On the outside, Dead or School looks like a typical Japanese anime platformer (or Metroidvania game if you’re down with the kids) with the usual schoolgirl titillation thrown in if that floats your boat and you’d be right it is. There is nothing really new or innovating about Dead or School but it looks great.
Dead or School takes place in Tokyo where some human of the populace have been infected with an unknown virus turning them into violent mutants. The remaining humans waged a 3-year war against the mutants who in the end won and drove the human race underground into the Tokyo subway systems where they lived a harsh existence to survive.
78 years later, Hisako, the daughter of the leader of one of the human colonies, learns about “school” from her grandmother, a place on the surface that was a happy place under the blue sky that you could make friends and learn. After hearing stories of school life and given a school uniform from her grandmother, Hisako decides that she has had enough with her underground life and wants to leave for the surface and the fabled school.
Train to nowhere
I found the game-play very slow and chunky in parts as I milled around each underground station looking for survivors to join my “team” and for loot to upgrade my weapons. You start off the game with 3 weapons, a melee for up close and personal attacks, a machine gun for long-range and a rocket launcher to get rid of the hordes or to heavy attack a boss. Where these came from is anyone’s guess, maybe granny was packing more than just an old uniform. Each weapon can be, reinforced, modded and equip two attachments. This comes in handy down the line. There is also a shop that you can sell and buy weapons etc… in.
To go with your weapons you can dodge and double jump but you can’t spam these as your stamina goes down with each action but to get it full again you just need to crouch for a specific amount of time which is great until you are in the middle of a boss battle or have mutants all over you. If you do take damage you’ll be in Torn state (school girl uniform rips…..I know) where it slightly increases your offence and defence in the hopes you can get yourself out of trouble. Luckily when you reach a save point your health recovers and so does your ammo. There is also a skill tree that you can unlock new combos and upgrades for your weapons, I’d suggest the melee upgrades first as there are loads of low-level mutants to wad through and you might as well do it in style.
Schools out for..eva
Dead or School is a game that you will play for a while and probably find something better. Its levels are nicely done and each different from the last and you will find yourself exploring to rescue humans or just looking for loot. The game is well balanced if you are willing to do a little bit of grinding to keep yourself just ahead of the curve. The story is told through manga-style cut scenes which is a nice touch and very well executed but the story-line itself leaves a lot to be desired as I found myself not really caring about Hisako or the other characters you bump into along the way.
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