Sometimes you just want to shoot a bunch of random enemies for as long as you possibly can. Nothing too crafty or complicated. Just give me a pistol and pure bullets-to-brains action and I’ll be fine, especially if there are enough enemies to go around. Still Not Dead delivers all of that and then some. This open world, first-person survival shooter was released about a year ago and is gradually turning heads worldwide. With lone-wolf developer and Glove Games Director Greg Sergeant at the helm constantly tweaking and updating the game, Still Not Dead is showing no signs of stopping. And frankly, that’s the point.
Still Not Dead is all about panic, fear, and repetition. Reminiscent of classic gut-busting run and gun shooters from the 90s, Still Not Dead dark and brooding art style mixed with Minecraft-esque pixelation blends quite well. By design, the game oozes bloody chaos and insanity, with its various zombies and hell skulls that shoot flames from their mouths all the way down to its premise: kill a certain amount of enemies, don’t die, don’t run out of bullets and run like hell when Death shows his face.
You start off with only a pistol, a knife and a few blue remixer crystals on hand. After reaching a certain kill count, an exit portal on the map opens up. Several of these portals open across each map, and you'll also find helpful items and artillery to aid you. Finding an escape is all part of the challenge.
Better weapons and items are up for grabs in exchange for remixer crystals. If you find a sawed-off shotgun in the field, you can throw the alchemy crystal onto it and turn it into a flamethrower, an Uzi, or a chainsaw. All randomly generated, but the world is your oyster. It’s important to note that you can’t just pick up any random old weapon willy nilly. Weapons and ammo require currency, which can be collected by simply finding gold scattered across the stage or by picking up gold dropped by enemies you kill.
This entire item and weapon system is well executed because it pushes players to explore the stage to find items necessary to survive. A lot of times I found myself prioritizing my search for currency to purchase ammo since it can be pretty easy to run out of bullets. You can search for other weird and crazy items and spend your money on those, but if you aren’t careful in conserving your spending and ammo, you could end up barely passing one stage and entering another with very little ammo to go on. So conservation is key.
As you progress through six randomly generated stages, you’ll have to alternate between choosing blessings and curses, which serve as buffs and debuffs for your character. These blessings and curses stack on top of one another after each level. If you don’t feel up to choosing any of the three choices, you can always take a chance and re-roll for better choices in exchange for your HP or opt to take a little extra money and have the game choose your blessing or curse for you.
Blessings are true to their name, but some can be straight up goofy and bizarre. One has you jumping higher than normal while others let you hurl grenades toward enemies while you jump. Some allow you to see exactly what type of weapons and items are scattered on the world map while another blessing can make explosions heal your HP rather than deplete it.
You can strategically use these blessings to your advantage if you’ve played the game long enough to know how you’d like to play. In one of my gaming sessions, I had the chance to choose Frog Feet, Gunner Runner, and Rapid Shells together. This meant that I had higher jumps and fast bullets that allow for a quick stamina refresh. All this gave me a significant advantage in mobility. I was able to sprint around the field with not much worry and meet my required kill quote faster than normal.
But then there are curses, which can easily negate some of your already stacked blessings depending on what they are. Once the player completes a level, they’ll have to pick their poison from a choice of three curses. The “Fog” curse, as you would expect, makes it a little tougher to see your enemies from long range. “Drag Shells” slows down the speed of your bullets. “Target Practice” throws away your crosshair. The list continues on. As you would expect, my next three stages made breezing through the stage a bit challenging. My rounds weren’t shooting off as fast and I frantically wasted a lot of bullets.
Still Not Dead’s spacious environment also plays a huge role in your survival tactics. Weapons dot the giant open green field, scattered amongst the tall destructible buildings. While it may seem fun to start tearing things down with the weapons you have, these buildings also provide good cover. I personally found that rocket launchers and grenades have worked well in being able to destroy any walls that lie ahead, especially in situations where I need to get out of harm's way in a pinch.
These maps don’t necessarily outline each building's layout, so you won't always know where entry and exit pathways lie. Case and point: I’ve died many times simply by backing myself against an unseen wall. Although your map can tell you that there’s an exit portal straight ahead, it won’t tell you that it's blocked off. These dilemmas are part of what makes this game challenging and panic-inducing, so if you’re not careful, you can really find yourself trapped.
On the flipside, these stages also come with little passageways separated by bushes as well as grey and blue blocks that sit not too high off the ground. These areas are advantageous to players since they can easily jump over these blocks and inside these areas. Your enemies can’t jump or go through walls at all and knowing this makes it super easy useful to outrun them when you need a quick breather.
I found myself laughing out loud whenever I make an effort to create separation this way. Watching all your foes stare at you for a moment as they collectively start finding an alternate route toward you gets me every time. It’s a real treat to see it in action and it definitely highlights some of the game’s hilarious absurdity. Players can utilize some of these advantages and hindrances as they press forward, but they will have a clean slate of curses and blessings once they complete all six stages and challenge for another “Run”--or die trying.
You will be seeing the game over screen quite a lot, Especially with the high volume of enemies sprinting at you at any given time with fire, beams, and bullets. There's even a zombie that charges at you with a combustible gas tank on its shoulder. Each level has you combating against zombies and purple four-legged creatures that shoot green, spherical beams and purple hooded magicians that can trap you inside a wall for several seconds if they land a hit on you….I could go on about these creatures, that’s not even half of them.
Still Not Dead’s mission is to invoke fear and panic on the player as much as possible. There is a bevy of baddies bum rushing you at every turn. If players haven’t killed enough enemies by the time Death appears on the map, things can get overwhelming pretty quickly. Still Not Dead not only accomplishes its mission, it amazingly goes beyond the call of duty and keeps players coming back for more.
Replayability is ever present. Each time I think I have a chance to grab more items and weapons after completing my kill count, I quickly regret my overzealous decisions as I get caught in a corner and die. The 5th level is always the hardest. When I opt to take the money as opposed to choosing a blessing or curse, I get one anyway. One curse in particular that I truly despise is where Still Not Dead randomly generates my inventory for every stage going forward. I can luck out and get a flamethrower or rifle, or get a dud like a leaf blower, a weapon that simply pushes enemies further from you but doesn’t damage them, leaving me to frantically sprint across the map to find ANY gun that I can find.Weapons in Still Not Dead range from the typical everyday FPS guns to unconventional items like a black hole, which sucks enemies into a particular area to create space and create an opportunity for a collective kill. You’ll even find some helpful offensive items like landmines or an airstrike button that rains down missiles. I found myself sticking to only a few weapons and leaving some others alone. Especially if I have the blessing that allows me to track down specific guns. As I put more hours into Still Not Dead, I found myself ignoring some of these weapons and items, largely due to them not being incredibly helpful.
“Loud Shopper” is also a damning curse that got me into quite a few pickles. It alerts enemies of your location each time you buy an item from the field. Imagine finding a chainsaw or a health pack, only to find a horde of zombies and fire-breathing skull heads right behind you. However, each and every time I hit a game over screen, I immediately hit “play again,” hoping that my next run is better than the last. Hoping that I come across better weapons and items that help me further past level four or five. This ever-growing need to improve on your previous run grows exponentially, making Still Not Dead is as addicting as they come.
Still Not Dead is a wonderful way to spend your downtime, especially if you’re looking for a title that you can mindlessly play without thinking too much. With a handful of ghouls, skulls, and zombies to challenge you and an eclectic selection of weapons to suit your playstyle, Glove Game’s developer Greg Sergeant shows players what hell would look like in video game pixelated world. With the huge amount of content on offer, old school fans will find a lot to like here.
TechRaptor reviewed Still Not Dead on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer.
A love letter to classic gut-busting run and gun shooters from the 90s, Still Not Dead's has that spark that keeps you coming back for more.
- Addicting Run and Gun Action
- Creative Enemy Designs
- Blessings & Curse Mechanics
- Destructible Environments
- Forgettable Background Music
- Laughably Useless Weapons