

Your long run success has as much do to with killing quickly as it does with knowing what *not* to kill. Usually zombies posing the least risk are actually worth leaving alive, if only because the extra wear & tear on your own weapons will really cost you in the long-run. You’ll realize plenty of places where you could’ve just as easily lured them down another hallway to stealthily grab whatever resources they’re guarding with nary a bite on the neck or nick of the blade. Aside from helping you lose zombies; the safety of a good hiding spot can also really boost your default vitality regeneration rate too.

When undetected there’s a highlighting mode that lets you tag the zombies before you attack, which helps to lock in critical damage and backstabs. A solid stealth attack can usually one-shot a zombie, particularly with a blade weapons; meanwhile blunt weapons are preferably for frontal assaults due to their ability to interrupt zombie attack animations. There is some variation in backstab certainty, and at times it may take a second blow for a kill. While you can usually deliver the follow-up attack without taking any damage yourself, it does increase the odds of other zombies hearing you---but even those death rattles can be mighty useful. With proper planning, loudly dispatching one zombie can lure another down the hall to investigate, and right into your trap. Searching creates a racket too, which has another bonus feature in being started or stopped on a whim, allowing much more malleability with tactics. And, when nothing around to kill or collect, you can always fall back on simple footsteps by running in a circle before switching back to stealth, and hiding in ambush.
Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 20, 2019 @ 2:43pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:01am 
The 12 Flavors of The Dead: Zombie Variations & Portrayal

The good majority of zombies are slow and dim enough to easily run around (some actually shuffle slower than you sneak) or crush head-on in combat, if worth the time. Yet even the most sluggish variations are dangerous enough that they can’t be haphazardly disregarded. Exactly in line with the best depictions of zombies, it’s their collective prescience which make them so bloody dangerous. Those wonderfully-vulnerable zombies of single-combat can suddenly turn the tables with tense demand for rigorous escape as one becomes three, becomes four, becomes five. While your common health bar regenerates decently quick in-between combat, even at perfect health you’ll be shocked at how easily a horde can symphonize your sudden demise. One of the greatest components of the game is how, by nature, you’re frequently pitted against your own complacency, with pride and illusions of negligible-threats lulling you into false security.

There’s a gauntlet of variation among base zombie attributes like awareness, resilience, aggression, speed and intelligence; with others having more unique gimmicks. One of the best secrets to success is learning to recognize, and manipulate, the variations in awareness levels that each variety has until you aren’t just sneaking past them, but hiding right behind their backs like Solid Snake and juking around corners as they turn. There are around 12 variations in all, including, for example, ones that are bulky (hard to kill) and poisonous, and others that are highly alert screamers, who reveal your location to the horde. However, even with the fastest of the running zombies, you’re always slightly faster in another nod at perfect balancing here as a means of stretching gameplay dimensions. While its easy enough to rush past ordinary zeds, these faster ones will have you circling all over the building if you want to lose them, but you CAN still lose even them. Well, you can lose them if you’re capable enough and given a large enough space to juke them---otherwise you might just be locked into fighting for your life, and all the more you’ll regret being a fool for letting them notice you in such a confined space in the first place.

Thankfully there are a variety of weapons available along the tech-tree for those tougher situations, but as with everything in the zombie apocalypse, there’s a hefty price, so act carefully. You’re going to constantly be evaluating whether those shots are eliminating your troubles or just going to pull every enemy from two rooms over towards the loud bangs. Each bullet is weighed with the knowledge of that many resources more to collect if you want to replace it. Every shot is a second-guess whether its even needed and wouldn’t be better put to use on some tougher enemy where you really can’t sneak away—like the bosses.

Bosses are essentially a whole different beast entirely. Sort of literally. Each appears at end of the four story beats (called levels for easy restarting from the game menu, but they’re more like hard save points) and they exist as some mega zombie with a fourfold health bar. You’re given relatively large arena to take them down, and usually some incentive as to why you don’t just run the hell away. Though they’re a change of pace for the game, they’re in line with a lot of the game’s spirited detail-focus: the battle depends on recognizing the timing of their attacks and your window for open shots while dodging around. If you still aren’t convinced of the epic balancing act behind the curtains, the first boss battles takes place in a park where it will alternate between killing you and everything else around. That “everything else” includes all the little bunnies & rats that make up your most dependable—yet depletable--food supply available. It does wonders for elevating that sense of urgency and danger to the boss fight, necessitating a quick take down even where you could more cautiously outrun and wear it down with safe backstabs… well, back-shots.

Injury System Dynamics

Perhaps one of the best implemented aspects of the game (and one which attribute greatly to the difficulty) is the health design. While your character has the traditional vitality meter that zombie attacks can lower to zero to end your game, there’s a separate health category among the aforementioned base status features that’s designed to track serious injuries, illnesses, and addictions. It doesn’t decline on its own, though it faces an accumulated depletion for every health issue incurred, which in turn reduces that base vitality meter determining how many hits you can survive.
In the normal course of things, you’ll be bump into minor injuries first. They’re easily cured with a few specific items depending on the type of injury. (Bandages & splints for wounds; alcohol for addictions; specific pills for illness, etc.). If left untreated, every 48 hours or so the injuries will escalate in severity and further limit your maximum vitality. The advanced stages require increasing resources to cure, usually more of the initial components along though with others added of rarer variety. In another exceptional bit of balance, there’s a threshold to these declines stopping after 2 or 3 iterations with it severely limiting your vitality meter. You’ll be limited in combat hits enough to amplify the danger tenfold, but it’s still a shot. It’s not so realistic either, but thankfully so you’re never going to facing total loss based on your inability to track down enough birth-control pills.

One of the key attributes behind DFTP actually making zombies threatening again derives from the ever-present knowledge that the simplest of encounters can also spin out of control too due to the masterfully intertwined game mechanics. Even minor injuries require specific (though common) cures; yet crafting/finding those put pressure on ordinary resource demands, opening potential distractions from other stats or even time elements requiring your attention too. On the other hand, when neglected (whether choice or not), those injuries compound the resource pressure---especially if you were no closer to tracking down the initial cure requirements--and adds dire pressure to time management as the clock ticks down. When already so injured (particularly from combat wounds), that one more attack can also risk prematurely elevating your injury severity too. And, even once you finally resolved that one injury with whatever equipment it took, there’s always the same chance that next small attack could unleash the same pattern of desperation in a game that’s clearly appreciates the notion of a vicious cycle.

[Of course, the same danger can also be said of food here too, where you really questioning eating that bread before or after you’ve cured your diarrhea. But, well, I suppose that’s DFTP finally making dysentery frightening again for the first time since the Oregon Trail too.]
Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; May 13, 2019 @ 3:35pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:01am 
The Raw Difficulty - Pretty Damn Tough

To be perfectly clear, this game can be a real bitch at times. The constant downward pressure on your base stats is vicious enough that the fundamental gameplay experience is effectively the normal story-goals in conjunction with this daily struggle to keep stats up. A consistent design theme among the game: if shit is going badly, then things get worse even faster too. So, when base stats like happiness start dropping into the red, they’ll decline at even faster rates that keep you inching towards zero in a spiral of suicidal depression. As the depletion of any status means instant death, there’s a key realization that your demise takes on many forms, with effectively five varieties of health bar to keep up separately—as any one of which depleting will kill you—so survival is fundamentally an exercise of harmony.

For most of the game, you’re essentially always teetering on the brink of death and only a pay-day away from starvation, suicidal depression, or disease. If you go in prepared for this brutality, it can be a bit easier, though if not you can probably end up getting a false impression of your initial resources as representative of a typical stock rather than the bountiful harvest of benevolence it is. Don’t at all take that as the standard stockpile of goods, weapons, and foods you’ll be hovering near at any other time. Likewise, don’t get use to seeing your stats all in the white range, because even at your best times, you probably won’t be seeing them all up so high again. This game is going to have you living bite to bite soon enough.

In all honestly, the constant entropy might even be a bit TOO vicious at times. The resource pressure does get really frustrating at times and feels like a lot of bullshit kicking you when you’re down. You can end up being so delayed chasing the stats (trying to treat whatever condition) that you don’t realize you’ve gimped yourself taking too many resources over the time frame to really advance, rather than holding off neutrality until total resource depletion. Since the resources ARE finite and do not replenish, you can end up in an untenable position but not realize it until a week later when it becomes too obvious to notice (and with no saves, this is a real bitch). When it happens, my recommendation: let it die, just toss the playthrough and start over anew with your accumulated knowledge anew. This was a MAJOR issue my initial run attempt, and I was screwed until I basically realized there was synergy using the fireplace at the same time as the radio to keep happiness in manageable levels. Before that discover, it was nigh impossible to keep depression at bay without drinking or smoking everything that crossed by path just like in real life.

Though it’s mostly those base status updates that decline too quickly, there are examples of equipment that wears down much too quickly and some things need constant maintenance to the point of uselessness. For example, there’s an upgrade for your reading desk that can make learning much faster, but I never once got to activate it after the first time because it depletes far too quickly and uses up some really rare materials like plastic and fabric that I was already desperately craving. It’s got a ridiculously level of upkeep that’s hardly worth the extra hours it shaves, so I’ve mostly been writing that one off. It’s one of those things where I just don’t understand how anyone is meant to keep up to day with the resources required to keep that thing up and running while staying alive, since I don’t know if there are that many resources even in the game.

When game mechanics fail to emulate reality enough to bear passing resemblance there’s usually cause to wonder if they’re implemented in the right way. Let’s toss realism itself aside because that should never get in the way of making games good, and all videogames function as approximation of reality through various mechanics meant to maximize fun or highlight value. That’s said, some of the implementations are mind boggling enough to be distractions. Even cooked food still carries decent risks of illness (but I’ll just write you off as an awful chef that under cooks everything), however canned food has a shelf life measured in days. Your car breaks down every week, and you’re constantly needing more resources for every little thing you do. Also, there are some weird balance effects, like antibiotics being addictive---but that one’s mostly just funny more than anything.

Difficulty Modes Alternatives: Easy, Normal, and... Hard?! That can't be right [It's not anymore]

EDIT, June 2019: This section no longer represents the game since they've made some significant alterations and re-definitions of the difficulty curve.
The game now presents a more balanced NORMAL, HARD, and unlocked NIGHTMARE mode after beating either. My gameplay experience would more accurately be described under the current hard mode if you're looking for comparisons with what to expect

If the hassle ends up being too much, there is alternative easy mode available that specifically emphasizes a design purpose in making story progression significantly easier. There's allegedly a harder mode available if you've beaten the game that unlocks after completing either easy/normal, but I refuse to believe that since I'm still getting hammered by chapter three. I haven’t’ played around too extensively with actual difficulty settings, but from the parts I tested out on easy it seemed like a mode that mostly reduced zombie difficulty, though perhaps the status demands as well. [My perception may be warped here since, it was actually rather hard for me to separate what parts were easier because of the difficulty level and was my own accumulated knowledge from playing though on normal. ]

True to its purpose, the easy mode does end up far too easy to be any real step down for those of you who find normal too hard but want something in between. Perhaps the real issue here is that normal just feels a bit too much like hard already (and I’ve not had a chance to get wrecked by hard yet) when the brutal stat decline and resource costs are so high. It would be nice if there was some other median in between, or better yet, if the difficulty alternatives were a more dynamic system that allowed you to tweak the features that are causing you trouble. For the most part those zombies and combat are all incredibly fair, and even the resource distribution, it’s just that rapidly depleting stats like happiness and where material depreciation that ends up being such a pain. If I could *just* tweak those normal stat rates of decay a tiny bit, the game would be much less frustrating at times. Alternatively, maybe my main issues would be perfectly resolved if time passed by just a tiny bit slower, with everything kept the same (as in declining for the same passage of time.) But, maybe it’d be for the worst. All I can do is wonder, perhaps that little margin of safety it’s just enough to throw off that sense of dread I’ve been getting and the game is perfectly balanced as is.

Generally, though, I think that one you get past the initial bumps on the learning curve and start learning the basics that interact, you can mostly piece together what you’re doing enough though to keep things moving though always difficult. Essentially, your ability to progress is just above the natural rate of decay to allow a bit of breathing room as long as you’re perpetually moving, like a shark that dies if it stops swimming. It makes even little victories incredibly rewarding, while it prevents them from accumulating enough to let you feel you’re really safe. While you can’t get too far ahead of the game, usually—if you’re playing well---you won’t fall back too far behind either that you find yourself in hopeless despair. Still, I certainly wouldn't fault anyone for wanting to play on an easier difficulty, if only for the time commitments of failure here. It might actually be the ideal scenario that balances things a bit better from the start for maximum fun without as much headache. The choice is yours.

Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 13, 2019 @ 12:49pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:01am 

“Delivery From the Pain” is absolutely a difficult game—especially in the struggle to pick up on the various intertwined mechanics--- but for the most part it’s also an incredibly fair game. You’ve got a fighting chance for as long as you’re willing to hang on, and that constant threat of death really yields a wonderfully tense atmosphere with riveting gameplay. You’re never going to be breaking this game over your knee. Even in the best of times, you could be a day or two away from being back in the red on your vital resources and only getting by on the skin of your teeth. And when you’re at your most desperate and eating literal garbage to survive---and facing all the other negative stat consequences of that---you may just luck into a resource type you’ve never experienced that gives you just the buffer needed to get back in harmony. This challenging barrage of highs and lows has really got me hooked, and I’m excited to share this game because I think it will have a similar effect on a lot of you out there. It’s not without its flaws, but the unique and addicting experience offered is easily worth two or three times the full early access price, so grab it soon while it’s still being finalized. You won’t regret it.

It has really rekindled my interest in a genre that I thought had long ago been covered in all its angles by now. The experience harkens back to pre-explosion of zombie media, returning us to the realm of Romero’s dead series making the social breakdown fantastically appealing as well as frightening. That latter dimension is something that most other alternatives tend to surrender. Games like “Dead Rising X” and “State Of Decay 2” capture the “pie in the face” whimsy but at the expense of trivializing their threat for full-on good times with friends slaughtering everything. Their zombies are toothless.

“Delivery From The Pain” finally captures that sensation of long-term survival in some sort of “Dawn Of The Dead” scenario, with attention divided among all the excitement as well as those mundane practicalities of life to create an encompassing experience of relative verisimilitude. The threat of death is ever chasing you now from all those exciting interactions among the living dead to all the practical interactions of daily survival, having become potentially fatal again in a world without safety-nets. These zombies manifest as an ultimate merger (of direct danger & physical annihilation with the lingering dangers of disease & disaster) to become the walking embodiment of death itself. All the threats compound over time where simple wounds can yield severe illness, and resources strain and strain. You will run in terror, and stumble in moments despair. “Delivery From The Pain” offers up one of those rare gem experiences that retroactively justifies the compulsion to dig through all the other shitty zombie early access mega-indies in hopes you might just uncovering something that shines again.

Check Delivery From The Pain on Steam now!

If you want more recommendations for weird and wonderful games then stop by our Steam curation group sometime, and follow WWGW:
Weird Wonderful Game Watch

Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 13, 2019 @ 1:12pm
(Hippo To Bee)^2 May 12, 2019 @ 4:18am 

Originally posted as a follow up section, I've moved all the tips and trick suggestions to their own place on the SteamHub as a guide.

You can check that out here now:
Last edited by (Hippo To Bee)^2; Jun 13, 2019 @ 12:47pm
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