This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
I haven’t had my Switch too long. It was something I picked up when I went overseas, and was always intended as more of a on-the-go device than a home console. But when I got it, that opinion changed, and so I leaped at the opportunity to review At Sundown: Shots in the Dark.
Developed by Mild Beast Games and published by Versus Evil, At Sundown: Shots in the Dark is a top down stealth-based arena shooter in which up to 4 players compete in online and local deathmatch games. That is, if you can find an online match, otherwise you’re stuck playing local against friends, or against bots which severely damages the game’s replayability. The game itself was subject to a lot of hype, winning the One to Watch award at the 2016 BAFTAs and the Microsoft Imagine Games award in the same year. My hopes were pretty high, and in some aspects, met.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single online game. Seriously. I tried in the morning, in the middle of the day, at night, on the weekends, heck, I would have tried it in the shower if I thought it would have helped. But alas, multiplayer eluded me like your cellphone when it falls under the car seat. You know it’s there, you can see it, but you can’t quite reach it. How can I review a game without visiting a core aspect you may ask. Well it’s hard, but we’ll soldier through because when life gives you a lemon, you damn well get out there and sell some orange juice.
Visuals and sound
Undoubtedly one of the strongest aspects of the game is its unique visual identity. Almost the entirety of the game has you playing in the shadows, and it’s something that is very hard to get accustomed to, so the well done training missions are a must for anyone struggling with the concept. On the surface, the darkness to the game can almost seem like a cop out from having to put effort into the levels. But when combined with the simple but effective map design, the bright colours of your character, and the enemies, as well as the various other light sources dotted around the map make this game not only thrilling to play, but also to see.
Sound is serviceable, it suits the game well and doesn’t distract. Nothing to complain about in this department and for a game based on stealth, I think that’s a good thing.
Being a top down shooter, gameplay obviously takes place from a birds eye view and your sticks control your movement and where you’re aiming. Each weapon has a standard attack and a powered attack, and your base character has a boost, as well as a button to become visible for those times where you just can’t see. Walking into walls gives a little bit of haptic feedback, meaning you can always tell where you are, even when you can’t… Well after some practice anyway.
There are three main ways to play At Sundown: Shots in the Dark: You’ve got multiplayer, which (believe it or not after my experiences) lets you play online, you’ve got local play, which pits you against friends or bots in a series of game modes and maps, and you’ve got training Which teaches you how to use each of the 17 weapons and powerups as well as the different techniques that will help you on your path to victory.
New game modes,weapons, and maps are unlocked through a levelling system. Experience is gained through completing matches both online and offline (I assume online, but have no idea really) and by scoring medals in the Training area. It brings a fun way to encourage replayability, and the levels are entirely attainable.
Local play was entertaining, but unless all of you have played the tutorials, it will quickly become frustrating due to none of you being able to beat even the simplest of bots. Patience is key if you want to become the best.
I really wish I could have found a game online, because what I did get to play I loved. I smashed out local play with a mate, I played it alone with bots and I loved trying to get the best scores in Training.
Without multiplayer, the game is incredibly lacking. No story, and really only one type of game to play. Yes there are different game-modes to play in local, but without the thrill of online, how long can that last?
Like I said at the beginning of this review, this was a hard task for me to do. As without being able to play what is probably the key element of the game, how can I fairly give a verdict? So my review is based on what I could play, and from that angle, it’s very enjoyable. It looks good, it plays good and more importantly it’s fun, with enough difficulty to keep gameplay interesting. I encourage you to do some serious investigating into what platform you pick it up on, so you can be sure you’ll find players online. But I do encourage you to check it out, because it’s a fun little number, and I’ll still be trying to play online. Like a lone wolf calling out for a pack, I’ll be calling into the shadows for some people to ruthlessly murder.