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Game Info:

Desert Kill 
Developed By: IO Games
Published By: IO Games
Released: April 17, 2019
Available On: Windows
Genre: Twin-stick shooter
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $4.99

Thank you IO Games for the Steam key for review!

Desert Kill is a twin-stick shooter rogue-lite that’s too standard to the formula for its own good, and fails at almost every corner. I have encountered several weird issues and quirks when playing this game, and had nearly zero fun while doing it.

Your average Desert Kill run starts with a selection of one of several different characters. Right off the bat you’ll notice that none of the characters seem to have any difference aside from cosmetic. There could be differences, but it isn’t directly stated on the character select screen. Once selecting a character, you can go into the optional tutorial. The tutorial being optional is great, I applaud that, but what isn’t great is that the tutorial breaks when it teaches you the melee attack so you can’t finish. Luckily, I learned most of what I needed to and was able to enter a run shortly after.

Desert Kill
Highlights:

Strong Points: Good run variety; fair price point
Weak Points: Buggy; uninteresting; doesn’t explain things
Moral Warnings: Lots of blood; human on human violence; one enemy is a suicide bomber

When you start a run, you are thrown into a massive isometric desert landscape and given a minimap and a couple starting weapons. On the minimap several things are marked. There are shops, mini outposts to raid, and then the main objective areas. Going from objective to objective is a slog. The map is too large without much happening in-between. There are vehicles lying about, but they are far too expensive to use on a consistent basis, and your hard-earned money is better spent elsewhere. To beat a level of Desert Kill, you need to complete two objectives, which there is a decent variety of, and then beat a boss.

The gameplay loop is terrible. It’s slow and kind of awkward. Enemies’ hitboxes seem off and your guns aren’t accurate. Shop items are incredibly expensive and money drops are sparse. The game tries to have some verticality to it, with enemies standing on top of buildings and whatnot, but this adds nothing but making it even harder to hit an enemy with a weird hitbox. You have a dodge roll, but it’s only essential in boss fights. The dodge roll mechanic isn’t explored otherwise. The gunplay itself is awkward and not very fun. There’s a permanent unlock system, but again, item drops are so rare it’s very hard to earn up the cash to unlock new toys. Moreover, the game doesn’t seem to try anything new or different.

Desert Kill
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 44%
Gameplay - 6/20
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 79%
Violence - 3.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Desert Kill’s art style looks like a mobile game ported to PC, and actually hinders the gameplay itself. Enemies can hit behind walls and be impossible to see, so instead of adding some sort of transparency option, they decided that you can rotate the camera with right mouse click. The sounds are okay, but they don’t have much of a feeling to them. The soundtrack might be the best part of the game. It isn’t crazy good, but it’s pretty solid western music and fits the game perfectly. There is no gamepad support currently, but the keyboard and mouse controls can be fully rebound to whatever you want. I ran into a few crashes, but these were mostly my fault for left clicking on the screen and being impatient during long loading times.

Enemies spill significant amounts of blood. All the enemies I encountered were human, and one enemy type was a guy with a bomb strapped to his chest.

I do not recommend Desert Kill in any way. It fails in every way I can think of, and I truly hope that changes over the rest of its early access development. The price point is a cheap 5 bucks, but that 5 dollars could be spent on a nice coffee.

About the Author

Evan

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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