Shot In The Dark – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer/Action
Developer: Possum House Games
Publisher: Possum House Games
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

Shot In The Dark – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Art Design, Fantastic Graphic and Sprite Design
Bad: Repetitive Gameplay, Difficulty Spikes, Lacking Story
User Score
5.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Shot In The Dark takes a unique turn on the 2D side-scrolling genre. Adopting a pixelated art style with an emphasis on lighting, the game is aesthetically pleasing. While it may seem simple given its appearance, the game is enjoyable, but also insanely difficult. Intrigued by the game’s art style we still dived into the experience, seeing how far we can wade through the dark.

Story

Aside from the pieces players put together themselves, there is little to no story here. The game takes place in a classic western setting with supernatural themes. Players take the role of a gun-toting bandit on a quest for revenge. On the journey, players will eventually encounter supernatural threats and horrors that push the story in a whole new direction.

The little story that is present in Shot In The Dark is not bad, but it is definitely the blandest part of the game. When traversing through areas where there should obviously be some type of context or dialogue, especially around the scarce numbers of NPCs, it fails to deliver. The game tries to deliver as much of the plot as possible through its gameplay.

Graphics

Shot in the Dark is at its core, a 2D pixelated side-scroller. In order to make itself unique from other games in the category, the title primarily focuses on lighting and shading. There are only three colors players will see in the game; red, white, and black. Surprisingly, these three color schemes fit with the game’s appearance as well as the gameplay, which will be discussed later. 

Overall the game is aesthetically beautiful, all while being simple and undemanding for gaming rigs. From the start of the title, players are welcomed to an all-white background while an ominous blood-red sun lingers in the distance. Without doing much, the game delivers a feeling of suspense and desolation just by its background.

The NPCs are somewhat bland and fade into the background pretty easily, which wasn’t a surprise considering there’s not much to the story anyway. Aside from the scarce number of NPCs, there are a good number of enemy types, ranging from undead corpses, wraiths, and bloodthirsty demons. The sprite animations for each of these enemies are amazingly fluid for the genre and are one of the main highlights of the title.

Sound

For the most part, Shot In The Dark is extremely simplistic in its sound design. Mostly when traversing through areas, the only thing players will hear is the sound of their own footsteps. There are certain songs that occasionally play, and this minimalistic approach fits the game pretty well. Shot in the Dark is chiptune at its core, but highly morbid and depressing at the same time, which complements the overall tone of the game perfectly.

Aside from music, the sound effects are fine, but not anything too surprising. Pretty much for the entirety of the game, players will only hear the sound of their own footsteps, jumping, reloading, and the faint sounds of enemies, with the latter being an important part of the base gameplay. Shooting and reloading are crisp enough for the ears, as well as the enemies players will encounter, with each sounding somewhat different from the other. 

Gameplay

Shot In The Dark is a surprisingly difficult 2D side-scroller, while also being described as the first-ever “Shadow Shooter”. Players use the WASD to move around and jump, while the mouse is used for aiming and shooting. As the basic control scheme seems simple overall, there are some important limitations to keep in mind. Players cannot move while shooting and reloading, meaning that it’s highly likely to be overwhelmed by enemies.

The main goal of the game is to traverse through each area, battling various enemies in the process. The gimmick here, however, is that since the game is overall pitch black, players will have to rely on sound heavily to traverse and defeat enemies. To make the title even more difficult, the main character dies in one hit, meaning that players will have to start over from the last checkpoint; which are not plentiful in quantity. 

The enemies are varied enough to add a challenge, especially being able to blend into the background. Enemies like bandits, corpses, and shadows can all be killed in one shot, while certain enemies like ghosts are unkillable, meaning players will just have to avoid them. Cultists and demons on the other hand are way more difficult. In order to defeat these enemies, players will have to avoid an invincible demon while searching for priests that are providing the demon with its life force. For the most part, the gameplay loop is enjoyable. There is a good balance of platforming and combat to keep the title fresh, and with the varied enemy designs and darkness mechanics, the gameplay never seems too stale.

Sadly, as enjoyable and fluid as the combat in certain parts may be, the game is a bit too difficult given the limited mobility and game design. Keep in mind that players still can’t move during shooting and reloading, and adding the darkness mechanic in the game makes it borderline rage-inducing, especially at the end-game levels. Near the end of the game, nearly every enemy and platform segment are blended into each area, making the game more difficult than it has to be, and also quite unfair given the limited movement. 

Conclusion

Shot In The Dark is an enjoyable game, to an extent. Aside from the lacking story, the graphics, sprite animation, and music do well enough to carry the title. The gameplay is enjoyable, and finding ways to overcome the onslaught of enemies despite the limited options given is always somewhat rewarding at the end. Nonetheless, given the overall difficulty and limited resources, the game is somewhat not accessible to everyone, which may be off-putting for those who are drawn in by the game’s concept and graphics.   

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Shot In The Dark - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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