Also on: PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X
I get the “what” of Die After Sunset. I can’t say I understand the “why.”
By that, I mean that Die After Sunset’s basic premise is pretty easy to understand. It calls itself a “roguelite shooter,” but that’s needlessly vague. It’s essentially Fortnite, but single-player. It’s got bright colors, lots of loot to pick up, and wave after wave of enemies to shoot. If, like me, you’re not big on multiplayer gaming, it’s not hard to see the appeal of that.
Moreover, there are some interesting ideas here. Monsters, for example, become more dangerous when they’re in the dark; while they look all cute and goofy in the sunshine when they’re running at you with pool noodles on, the moment they wander into the shadows, they become darker and more vicious. You also only have a short amount of time in each level before the boss arrives, and you have to make the most of that time to gather as much ammo and goodies as you can find.
Unfortunately, that brings me back to the “why” of Die After Sunset – as in, why are you doing any of this. I know the game’s Steam page features some story about aliens controlling the world and you fighting back, but the gameplay consists of just shooting wave after wave of aliens until the timer runs down, at which point you have to start searching for the boss. If you don’t find the boss, it’s game over – literally, since the level ends and you have to restart from scratch.
To be fair, there are quests within each level, but here too the objectives are never very clear. For example, there’s one quest where you have to do something involving a crane, but the game never explains what exactly you’re supposed to be doing, so you’re just left shooting at the alien hordes until you inevitably fail the quest. I’d like to say the other quests are a little more fun, but that would be lying.
It also doesn’t help that Die After Sunset’s gunplay – which is basically the game’s entire reason for being – is pretty lacklustre. You start out feeling like you’re just emptying clips into bullet sponges, and it takes a lot of grinding until you reach a point where your weapons are any good. Needless to say, it feels like a lot of effort for very little reward.
And none of this even gets into the game’s technical performance. While the PC version of Die After Sunset is relatively free of the issues that apparently plague the game on the Switch, it still felt pretty half-baked. I frequently had monsters spawn near me inside rocks and walls, which meant they could fire away at me and I couldn’t do anything but run away. The balance also seemed completely off, since the monsters would drop lots of useless rewards but never any health-related items, which meant that by the time I got to the boss I was already half-dead and easy pickings for it.
In other words, while Die After Sunset may have spent a few years in Early Access, it still doesn’t feel like a game that should have been given a full release. No matter how good its premise may be, and how interesting an idea “single-player Fortnite” may sound on paper, it’s clear that Die After Sunset still isn’t something worthwhile.
PQube provided us with a Die After Sunset PC code for review purposes.