The Useful Dead (2013)
A Bad Movie Studios Game Review
So as I was perusing the Xbox Live Arcade looking for something to play, I came across The Useful Dead. It looked fairly interesting so I gave it a shot. And I’m glad I did. Now, if you’re familiar with my channel, then you’ll know that I pretty much focus my stuff on movies, and to be more specific, Horror Movies. Well, as a part of Convention Crusher Month, it’s just an excuse to do something different. So after playing this game last night, I thought, what the hell, I’ll write something about it. It wont be long, but I’ll give some insight none the less.
This game is a puzzle platformer, in the same vain as a game like Super Meat Boy (2010). If I’m gonna review this game, let me start right off the bat and say that as a platformer, it’s good. It functions well and the control is pretty smooth. And as far as the puzzles go, they’re pretty good too. It has a decent learning curve, staying familiar but becoming more difficult as you go along, without feeling unfair. Basically, you control these mini animal characters, and you must strategically commit suicide with the different characters, as to make sure that your next character can make it to the finish zone. Now, as I said, the puzzle’s are good, feeling challenging but not too bad. What helps add another level of difficulty to each level, is that you only have a limited number of animals that you can kill, so you have to try to use as few as possible as to not make your creatures “go extinct”.
The Useful Dead doesn’t reward your mindless creature killing though, and instead has more of a focus on using your mind rather than just forcing the demise of 15 animals and making a staircase of dead bodies so you can reach the end. But the cool part about this dynamic is that it doesn’t hinder you from doing that if you want to. You CAN make a staircase of dead bodies if you want, it’s just going to make the game more difficult later on. An interesting risk versus reward system. And after you play through a level a few times (you can restart them individually at any time, much like Angry Birds from 2009) you’ll get a better feel for them and do better, breezing through the earlier stages that were more difficult the first time around.
The graphics on this game are appealing, with the visuals being colorful and stylish. It’s just plain nice to look at and sort of reminds me of Happy Tree Friends with its style and all the blood. The sounds effects and music are decent too, but really it’s not like that’s something you’re going to be paying that much attention to anyway. And the gameplay is really addictive and even after getting my ass kicked the first way through, I gleefully started the game over again. Overall, its definitely worth checking out. It’s different and very fun. And the best part is, its only $1. Once I found out how much it was, I bought it on the spot. You never see games this good for $1, and as far as the Xbox Live Indie Titles go, this is by far the best I’ve played. So do yourself a favor and pick this up, it’s well worth it. That’s why I give The Useful Dead a 4 out of 5.
Pros – Good looking, good platforming, fun puzzles, adorable violence.
Cons – Having a kill limit is a bit annoying and some of the puzzles can be a bit repetitive.