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One of the most grueling elements to any indie game is to stand out during your first week. That’s difficult when you have to compete in the couch multi-player games scene. This part of the indie scene is flooded with a bunch of different games with different gimmicks that unfortunately do have short lifespans. That is, unless they have something truly worth standing out about them. If you don’t get in on the first week, you usually don’t stand a chance with playing against other friends online with them. It’s a shame, because most indie games and developers deserve support that last longer than a week. Unfortunately, this was the risk that At Sundown: Shots in the Dark had to go through. So, does it stand out? Well, you have to read the review.
At Sundown is a top-down arena-based action game. You can play with up to four people with different characters and weapons that range from long to short range. So, this sounds pretty vanilla when you break it down like that. What makes this game stand out from other twin-stick-style action games? Well, when you look at all the different variations of the levels in the game, you will notice that there is an awful lot of focus on lit-up and dark areas. The main gimmick you will be finding yourself having to strategize with is that when you enter the dark areas of the level, you vanish. When you enter lit areas, you will be visible. This means that you will need to choose your weapons wisely. It then turns into a game of hiding, not forgetting where you are, and then striking when your opponent is nearby. Do you go with the weapons that can give you some distance? Or do you wait in the shadows, and strike with a short-range weapon? While there might only be a handful of main stages, each stage has sub-stages with their own look, and some have their own quirks, like one has security lasers that will be set off if you cross them. You have a few different game modes that include normal matches, death matches, timed death matches, and arena. To unlock everything as you go through the game, you, well, play it, leveling yourself up to unlock stages and more weapons.
Graphically, I have nothing really against it. The 2D artwork looks like this cool indie noir action comic, and everything looks consistent. You won’t be seeing anything that looks out of place visually. It’s kind of hard to talk a lot about the presentation side of things, because it’s all pretty simple. It’s not visual overload, because you need to have a game with this kind of gimmick to be readable to the players.
Now then, what’s wrong with the game? Well, like most of these types of games, there is not a whole lot of content, and it also suffers from the typical syndrome of once you play a few rounds, you will be done with it. There isn’t much else to this game. It has settings that will let you play against some bots, but these games live and die by their means of keeping you playing endless rounds together with friends. There is a decent amount of content, but the different modes don’t offer much. I got to play a round or two online, but it was hard after that. Also, for a gimmick like hiding in the shadows, it can be tough to know where you are exactly. I know that’s the point, but it’s not fun to strategize when you forget for a split second where you are, and what side you are facing. The camera is also pulled back a bit too much so that it makes whatever character you choose pointless, because they all look the same from the same perspective.
I can definitely see At Sundown: Shots in the Dark be this fun and strategic party game that unfortunately has to compete with the others in its style. If you like these types of games, then I say pick this one up, but I’m worried that it will be forgotten quickly. Gaming is crowded, and when a better experience of a certain game comes around, then people are going to drop it like a bad habit for the more fulfilling experience. I think it’s a solid game to have in your rotation, but if you feel iffy about having another single screen party game, then maybe wait for a sale.
This game gets a 6 out of 10.