Mashing together ideas from other games can work quite well, depending on balancing. It didn’t work all that well when developer Playstark tried it with Agents: Biohunters, but it’s trying it again with Die After Sunset, which is currently in the middle of a beta. The game will enter Early Access later this year, so this beta is a great opportunity for Playstark to finetune the game prior to that release. As such, we were curious as to how development was coming along. I put a bit of time into the beta and have to say that I experienced some powerful déjà vu on all fronts.
Before firing it up the first time, I wasn’t aware that Die After Sunset was made by Playstark at all. Upon hitting the character select screen, which features just a single available character to start you off, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I’d seen the character before. That’s because the starter character named April was also in that game. After launching into the game, it further became clear that the gameplay is highly similar, as are the graphics. Just like the other game, it looks a hell of a lot like Fortnite. But this isn’t set to be a free-to-play multiplayer game this time around.
Die After Sunset is most like Risk of Rain. Upon starting, you’re dropped into a level. In my case, I started being attacked the second I assumed control of April. The timer immediately starts ticking down until the level’s boss shows up, so it’s the player’s job to complete quests and accrue power-ups before that happens. After a bit, quests show up on your mini-map and you can track them down. Completing quests adds some more time to your timer, plus you get a chest with a choice of three power-ups inside.
Die a little more after sunset
As for how these power-ups work, they’re also quite similar to Risk of Rain. Some are passive and you’ll want to grab those to bolster your character. Others add abilities, such as a drone or a tool that creates a healing zone for you to use. Quests have various objectives. One tasks you with starting a generator before monsters can destroy it. Another has you stop monsters from stealing gold from a wrecked pirate ship. I saw one that requires you to solve a puzzle with multiple mirrors, but I had no clue what I was supposed to do to solve it.
The biggest issue is that these quests seem pointless, since your time feels like it would be better spent killing monsters, collecting currency, and then using it to open power-up chests that are scattered all around. The timer is so strict that you’ll only have time to do two or three quests, and the boss shows up after just a few minutes regardless of you summoning them. Once you make it to the boss, you have to fight them in an enclosed space while enemies spawn behind you. If you win, you go onto the next level, of which there are five.
My biggest problem with Die After Sunset is a lot like my biggest problem with Agents: Biohunters. The ideas that are inspired from other games don’t gel together in this title. Agents: Biohunters currently has a 36% “Mostly Negative” rating on Steam and is completely dead in the water. Die After Sunset, at least during this beta period, doesn’t seem to be much better. I truly hope that Playstark will get some helpful insight from players during this beta period. If it doesn’t turn things around, history will likely repeat itself.