Review: Dead End Road (Video Game)

Dev: DDD Wares
Release Date: July 8, 2016


What the fuck? So, nevermind that the graphics are old school pixels, I don’t care about that. Some amazing games are pixel-based. I even enjoy the premise: you are trying to complete a dark ritual to achieve your ultimate goal. I’m down. Deal with the devil. Crossroads pact. I get it. How you are magically teleported across the county is confusing, but okay, I’m trying to follow your logic here. So, you have to drive to different cities to find a book, a bell and a candle and something to light them with? Okay, I’m still with you.

Why the hell does the middle feel like a driving simulator from hell? I get the point, it is very obviously a challenge to make sure you are worthy or have the strength of whatever cliche you want to throw at me. That’s fine, but it could make a little more sense. It could be structured better. It would be amazing if every time you screwed up, you didn’t have to start the whole fucking game over again! What bullshit is that? You could just start at the last town back or something like that instead of having to start the whole annoying process over again, especially since the last drive makes going to hell seem like a simple task.

And please don’t get me wrong, I am all for hard. Make me work for it, don’t just hand me the ending, I want to earn it. By the time you finally get to the end of this game, you would rather throw your computer out the window because that would feel a shit load more satisfying. It took every ounce of my being to not type that out all in caps and I am sure you appreciate that I didn’t, but HOLY SHIT did it feel impossible and anti-climatic when the game was finally beat. Two of the endings I encountered were both disappointing and making me wish for all that time back.

Let me know what you think. Am I utterly wrong or filled with righteous rage quit?


2 thoughts on “Review: Dead End Road (Video Game)

  1. My dude. It’s a rogue-lite. Random generation (meaning no two playthroughs will ever be exactly the same) ensures that the game has the legs to stand on multiple runs. The permanent death and borderline unfair level of difficulty are par for the course with roguelikes and rogue-lites as well. These games can certainly be a bit masochistic and are, by design, not to everyone’s taste, but I found this to be both a refreshing take in what is becoming an increasingly staid genre, as well as an enjoyable diversion. It didn’t overstay it’s welcome, and gave me a fun and challenging set of mechanics to attempt to master over its brief playtime. For $2.99, 3 hours of tense and challenging gameplay sounds just right. If you take the time to glance at DER’s user reviews on Steam or other reviews for this game on blogs, you’ll find that you’re the odd man out on this one. Which, again, is fine — these types of games certainly aren’t for everyone. But I feel as if you do the game a disservice by not even explaining its mechanics, style, what the gameplay entails… you just state that it’s a “driving simulator from hell”, that the graphics are “old school”, that the permadeath annoyed you, and that you weren’t satisfied with the ending. That, uh, doesn’t tell your readers anything about what you actually do in the game. You don’t even explain what it is that you found so hard about the gameplay, why you kept dying and getting sent back to start, or in what way it seemed incoherent to you or lacking in structure. I make these points only because I see a nifty little game getting the short end of the stick jammed up its rear end, without any real explanation as to why. This game is no masterpiece certainly, and it has a small array of frustrations and problems. But it’s a charming and unique indie with loads of atmosphere, tightly focused gameplay and a fair bit of replayability due to random generation, and all for less than the price of a fast food value meal. I’d urge anyone reading this to give it a spin. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    1. You are correct, I let my mild dislikes cloud my review a bit and didn’t fully state what was going on in the game. I do sometimes do that so I’m not giving a ‘tell all’ and hoping they experience the game. It wasn’t the worst game but by far not a game for me but I strongly encourage anyone to try the game themselves and tell me what they think.

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