By Khloe Wilkerson
Try…Not…To…DIE! Outer Terror, a horror-oriented roguelike game produced by Salt Pixel and released by VoxPop Games, will put you to the ultimate test. The game has everything creepy, from an oozing eyeball to scarlet blood marks on the car’s window. Here, you must survive being immersed in five stories inspired by comic books that will send shivers down your spine in a wonderfully independent bundle wrapped in a thick covering of retro filth. Sprite-based suckers will come chasing for your precious blood in droves, so you’ll have to start running and find out how to get out of this trap.
Outer Terror stands apart architecturally because of its five chapters, all of which are available from the start. Each one begins with a brief sequence of pictures and music that introduces a charming cast of characters as well as a pulpy, yet captivating, story.
The fundamental goal of Outer Terror is to survive swarms of pixelated monsters by whatever means imaginable. Ten separate survivors provide a diverse set of starting talents and items, ranging from straight weaponry to mystical and supernatural treasures. Throughout the survivor’s adventure, they will be able to develop their character, via collecting the dead bodies strewn across the landscape or by leveling up their character. Because opponents increase in number and power as the countdown increases, you’ll need all the support you can get. As a result, you can opt to complete the assignment with a friend through split-screen co-op.
Each level is exciting and distinct in its own right, whether you’re juggling a starvation mechanism in a chilly tundra one minute or trying to find your way out of a maze the next. Seeing the evil crowds emerge from the fog as your last minutes tick away (and you are only half-convinced you are on the right track to your destination) causes your heart to race with adrenaline.
The game does not shy away from the insane and unique artwork, as each scenario digs deeper into fun horror tropes. Weird creatures, typical zombies, and even aliens are all on the table, each with their own set of graphic dangers to follow you. The chapters always start with original comic art that explains how the characters got into the scenario they’ve been trapped by – before diving right into the action. While playing, the same comic art is employed to great effect to introduce goals and characters unique to each level, replacing tutorials and completely nailing Salt & Pixel’s extremely distinct appearance.
All the while, you’re provided with arcade action that sports a B-movie flavor. The more you continue to play, the more the current threat escalates. More dastardly dangers arise, and more opponents appear on screen. So your experience is a difficult conflict between working for your current goal and being aware of your strength level. If you neglect these too long, you risk being overwhelmed— by a swarm of opponents who will await you, hoping your time is up.
Despite the fact that many of your attacks will auto-aim and auto-fire, you still have access to a range of power-ups and special abilities that you may utilize as required. It is actually up to you to determine how much mental work is necessary, especially with the inclusion of a precision mode.
When you level up, you’ll be offered the choice of three cards that provide either additional utility or firepower for your current run. I was first overwhelmed by the large variety, so I instantly used all the speed boosts and gimmick power ups with the aim of avoiding danger and running specific chores more quickly. I wish there would be more tutorials regarding assistance in what and how to use the powerups because it would have saved me an extra 20 minutes. There is plenty of room to experiment and create unique builds, but with just eight items accessible every run, players must make wise decisions.
Specifically, you gain experience by defeating enemies, which allows you to level up and pick new weapons to add to your collection. Because you can only carry a set amount of material, you must carefully pick your load out and decide which items are the most useful to win the scenario. You may use shotguns, machetes, flame throwers, and other weapons to defeat the monsters from another world.
Players will almost certainly make mistakes and die several times (especially if you are a beginner, like me). Each time they do, the game will force them to select a new chapter, character, and narrative introduction before returning them to the main menu to start over a million more times.
The music, gameplay, and comic book intros create the tone for each level, and the old graphic style complements the terror concept and the gruesome components.
While I know the style of the game is one without save points, I’d like some, please. A lot of energy and excitement are built up as you battle to fend off the creatures who are trying to suck your blood out around you, just for you to die and everything to be a disappointment. It would be beneficial to be able to pick up where you left off or to reach a checkpoint. At least, the game should offer a beginner’s option where you may have checkpoints and the game would walk you through each step while removing some aids as you go.
As you proceed through, you’ll see that certain things aren’t as apparent as others, and there’s a bit of a gap in terms of how to progress and move on in a specific level. It took some trial and error to find out how to proceed or even whether I was making any headway at all. Yes, the characters may appear here and there and share words on the screen describing what’s going on or provide a tiny amount of structure, but occasionally more information is required and could be beneficial in determining what to do next.
Outer Terror is not the sort of game that will hold your hand and guide you step by step. There is no going back once you accept, which is part of the thrill. This game is entertaining and imaginative, and the narrative and the natural world are absolutely original. If you enjoy horror or classic arcade games and are looking for a somewhat difficult, new challenge, I highly suggest Outer Terror.
Bronx native Khloe Wilkerson is our youngest intern. She recently won a college scholarship and completed our journalism and writing class at Mott Hall III twice in a row!