Developed by Playstark and published by PQube, Die After Sunset is a 2D action shooter with some roguelite elements thrown in. It is available now on Windows PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch, and I will be reviewing the handheld Nintendo Switch version. Set in 2120, an alien race called the “Murkors” have invaded earth and as a member of the resistance, you must travel back in time across various levels to defeat the alien invaders to prevent the extinction of humanity. It was somewhat refreshing to see an attempt at putting a unique spin on the usual alien invasion plot we that have seen time and time again, but unfortunately, that is probably the only good thing that Die After Sunset brings to the table.
The game starts by ushering the player to the tutorial which guides you through the basics of character movement and weapons use but doesn’t really explain anything about the actual objectives of the game. As I headed out into the first of the game's five stages, I really wasn’t sure what on earth I was supposed to be doing. Once I wrapped my head around things, I found that the plan was to power up my character in preparation for a big boss battle at the end of each stage. This is achieved by finding chests scattered around the map which are filled with various goodies and power-ups for your character. Before the boss arrives the game will invite you to take part in side quests which can range from protecting generators from being damaged by the Murkors to clearing out hordes of enemies from a particular area of the map. Again, I found that the objectives on some of these side quests were totally unclear and it wasn’t until I replayed the stages and side quests numerous times that these objectives became more clear. A timer will count down to when the boss arrives then you must locate them and take them down. The boss fights were extremely difficult due to their massive health bar, along with having to deal with the extra Murkors on the ground. At the start of each stage, you lose any special items or weapons you have previously collected, which I thought was a bit stupid and needlessly harsh. You do, however, keep any buffs you might have accumulated to your health, attack, shield and lightning bars.
As you might expect from any game with roguelite elements, you will die pretty quickly early on. To combat your lack of power you have to collect a pink goo like substance which gets dropped by some aliens you kill. This is then used to upgrade your abilities and unlock perks and items between each run, which slowly makes the difficulty more accessible. This is a very slow process and makes the game feel much more grindy and frustrating than it should.
The controls just do not work on the Nintendo Switch. They lack any kind of precision, the aiming is far too sensitive and makes aiming at any kind of target an extremely frustrating experience. There is an option to adjust the global sensitivity which helps when aiming but in turn, it also adjusts the main camera sensitivity which really makes moving around feel sluggish. Just having that extra setting to adjust the main camera and aiming sensitivities separately would make such a big difference. The camera, on occasions zooms in too close to the player which obstructs the view and makes it difficult to locate enemy targets.
Visually, Die After Sunset feels like it draws a lot of inspiration from Fortnite with its bright colours and cartoony style artwork. Even the character movement reminded me of Fortnite. This isn’t a bad thing though, I thought the graphics were pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately though, the frame rate is truly horrendous on the Nintendo Switch. It was so stuttery and at times I felt like I must have only been getting 4 FPS. This really was not acceptable to me, and it just feels like a patch is needed for it, in order to make the game even semi-playable.
Overall, Die After Sunset offered me absolutely no enjoyment whatsoever. I really couldn’t get it deleted from my Nintendo Switch fast enough. The frustrating controls, extremely grindy character progression, and the horrifically bad frame rate made for a truly horrible gaming experience. I hope they can make some changes in future updates, because I feel that underneath all these issues, there is a potentially enjoyable game in there somewhere. As it stands though, I just cannot recommend this game, not even a little bit.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 1 out of 5.
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Many thanks to PQube for the Review Key.