Save Mars With A Friend: Deadstone Demo

I’m not sure what it means that fighting zombies on Mars doesn’t even raise an eyebrow from me any more. It’s par for the course. Normal. The very base level of ridiculousness I expect from a game. Deadstone is about defending the approach to a colony that is under attack by “infected” either solo or with a partner in a top down blaster/survival deal. Made by one-man-studio Daithi McHugh, it’s up on Greenlight and has a demo available. I’ve had a play and you can consume my impressions and a trailer once you’ve beaten through the hastily erected barricade.

For me, the most interesting thing about the demo was the voice acting, presumably all done by the developer done by Canadian Anthony Ingruber. It was remarkably professional and the thick but understandable Irish accent gave the main character, Blake, a much needed shot of personality. The writing itself is high quality cliché – good, but centered on gruff characters speaking serious lines about their situation. They’re well characterised and act as individuals with different traits, just a little generically. In a clever move I’d love to see replicated elsewhere, there’s a second version of the storyline that’s more irreverent that can be selected upon starting. You can also just shut the plot off all together, if that’s more your bag.

In play it’s a very slow build, my short time with the demo not reaching the action-packed scenes shown in the trailers or screenshots. It will likely improve significantly with the addition of another player, though most of the levels seem to take place on the same, featureless map. I was on the normal difficulty and enemies were a little bullet spongey too, though I do have a personal preference towards swarms of enemies in top-down games. Missions have a set up period where you can deploy defenses such as mines and turrets, while there’s a variety of weapons and special items to use while defending. It’s all done through credits paid out by the surviving colonists, though exactly why the guy running the shop selling you guns isn’t just opening his stores so he gets to live isn’t touched upon.

There’s a few more trailers, including a story one with an example of the voice acting I spoke about above, over on the YouTube channel. The game’s out on July 10th and can be got through the official website once it’s out.

11 Comments

  1. Metalfish says:

    So McHugh MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 …?

  2. The Army of None says:

    Reminds me of the old indiegame Notrium, from the visuals at least.

    • Zankmam says:

      Don’t diss Notrium like that, man. This game is *really* bad looking.

      • Timeslip says:

        Sorry to hear the visuals don’t grab you, Zankman. For my part, I really appreciate the work the artists who helped bring Deadstone to life did and feel they did a really good job, given the constraints of working with limited resources. I hope this won’t put you off trying the demo, as despite simple appearances, a lot of effort went into making Deadstone.

  3. Nimdok says:

    It’s always a little amusing that people don’t think about the implications of the whole “take my guns, I want to live” thing. Sure, if you die it doesn’t matter, but if you survive you’ve just given away most, if not all, of your paid-for stock which, based on the prices shown, cannot be cheap to acquire. A discount to your potential saviors, sure, but giving things away just fucks you over in the long-run if you live.

    • Timeslip says:

      Developer here. Why charge the guy who’s keeping you alive for guns? It’s a fair point : ) Part of the purpose of the alternate story Ben mentioned was to poke fun at these logical inconsistencies. This one is mentioned later on!

    • Niko says:

      Plus, the trader has much more guns than anybody else around, so he might feel pretty safe about his survival, so why not make some money while you are at it.

  4. Syra says:

    >local only coop

    sigh.

    • Timeslip says:

      Hi Syra, just thought I’d drop in to talk a little about the co-op thing. I also enjoy playing co-op with my mates, and I’d really like others to be able to enjoy Deadstone’s campaign with online buddies. The thing is, adding multiplayer is complex, and as a solo, first time, developer MP is likely more scope than I can handle. Even adding local co-op took 2 solid months of work.

      Don’t completely rule it out, though. After release, I hope to improve the SP and the local coop game based on player feedback. After that, I’d be willing to spend a few weeks working on MP, to figure out if it’s possible to add without rewriting a significant amount of code. I can’t guarantee success, but I am willing to try.

  5. Timeslip says:

    Just thought I’d mention that I didn’t do the voice acting for Blake. Oddly enough it was a Canadian actor, Anthony Ingruber, who did the voice for Blake. He did a really good job with a tricky accent!