When Blue Ӧyster Cult wrote “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” they probably weren’t thinking about the undead. As Deadbolt shows, zombies and vampires should fear the reaper.
Deadbolt is a pleasant twist on the paranormal genre, putting you as a Reaper, a hitman who opts for guns instead of a scythe — unless you want to buy one. As a Reaper, you go door-to-door and dish out a serving size of death (approved by the FDA, of course) to the undead gangs and thugs that run the streets.
Whether you’re busting zombie street gangs or dismantling a vampire drug ring, there is no correct way to complete each task. As long as you finish the job, you can go stealthy or on a slaughter spree. As you progress, you collect souls which can be used to buy new weapons to use in your loadout.
You are given many avenues of ingress when it comes to completing your task. Taking advantage of the environment by flipping light switches, knocking on doors to split enemies apart and traveling through vents and pipes to swiftly move around a building interior.
Deadbolt offers a challenging experience when it comes to its gameplay. It’s all fun and games when you’re re-atomizing while an enemy is taking a dump, but that fun can come to a swift end with a single shot to your person … corpse … skeleton? You get the point. One shot and you’re dead unless you get lucky.
One slip up and you’re back to the beginning. Though you might be a little ashamed of yourself, you will be all the wiser. While you may be the exact opposite of a bullet sponge, you can use the furniture to your advantage; overturning coffee tables and taking cover behind sofas to delay your death. As it was made clear within my first hour of playing, Deadbolt is relentless, freeing, brutal and a quintessential “trial and error” game.
I’m a sucker for appealing pixel art, so for me, the art style of Deadbolt was an excellent visual experience. Watching the blood splatter on the wall behind the enemies you maim is satisfying and hilarious when paired with the naturally light-hearted appearance of pixel graphics.
When you’re not out killing the already dead, you can relax at your home, watching the fire roar with an immensely satisfying fireplace.
While going around and doing death’s work, you’re accompanied with a wildly appropriate soundtrack. Gang hideouts have loud, bass-heavy music while nightclubs play dance music, with everything being appropriately muffled when you enter a different room. This is the first soundtrack for a game that I have heavily considered buying. It’s diverse, fun and fitting for such a unique title. For the curious, you can preview the soundtrack on Bandcamp.
If you were to do a perfect run of Deadbolt somehow, it would probably take you around one to two hours to complete. However, the game comes with a map builder, and while it may only be available on the Windows version, adds a near-limitless amount of replay value to the game. Playing on user-created maps and creating your own adventure adds so much more depth to Deadbolt. You can also always go back to old levels to experiment with different approaches and improve your score.
For an asking price of $9.99, Deadbolt has a lot to offer gamers from all genre preferences. It’s a fun 2D sidescroller that effectively employs your favorite style of gameplay. To complete a mission in Deadbolt isn’t about what method you choose, but how you do it. Play smart, not hard, and Deadbolt will reward you for it.