By: Ted Chow
With the stance Sony has taken towards indie developers it’s no wonder that an influx of titles would appear on the PlayStation Network. Deathmatch Village is one such game with Freeky Games, a new indie contender, at the helm of its development. However, with any large inclusion of indie games, there are always bound to be those that deliver lackluster results. Does Deathmatch Village live up to its claim of bringing a breath of fresh air to the MOBA genre or does it just fade into obscurity?
Deathmatch Village comes with the most basic of controls indicative of any side-scroller on the PS3 and Vita. There is really no option to remap any of the standard shoot, jump or melee buttons, nor is there any reason to do so. Everything will quickly feel second nature, and the tutorial does a good job in explaining the basic commands.
My only complaint would be how floaty your character’s movement is, but that is minor compared to the other glaring game design issues.
While the game is tailored toward a wider audience — as evidenced by the 10-plus ESRB rating — you can’t help but feel that the graphics are a tad too simplistic. There is no option to change anything and what you see is what you get essentially. It feels like you’re playing a web browser game with Flash-like art and animations found on a site such as Newgrounds.
Still, personal preferences aside, the accompanying light-hearted country music does complement well with the overall thematic art style the game hopes to accomplish.
Fresh out of the tutorial you’re brought to your game hub where you conduct all of your upgrades, customization and future purchases. And I stress the word “purchase” as the game really hampers your play time through pay walls and timed upgrades. You can use the real cash equivalence of oil to speed up your upgrades and to quickly convert the pigs you acquire after completing matches to in-game currency.
And there lies the problem; you have to wait to receive your in-game currency. Yes, there is an option to receive a fraction of your maximum currency within 10 seconds, or you can be more efficient with your pigs at the expense of waiting close to an hour. Additional queue times can be purchased with oil, to expedite all the processes, but that is just bad practice and gives an unfair advantage to those that shell out real cash.
I personally wouldn’t mind waiting for my upgrades to finish if the matches were reasonably fair. Except in this case, matchmaking is pretty much non-existent and having to play against over-powered opponents that kill you in one hit over and over again can frustrate any new player. Two noticeable outcomes occur: either, a) matches spiral out of control and definitive winners make players dread re-spawning, or b) you run around in circles for what seems like forever to find an opponent.
With limited game modes (literally two modes that pretty much play out as death matches) and excruciating long match timers that create an artificial grind wall to climb, no amount of maps with interesting environmental interactions can help prevent matches from being stale and losing their novelty rather quickly.
Factor in additional diminishing carrying capacities for pigs if you don’t cash them, lack of interesting customization, basic leader boards, no achievements, no story mode, expensive character slots and no way to try out different characters without resetting back to level one… and you may start to question why you even downloaded the game in the first place.
While I am a proponent of indie game development and the shift towards self-publication and development freedom, the romanticizing and novelty associated with indie games must be distinguished from games with actual forethought and developer’s creed. Although Deathmatch Village has a handful of bright spots, they’re ultimately obstructed by the myriad of design flaws.