Last Kids on Earth: Hit the Deck review for PC

Platform: PC
Publisher: SMART Technologies
Developer: SMART Technologies
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: Not Rated

There?s some irony in the fact that Last Kids on Earth: Hit the Deck?s name is what it is. See, it doesn?t fully run on the Steam Deck (at least as of this writing), which means if you were hoping for some card-based battling on the go, be advised you won?t get that here.

And, unfortunately for me, the Steam Deck is how I do all my PC gaming. So…that?s not ideal.

What makes it really bad, at least from my perspective, is where it doesn?t work: the cutscenes. The card-based battles are fine, but the moment you get into the parts of the game that explain what?s happening, it all falls apart. You can hear the dialogue, at least, but as far as the images on the screen go, they?re sideways and blurry and discoloured. Basically, if you?re old enough to remember scrambled cable channels or Pay-Per-View feeds from back in the ?90s, it looks exactly like that (and if you aren?t, Google it, and maybe avoid the NSFW results).

The problem with this for me is that Last Kids on Earth: Hit the Deck is my first exposure to the franchise, so I only had the vaguest idea of what was going on. Thanks to the action I was able to piece together that it has something to do with aliens and zombies and the titular kids, but if you asked me for more details than that, I?d be clueless.

The weird thing is that once you get into the actual gameplay of Last Kids on Earth: Hit the Deck, everything is completely fine, and the game runs without any hiccups. You can plan out your deck and your gear and then go and fight the zombies/aliens, and you won?t have a single problem.

This is both good and bad. It?s bad because it meant that my experience with Last Kids on Earth: Hit the Deck was just battle after battle after battle, without any context. On the flip side, however, those battles were awfully fun. You don?t need a tonne of context to figure out that your goal is to use your cards to wipe out the monsters ? and the game is accessible and intuitive enough that you don?t need much more than that to go on. There are some challenging battles the further in you get, obviously, but generally speaking this game is very easy to pick up.

But again, if you want to play this on the Steam Deck, be warned that you?ll be missing a pretty major chunk of the game. It?s probably not the best way to be exposed to Last Kids on Earth for the first time ? but so, Hit the Deck is still a pretty enjoyable deck-based battler, even with those shortcomings.

SMART Technologies provided us with a Last Kids on Earth: Hit the Deck PC code for review purposes.

Grade: B-