Dead End City (XSX) Review

Dead End City is a vertical post-apocalyptic shooter that mixes the overall vibe of Mad Max with the enemy behaviors of Galaga/Galaxian but with some stage design of Gun.Smoke. It is a fun shooter, but the higher difficulty requires plenty of trial, error, and memorization.

The gimmick of gameplay comes from the fuel system. This is the post-apocalypse after all so resources are scarce, especially fuel so this meter is constantly draining. Defeating certain enemies will sometimes reward the player with fuel and ammo. If enough fuel is collected to overfill the tank, then overpower mode gets activated. This is where the player gains access to more powerful firepower and how scores can swell. It is an interesting risk/reward system that remains in balance throughout the campaign.

While the fuel/ammo gauge engages the player, skill needs to be developed over time. This isn’t a shooter that anyone can plow through as they get overpowered. To put things in perspective, it took me several attempts just to clear the second stage. This isn’t a knock on the game, but it needs to be mentioned that the difficulty factor might be a bit much for some. The stage variety is also pleasantly varied and cleared inspired by the classic shooters previously mentioned. Jumping from one type of stage to the next is entertaining, then capped with bullet hell boss battles. It is a creative mix.

Although the player starts with one default playable vehicles, additional content can be unlocked in time. However, the cost to unlock even a single upgrade is rather steep, requiring hours of grinding. So there is always a carrot dangled in front of the player but I fear most will give up before the high cost to unlock the next car is earned. Leaderboards are also a nice incentive for players dedicated enough to aim for a high score instead of merely just trying to survive.

It isn’t the best shooter ever made but it is one that is respected and appreciated. Merging classic shooter gameplay from the hits of the past into one cohesive shooter, designed around a desperate desert environment, makes it easy to recommend. Just remember the difficulty won’t be holding your hand.

SCORE: 7.5/10

Also Play: all the recent Cotton re-releases

Don’t Forget About: the Steel Empire port on Switch

Wait For It: the IREM Collection Vol. 2

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

Liked it? Take a second to support squallsnake on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
Back to top