Deadly Edge is a Retro 2D side-scroller with Platformer elements and nostalgic charm. Released on July 28th, 2017, by Bison Kings Game Studio, Deadly Edge attempts to recapture bygone styles and themes in the modern gaming era. But does this 16-bit, Fantasy Adventure it live up to its ambitious agenda?
Deadly Edge launches with the standard Fantasy genre plot themes: mysterious bad guys, taverns, faraway places, and nefarious magic users. The Intro plays quickly, and although the dialog is offered in text format as well, I was surprised at how quickly the scenes flew by. There is essentially no tutorial to speak of, but the controls aren’t overly complicated. The problem is that the mechanics are sluggish and convoluted. You have to use two keys to sprint and can only jump in combat mode. Combat mode kicks in automatically when you encounter a foe — something that is jarring and hinders the flow of the game.
Although the combat system is supposedly sophisticated and dynamic, the mechanics make it cumbersome and tedious. Most battles consisted of me blocking occasionally and spamming attack; button mashing is never my preferred form of combat. Enemies took a crazy amount of stabbing, too, from the get-go; I counted 27 basic attacks to kill one single guard. The boss battles weren’t any better. I could crouch in the corner, block attacks, and then swipe in retaliation. To add insult to injury, I didn’t receive loot or anything else after battles – no coins, nothing for my conquest other than game progression. And since Deadly Edge’s Steam page indicates it was designed to promote multiple play-throughs to unlock all the secrets, I can’t imagine that the storyline eventually progresses to the point of being so gripping that the combat can be overlooked as irrelevant.
Interacting with objects, places, and NPCs is just as basic; hit the Use button and scroll through some text. There was essentially no inventory management, plus automatic checkpoints for saving — which is good, because I doubt either feature would work right, sadly.
Deadly Edge is plagued with glitches and bugs. In my first 30 minutes of play-testing, I encountered three game-breaking glitches. First, I climbed a ladder to reach a platform, then could not climb back down no matter what I tried, so I had to reload. Then, I died to an enemy while trying to learn the duck/roll combat moves, then respawned only to be unable to progress because my opponent stayed dead but registered as alive. Finally, I started looping back to the well repeatedly, and couldn’t seem to progress beyond a certain point.
The graphics are simple but charming in that Retro sort of way. The color scheme is often a big dingy or gloomy, but it fit with the storyline. Likewise, the soundtrack is reminiscent of the ’90s era of gaming, as are the sound effects. Deadly Edge reminds me of titles I played on the SEGA console, but it lacks the polish and finesse of even those classic games. In truth, Deadly Edge is wholly unplayable, and it should carry a much stronger recommendation to use Controller vs. Mouse/Keyboard. I prefer the latter, but trying to spam W or S while hitting space bar and control is tedious and annoying on that configuration.
If the developer can repair the glitches that prevent the game from being reliable, I’d give Deadly Edge another go. But as it stands, this title is simply too buggy to be an enjoyable experience, despite having a high nostalgic appeal. The lackluster graphics and audio, the simple controls, even the cliché storyline are all forgivable — even charming, for some players — but being unable to progress due to some minor hiccup in the system, and repeatedly at that, just isn’t acceptable. There are too many Retro titles out there with far more to offer a fan base, and Deadly Edge has a long way to go to compete.
Despite being a huge fan of Indie titles and Pixel graphics, this 16-bit title just doesn’t live up to its promises. Deadly Edge was developed by a two-man team, which makes me want to monitor its progress and give it another go at a later time. I’d love to see it recapture the charm of ‘90s titles, but as it stands, this title isn’t one I can recommend.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.