Dead Pixels is the latest in a long string of retro indie games dedicated to the true love of gamers everywhere: The zombie apocalypse!
Toxic chemicals are blamed for more zombie outbreaks than anything else, so it’s no surprise that when they spill into the water supply, all hell will break loose. You are a lone survivor on the streets of New Hexington, NY, trying to make it to the chopper so you can escape the nightmare of zombies on every street. There are a lot of streets to navigate, and not enough ammo in the whole city to do the job, so you have to choose when to shoot and when to just run away or hide in one of the many abandoned houses or stores along the way.
Dead Pixels has a fabulous retro look that hearkens back to the days of side-scrolling arcade games, the zombies even blink out of existence a few seconds after you kill them, taking the money they spilled onto the streets with them when they disappear. It’s kind of annoying to watch your hard earned coins vanish with the dead zombies, but it’s a true homage to the way videogames used to be. You need strategy to survive the streets of New Hexington, if you just go blasting zombies out of your way, then you’ll quickly run out of ammo and they’ll take you down. Shops are your friend, though why shopkeepers are still there when everyone else is escaped or dead I’m not quite sure. You can do little missions for the store owners if you want, a lot of them are looking for something specific that you can find out in the world, and if you’ve got it, they’re willing to part with quite a large sum of money. It would be better if the game reminded you when you pick up an item that someone’s looking for; because I was too busy killing or dodging zombies to remember which person wanted what item.
Money is easy to come by in two different ways. The first is killing zombies, which is good cause you can stay alive and keep moving forward, but it costs you precious bullets which you might need later on. The other is to visit vacant buildings and take the items you find there to the traders and sell them. Weapons and items are placed in the world randomly, so there’s no telling what you’ll find at each trader or whether you’ll have enough money to buy it at the time. Since the zombies just keep on coming, you can hang out on the street and kill until you get the cash you need, unless you run out of ammo.
There are three game modes: Dead Pixels, The Solution and Last Stand. You can play each one as a single player or in co-op mode on the same computer. I know there are players who’d like online co-op, but it didn’t really bother me to have to escape the city on my own. Dead Pixel mode is you versus the zombies in a race to the airport. The Solution and Last Stand gives you a choice of player characters with different strengths and weaknesses, making it fun to replay these modes since you can simply change characters and see if they’re tough enough to escape the zombies or not. There is a good variety among the characters as well, not all of them are experts with firearms, and some of the ones that are highest in firearm have lower health than the other characters.
The Solution is a fun mode, differentiated by the fact that there are no traders or anyone else left in the city for you to talk to. This makes looting a little more important, though you may find a bunch of crap that you can’t use in some houses.
Last Stand is pure survival mode, fending off waves of zombies in a mall so that other survivors can escape.
Dead Pixels is available for PC on Steam and also at http://deadpixelsthegame.com/
Dead Pixels was reviewed on PC after 8 hours of gameplay.