Become The Reaper and collect the souls of the damned in indie game DEADBOLT, an unforgiving stealth-action hybrid. Designed to test your patience, skill and creativity, taking even a single shot risks starting all over again…
Whilst it isn’t a game for everyone, its rogue-like gameplay is unquestionably for gamers of a certain taste. It’s so more-ish, even though constant small mistakes or slightly off-sight aiming punish you time and time again. It’s fair to say that if you were ever a fan of games like Risk of Rain (also produced by Hopoo Games, the creators of DEADBOLT ) or Hotline Miami, you will undoubtedly love the grittiness and tough — but not impossible — play that DEADBOLT has to offer.
As I said before, DEADBOLT will not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s tricky at times and you die often on certain high profile levels, or at finicky bits where a split second is all you have. But it isn’t all woe; this is where you have to stop and think up a strategy for a moment before more frustrating deaths.
Perhaps going in guns blazing isn’t always the best idea (although if you’re good enough at aiming, why not?). The Reaper has the option to become a shadow and creep through plumbing or air vents on certain levels, so you could start your rampage from a different room or level of the building, or use this mechanic to try sneaking through, turning off lights and jumping from room to room — causing suspicion and even panic amongst your enemies.
That can give you the advantage of getting into different parts of the hideout you’re trying to go through unnoticed, avoiding detection and gunfire, which gives the game its stealth component. You can also use the element of surprise, blast through one room, then quickly shift around to other rooms and clear them out before anyone can come legging it in to blast you. Whilst that’s my preferred approach (and sadly not always the best solution…), certain situations definitely require more of a stealthy advance. Some you can just Rambo your way through, as long as your aim is good enough for the job. Perhaps the John Wick approach would work better for you?
Not every enemy in DEADBOLT is the same, so always aiming for the head isn’t the best guarantee of a quick kill. With over thirty-five different enemies, some require a little bit of cunning or thought to either kill or sneak past, since not all need to be blasted away. Although, there’s nothing to stop you trying, if that works best for you!
Since you can run out of bullets somewhat quickly, having a melee weapon or simply using your fists may be a wise decision. With over thirty weapons to purchase from the shady character on the docks between levels, it’s definitely worth seeing him if you’re struggling on a certain level and feel like superior firepower may get you out of that jammy stage — whether that’s a silencer pistol, for those swift and silent kills, or a semi-automatic shotgun to blast your way through more resilient enemies.
Sadly, you can only switch your weapons at the beginning of the level in your car, not once you’ve already starting blasting your way through vampires and realise perhaps the tactical SMG may have been the better choice…
DEADBOLT definitely has a lot of attitude and captivation even for what it is, from pixellated graphics with detailed blood splatters that are admittedly satisfying (as long as it’s not the thirtieth time trying to get through the level) to the music. The soundtrack, which gives DEADBOLT that extra-thick layer of immersion, makes it feel a lot more gritty, and a genuinely more interesting experience. Some indie games’ music can become quite repetitive and annoying after a while — but with Chris Christodoulou, the artist responsible for Risk of Rain’s OST, at the helm for DEADBOLT’s music, the tunes become a memorable part of the experience, with different tracks for practically every level.
Overall, DEADBOLT is another winner by Hopoo Games, in its field of rogue-like games that reward you for being creative, clever and quick, much like its predecessor Risk of Rain. It’s challenging, engaging and very easy to pick up and play, as long as you have the patience for it. Also, if you fancy yourself as a master of rogue-like gaming and the twenty-five levels aren’t enough to satisfy you, there’s no need to worry — DEADBOLT is a part of the Steam Workshop community. With fans of the game churning out extra levels at their own difficulties to test and punish, there’s no problems with replayability for DEADBOLT, as you can subscribe to any extra levels you want, or even go out of your way to create your own sinister levels for others to try to brave.
DEADBOLT isn’t for the faint-hearted or easily frustrated, but in general it’s a great little gem of a game. It may be painful at times, but it is also largely gratifying. For any fans of Risk of Rain or Hotline Miami it’s a definite must-buy to add to your rogue collection — and it won’t disappoint.