Death By Game Show
Oointah's pet project, Death By Game Show is finally out. Is it any good? Should you pay $15 for it on Steam? Here is our official review of the game.
Death By Game Show is the new video game by Indie Developer, Oointah. In it, you play as U.H. Wutt, the smartest man in the 26th Century. The future has become so idiotic, people are forced to serve out death sentences on live TV, hosted by robots, for the dumbest reasons. Hence, the name Death By Game Show. In order to survive and win your life, you must fight through 50 “rehabilitation” challenges, of increasing difficulty. Death By Game Show is Oointah’s love letter to the Mike Judge classic, Idiocracy, and it shows throughout the game.
Despite their boast of being based off of Idiocracy, there isn’t much story. They use their inspiration mainly as a setting and reason for their game. Not to mention, a selling point. However, it should be known that DBGS is a strategy game, to the core. You can just see it in the format of the game. In each level, Wutt gets chained to a “The G.I.M.P.” (Game Show Intimidation Masheen of Pwnage), which allows him to summon all of the robot minions at your disposal. Your robot minions consist of a katana wielding ninja, a giant defender, and even some that float and blow up on contact, among others. You use these minions, which surround the screen and create by clicking, to attack all the different enemies the game show tries to destroy you with. Players also get to build different structures which perform different duties in order to help in your survival. You have to use these tools, in order to survive, until the timer goes out and the rescue ship arrives. It involves A LOT of strategy.
Now, the enemies you’re fighting are a horde of relentless robots programmed to do one thing. Kill you and anything that gets in their way. The enemy robots pretty much mimic the ones that are on Wutt’s side. This forces players to strategize what robot best to use against your enemy. Typically, the same kind do enough damage to delay death but sometimes it’s nice to have a “tank” to defeat all your minor enemies.
Often times DBGS felt clunky and lazy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a challenging game. It takes a lot of swift strategy to survive all 50 levels. It’s the other features of the game that turned me off. For instance, I didn’t like U.H. Wutt. I wasn’t given a reason to like the character I was trying to save. In the beginning you’re just told, “You’re too smart, you’re going to die.” That’s some lazy storytelling. Even in Idiocracy I rooted to Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph’s characters because Mike Judge told enough of a story to let me. DBGS thrusts you into action with a weakling of a character and expects you to want to save him. You’re given a claw but you can only use it to reach coins. Why couldn’t I use it to hit robots? I didn’t get it.
Part of DBGS’ main selling point is the humor. The jokes felt forced and out of place, most of the time. I didn’t so much mind the main robot host but even he got annoying half the time. They kept trying to force these loud and intrusive noises that, when listened to closely, would call you names. It’s funny, at first. However, it quickly becomes annoying when you’re being called a douchebag in a strange voice for turning off the game.
Overall, if you like strategy games and immature humor, Death by Game Show is the game for you. This just didn't do it for me. I needed more from Oointah to care enough about the character I was trying to save. There are a lot of games out there that their main pitch to keep people playing is motivation through competition. DBGS tries that and it fails. I’m not saying it isn’t fun. It is for a little while. However, the brutal jokes mixed in with the predictable and unrewarding gameplay make it twist and turn through a downward spiral of mediocrity. It's definitely not worth the $15 they're selling it for.