LifeisXbox’s Kingdom Of The Dead review | When it comes to first-person shooters, it really takes something special to grab my attention. With Kingdom Of The Dead, it grabbed me by the ears and delivered a swift knee into the teeth, (and I mean that in a good way). Kingdom Of The Dead is a very eye-catching game, with its hand-drawn, black-and-white homage to westerns. Not only that, but it also draws inspiration from modern shooters like Doom and Painkiller. Developed by DIRIGO GAMES and Published by HOOK, Kingdom Of The Dead delivers a short, but entertaining shooter with over 22 enemy types, 9 bosses, cheat codes, and dark synth-wave tracks that will have you headbanging along with each pull of the trigger, Kingdom Of The Dead is a serious indie contender even for most shooters on the market. Read on to find out more.
Most Memorable Moment
In one of the later levels, I found myself running across the rooftop of a train. The wind blew fiercely as I made my way towards the front of the carriage. Enemies were flying in from everywhere. I had a Gatling gun which I was using to cut down hordes of the undead, their bodies falling off of the train only to be left in the rearview. Pushing forwards, I dropped down into the nearest carriage and pushed forwards with all the scenery rushing by. The feeling of doing something this epic in an indie game just made me grin from ear to ear. Along with the very eye-catching art style, this was a treat of a level. By far the best one in the game with an awesome boss fight at the end of it.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- The various different enemies | Kingdom Of The Dead boasts a huge 22 different enemy types and this is impressive. For such a small game the varying enemy types really do add a nice change of pace to the game when playing. You get your standard run of the mill zombies that melee attack you, you also get zombies that fire guns at you which will require you to move to the side to avoid. There are dog like creatures that run after you, spiders, birds, huge hulking antler demons with axes that want you dead, just to name a few. You will have a great time mowing them down with your arsenal of weapons over the 9 levels.
- The Music | Kingdom Of The Dead has an amazing soundtrack. The music comprises of some Dark Synthwave music which gives it an 80’s horror film feel. The music sounds like it is straight out of a Romero movie like Dawn of The Dead. Each track is well fitted to each level, and the design even makes me think back to those old horror movies. The two go hand in hand quite well and compliment each other to the point where you will be head bangining along with the tracks as you shoot down hordes of the undead. There is also a music player in the level select area where you can listen to all of the tracks throughout the game.
- The Boss Battles | At the end of each level there is a boss that you must defeat in order to close the gates of hell. Each boss is pretty big in scope and fills a pretty big section of the screen. Enemies from giant earthworms to bats to undead cowboys will try to kill you at the very end of each stage. They can be pretty epic battles in some instances, especially the ones where you have to avoid droves of the undead as well as fending off the boss. There isn’t much to defeating them though, just shoot until they drop down dead.
- The Art Style | The biggest hook for this game has to be it’s hand drawn art style. At first I thought perhaps this was more of a post-processing effect but it seems that each model has been drawn and the material placed onto the models. It’s a very intricate and delicate style vs process. One of which the developer has taken a lot of care in producing. There are some tweaks that you can make to this style in the form of different tints which I will talk about more in the below point. But needless to say, the style of the game is bound to draw peoples heads and grab peoples attention since it isn’t seen very often.
- Graphical Options & More | As mentioned above there are a few graphical options that you can mess with give the game a different look and feel. You can allow for sepia tones, black and white, with mono-chromatic colours also. You can even unlock cheats using cheat codes which grants you access to more ammo, more health and other ways to play the game. It’s a nice touch, and one that you don’t see added to a lot of games these days.
- Simplicity in level design | Something I feel very unsure about is the level design overall. Yes you have big sprawling areas and smaller areas to explore, each with it’s own enemy type to vanquish, but the issue here is that most people who play shooters in this day and age (myself included) play like they are playing a Doom game. This means that you can run and shoot your way through each part of the level until you reach the final boss. This is the only time your progress is halted and you must fight. In turn, this creates a very small amount of play time within each level. The intial level took me approximately 25 minutes to finish since I was finding my feet. But after this, each level took me somewhere from 8 to 15 minutes to finish. This isn’t because I just blindly ran through, I played this game and enjoyed it like most shooters. It desperately needs area throughout each level where you must take your time, or have waves of enemies to defeat to halt your progress and drag out the level more. This can also be achieved by adding platforming elements to the game much like in the final level.
- The Weapons | Whilst the weapons are satisfying to shoot and kill the enemies with, I found that each level was far too generous with giving the weapons too early. Even on harder difficulties, you can get all the weapons within the first few minutes of the level making you almost impossible to defeat. A better change of pace, mixed with the level design I mentioned above would have helped make this a more enjoyable experience, as most of the time, players will switch to the more powerful weapons and just keep pushing forwards.
What we Disliked
- Length of the game | Taking into the account the last two points above, the length of the game is seriously impacted because of the level design. Playing on harder difficulties will most likely increase your play time since you will most likely die due to the increased enemy spawn rate, but the average player will finish the game in around 2 hours or just over. At time of writing the game doesn’t have a retail price listed on Steam, however anything north of 9.99 might be a bit too much in my opinion. After completing the game there are no additional modes, just different difficulties to slecet which increases the enemy rate and has different objectives to complete but the underlying game objective doesn’t change.
- Difficulty Modes | In regards to difficulty modes I would have liked to have seen the enemies deal more damage instead of just spawning more enemies to try and over power you. It’s a much better tactic this way as it will allow for slower, more methodical gameplay, ultimately increasing time played and allowing for more enjoyment. Unfortunately though it is still possible to treat this game like Doom and skill shot and run past most enemies to get to the end quicker.
How long to beat the story | 2.5 hours
How long to unlock all achievements | No achievements in the build I played
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.