Freeware Garden: Deadbolt

Playing Deadbolt, the latest 2D arcade shooting thing by Risk of Rain developers Hopoo, allowed me – for the very first time in my life – to picture an indie version of the Grim Reaper breaking into a zombie infested mansion via its plumbing and emerging, armed and deadly, from the toilet. Now, I may not know art, but I know what I like: death by toilet. And stylized, hyper-violent action gaming.

Deadbolt casts you as the Grim Reaper and tasks you with bringing the undead back to the cold embrace of death. Obviously, a scythe doesn’t cut it anymore and you’ll have to use revolvers, shotguns and, occasionally, knives to fulfill your metaphysical duties in a game that plays like a side-scrolling version of Hotline Miami with bits of Gunpoint thrown in.

You’ll scavenge weapons, hide in shadows, sneak through¬†air ducts, find cover behind fridges or tables and tactically slaughter everyone you see. In the few stages on offer – Deadbolt is still in its alpha stage – you’ll run into a variety of zombies and vampires of different¬†skills and weaknesses, you’ll get to be driven around in a luxuriant vintage car and occasionally destroy drugs. You are apparently playing as the nice sort of Grim Reaper here.

Between the lovely, stealthy carnage you’ll get the chance to sit next to the fire and have it brief you on your next mission and provide you with interesting tidbits of story. It might even let you in on a little secret: ash, the drug you keep destroying, is made by harvesting the small amounts of fire found in brains after death.


  1. PlKupo says:

    This is really very good. For those of you wondering if it’s worth bothering, by all means download the game and see for yourself.

    Seeing the screenshots, I clicked the download link somewhat expecting it to be yet another poorly done 30 minute pixel-art game, but it’s actually extremely entertaining, lengthy and diverse. Plus the art is great (especially the lights and shadows) and the writing has some humor in it.

  2. Doc Revelator says:

    Well heavens to Betsy, this is actually superb. Could see this fleshed out a little for a full commercial release. If you have any love for Hotline Miami and/or Gunpoint, this is a must. It’s very stylish, well-designed and compulsive. So, so good. It’s free and about 4mb, so there’s little reason not to download it. Thanks for the recommendation, Konstantinos.

  3. Askis says:

    A nice start, but right now I find the big shotgun wielding enemies too infuriating to deal with, what enemies react to gunfire or knocking is sometimes a bit strange, enemies don’t react to bodies at all and for some reason you can pick up the shotguns from the big guys, but not the guns from the other enemies.

    And why is there no proper stealth kill?
    The only quick and quiet way to dispatch a zombie seems to be throwing a knife, but knives are rare and the big guys even survive a knife to the head.

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      Serrit says:

      Yeah I struggled with the shotty guys at first – keeping them at a bit of a distance by firing a shot, backing off a bit, firing a shot, etc, seemed to work. Bit tricky on the mission with 3 of them coming at you, but fortunately you can grab a Tommy gun just before that.
      I liked it, though found it pretty hard (took me about an hour to work through the 4-5 levels that are there – it’s quite punishing on errors!).

  4. BooleanBob says:

    Where Gunpoint had face-punching way past the point of pathology, Deadbolt has is a door-knocking simulator for the ages. I thought it was jolly good fun.

  5. Tec says:

    This is genuinely excellent, I’d be very interested in a full release.

  6. phailhaus says:

    Fantastic work. I think a huge part of why this game is so fun is the excellent work put into sound design. Light switches feel heavy and substantive, gun shots are sharp and staccato, it’s all very satisfying.

  7. Maltose says:

    A few tips:

    1) In order to use a ranged weapon (throw knife or shoot), you have to hold the right mouse button, aim, then left click. You don’t hit both at the same time.

    2) If you are in cover and the is in between you and your enemy, then you are invulnerable to bullets. If the cover is not between you and your enemy (i.e. your enemy is behind you), then the cover is useless. Aiming while in cover makes you vulnerable, so make sure that the enemy is reloading before you pop out. I imagine that cover is also useless against melee enemies, but I’m not sure.

    3) Turn out the lights whenever possible. Enemies will take longer to aim at you and you might even be able to sneak up to them from the front (within reason).

    If you’re having trouble with the fourth mission, here’s my strategy (spoilers obvs):

    1) Clear the basement first. You can go down to the basement while the ground floor guards have their backs turned. Shooting your gun will aggro the floor above and below you, so make sure you have some cover nearby and that there isn’t anyone who can flank you.

    2) You can either draw the guards out floor by floor, or rush to the third floor and kill everyone there. Just make sure you have enough ammo on you if you choose the 2nd option (you’ll need about full tommy gun ammo and half a clip of the 9mm, if you’re not terribly lucky with headshots).

    3) If you wait long enough after aggroing the boss, he will come out of his office.

    4) The boss drops the powerful 10mm which has bullets that can penetrate and hit multiple enemies. However, it does not seem to one shot the gun and melee guards with a headshot.

    5) after the reinforcements spawn, quickly clear one side (melee from the right, guns from the left) before dealing with the other side.