Dead Pixels is a 2D shooter survival horror game. Your main goal in the game is to make your way across a number of streets, shooting and smacking through zombies to survive. Dead zombies will drop cash. Along the way you'll find buildings to raid for useful items like guns, ammo, and valuables. There are also some traders stationed along the otherwise abandoned streets, looking for some good profit from the dire situation I suppose. You can buy all sort of items, weapons, ammo, and upgrades from traders, as well as sell some of your own things for cash. Basically, that's the entire game in a nutshell. Kill zombies, raid buildings, deal with traders, and try to make it to the end without dying. Pretty simple and fun.
There IS strategy involved, though. You see, you have a weight limit on what you can carry, and everything outside of ammo will weigh you down. If you go over that capacity, you will become over encumbered, which will result in your movement being reduced. And what's really neat about this is that, the more extra weight you carry, the slower you become. You can even get completely immobilized if you have too much. But you never are forced to strickly carry only what will fit in your capacity, which give you some freedom in what you value: items or your speed. Some items may not be too useful, such as valuables and weaker or duplicate guns, but they can be sold later. So do you hold on to your money makers, or try to just carry the essentials? Also, when at the traders, what skills do you want to upgrade? What will benefit you the most? Do you want to have more powerful shots to use less ammo, or maybe you should work on bargaining so other things will be cheaper in the long run. Should you sell your item here or bring it back to the trader a few streets back that was offering a good sum for it? Is backtracking worth risking possible ammo and health supplies to get more money? There are a lot of tough calls to make and replayability allows you to experiment with different strategies.
And let's not forget co op. In co op you have two people working together to survive, which can be helpful and harmful. You get twice the carrying capacity, twice the melee action, and you can do some distraction and splitting tactics with the clumps of zombies. However, you are forced to share all resources, as the shops only have limited amounts in stock. You also have to be careful not to trap another player on the edge of the screen from moving forward of backward. On the bright side, if one of you dies, the other can revive them at a trader... if they can make it there alone. Working together requires planning. You have to share resources. Who needs what more? What upgrades will compliment each other well? How will your playstyles affect each other's? Again, it's a lot to think about.
This game does SEEM like each playthrough would be a unique experence. However, I don't think that's quite the case. There ARE a good number of different things as far as guns, valuables, throwable weapons, and items go I suppose. And with the randomization of traders, prices, drops, buildings, guns, ammo... and well... almost everything that's important... the thing is... this randomization hardly changes the gameplay. You still shoot zombies, raid buildings, and visit traders the same way basically every time. The only difference is what they have to offer, what you randomly find, and the exact locations of places. That's about it. There's a case for it being different each time with how you choose to upgrade your character, but since each skill only has a few levels of upgrades, you can easily get close to if not actually max all of your stats in a single playthrough. This all makes the variety a little lacking.
Another complain I have is that, while there are a lot of different weapons, they all fit into categories based on their ammo type. This means that, at any given time, you'll probably only carry one gun of each type with you for the sake of convenience and weight management. It makes the game easier to navigate with less guns at a time, but really lacks in giving good variety. Although, there IS some variety in the extra couple of modes and different difficulty settings. So that's nice for slight change ups on essentially the same gameplay.
My smallest complaint is that this is one of those games that doesn't really commit to the retro style. Sure, the graphics and some of the sound effects are 8 bit, but the music, other sound effects, and some visual effects are much more modern. Not to mention the controls. The aesthetic is neat, but I guess it feels a little more like a reference to old games rather than reflecting the style. Maybe I'm looking too far into it.
I do like some of the music in the game. There's some decent humor in it too. A lot of people might complain about the co op only being local, but I can't blame the game for something it didn't do. The local co op is a blast and honestly, online co op would most likely be laggy and not as fun anyway. This game is a great sleepover game. You and a buddy can just play it over and over for a night and it's tons of simple fun. The controls are a bit awkward at first, not being very retro styled at all. After a bit a play you'll start to get the hand of it and realize how helpful they are. I was assuming there'd be one fire button and one button for grenades, and that they would be used in the direction I was facing. However, instead you use the left and right shoulder buttons to attack left and right. Sounds confusing at first, but it becomes very helpful. Sometmes you'll be running away from zombies but you'll still want to shoot them. Well you can't do both if you have to turn around to face them. This setup let's you more efficiently run and gun. Be careful though, as your melee attack only goes the way you are facing. Overall, I think the controls are pretty intuitive for this kind of game.
So, what's the verdict? Well, this game is a lot of simple, good fun. I'd say it's easily worth $5 on here. However, the asking price is only $3. That's a pretty sweet deal already. But if you're still not sure, wait for a sale. I got it on sale for $1 and look how much playtime I got out of it already? Plus, I've seen it go as low as 74 cents. It's definitely a great title to keep in mind when you have leftover Steam wallet funds from card sales or after you bought some other game you really wanted. It's a nice way to not let that extra cash go to waste just sitting there in your Steam wallet. I'd recommend this is you like simple shooters, 8 bit graphics, or zombie survival games. Dead Pixels is pretty cool.