Deceivingly Difficult

8DAYS looks and plays like a simple top-down action adventure but do not be deceived by this twin stick shooter. The difficulty level is exceedingly high, cheap in many ways, that requires patience and near perfect play-throughs to complete. Rage quitters be warned.

Presented through BadLand Games and Santa Clara Games, 8DAYS is a mix of stealth and action. In fact, imagine playing the NES version of Metal Gear but with linear level progression and using a twin stick control scheme. Unlike Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, there are no puzzles to solves, pits to jump over, abilities to unlock, or tricky environmental hazards to traverse. This pixelated top-down shooter is little more than “get to Point A from Point B without dying along the way” gameplay. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, and the game is presented well, it is just that several little things can add up to a frustrating and demanding style of play.

Watch my Let’s Play of 8DAYS to see for yourself:

Twin stick combat is the basis for the entire experience. Unfortunately, the lack of a lock-on feature, limited ammo, and absolutely ruthless enemy AI create a tedious experience that made me say more four letter words every couple minutes. Once an enemy spots the player, the onslaught begins as the gun fire alerts other nearby enemies and bullets immediately fly. Stealth plays a huge part in the success of each stage and using hit-and-run melee attacks is the only way I was able to finish many stages. Mini-bosses and stage-ending bosses usually flood the screen with gunfire and essentially turns the game into a bullet-hell shooter. The player can take a few hits before dying but finding health packs is always rare. In summary, 8DAYS basically doesn’t want the player to win thanks to the unnecessarily high level of difficulty.

Even though there are plenty of frustrating experiences found in the gameplay, the overall presentation needs to be acknowledged. Even though the graphics are purposely designed with its unique pixel art, it isn’t without detail. Characters are animated well and move fluidly. Shooting a rocket launcher leaves behind a charred mess. There are even a handful of Easter eggs that prove the developers knew exactly what they were doing (I ran into a Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Easter egg during my stream). At the same time, the sound track is surprisingly well done. So much so that the sound track almost trumps the gameplay, as if the score should have been used in a more advanced game. During non-combat, a mysterious but cautious tune loops until the player encounters an enemy, in which the music track instantly switches to a panic mode. Once the threat has been quelled, the music reverts back to the somber state. Even the death screen is a little disturbing with its gross bleeding skull and screaming noise. But it all gives the game its personality that stands out.

Bosses are huge. This one is like fighting Super Metroid’s Mother Brain.

Yes, this game is super hard but that doesn’t mean I do not enjoy it. Reaching the next checkpoint is always a struggle but just makes the celebration sweeter. At one point, I must have played one segment well over a dozen times, inching my way further with each attempt. After tediously sneaking my way around a stage using nothing but stealth kills and caution use of ammo, I got one-hit killed by a kamikaze enemy that charged from off screen, essentially wasting the last 15 minutes of the campaign. It was this tipping point that I turned the console off, walked away, and came back a couple days later. Then, after just a few attempts, I was able to pass this trouble area and move onto the next. Point being, there is some entertainment here if you are willing to invest in perseverance.

SCORE: 7.2/10

Not As Good As: Metal Gear Solid (GBC)
It Is Sorta Like: the Dark Souls of twin stick shooting
Also Try: Rocket Riot, Commando, Ikari Warriors

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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