Game Reviews

Dead End City

Dead End City is a post-apocalyptic arcade shooter in which you need to collect fuel and dodge enemy attacks. It was developed by Pixel Licker and self-published on Steam on the 13th of October 2022. It has been recently released for the PlayStation 5 consoles, where it was published by eastasiasoft on the 28th of February 2024.

RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 28, 2024
DEVELOPER: PIXEL LICKER LLC
PUBLISHER: EASTASIASOFT
PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION 5

In Dead End City you have to blast your way through post-apocalyptic wastelands. It is a retro vertical shoot ‘em up game in which you can play two different game modes – Arcade and Highway. In Arcade mode, your fuel is always draining and taking damage drains fuel as well. When the Fuel Bar is empty, it is game over, so you have to collect fuel cans to keep restoring it. Overfilling the Fuel Bar activates Topoff Mode – while the excess fuel drains, the Chariot’s (that is your vehicle) main shot will power up. When you will collect enough ammo, you will earn a Special Shot, and when its ammo reaches maximum capacity, Fuel Time activates and enemies will spawn fuel instead of ammo. A Score Multiplier is also present and hitting enemies during Topoff Mode or with a Special Shot increases it. On the other hand, taking damage reduces the Score Multiplier, as expected. When the Score Multiplier reaches x9, enemies will drop Medals that reward big point bonuses when collected. In Highway mode you have two minutes to score as many points as you can. This time around, using your Special Shot consumes fuel instead of ammo. It is a pretty hectic mode that is all about collecting medals and defeating Rival cars, which appear for a short time, to rank as high as possible with your score. Actually, there is also a third game mode, and that is Score Attack, where you play levels to best your high scores. Now that we have covered the game modes, let’s talk about the gameplay. There are two difficulties available, Normal and Hard, and you need to unlock the Hard mode. There are five Chariots you can select between, but you have to unlock four of them by completing various objectives, that are beating the bosses without taking any damage. You will need to defeat enemies in waves, and after a handful of them, an area boss will await – it is as simple as that! After every run, you will earn coins that you will be able to spend in a menu shop, where you can buy the remaining Chariots or even the Hard mode, instead of unlocking it by completing the game on Normal mode.

Game’s visual style and animations are pretty good, and there is also a nice variety of enemies present. The sound department is a bit bland, though, as there is no real pumping soundtrack that would complement the action happening on the screen. As far as trophies go, they are pretty straightforward – you must clear Arcade mode, beat any boss without taking any damage, score a million points, kill 5000 enemies, and collect a thousand medals. There is a bit grinding for the Platinum, but the game is fun enough to keep you busy until you will naturally unlock those trophies.

Dead End City is a pretty hectic, but very fun retro shoot ‘em up game, that will keep you wanting to beat your previous high score. I recommend it to every shmup fan out there, that wishes to sink into a post-apocalyptic world, defeat some baddies, and beat their own scores.

GRADE

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