At Sundown: Shots in the Dark is a unique stealth-driven arena combat game developed by Mild Beast Games and published by Versus Evil. The BAFTA winning (One to Watch 2016) top-down shooter, which brings a unique stealth twist to the genre, has finally been given a console release, including the Nintendo Switch, on January 22nd after a previous 90-day release for PC. This full console release adds a full range of weapons, maps and new game modes into the mix paired with its unique neon style.
First of all, I would like to mention At Sundown’s soundtrack. It does not fit in with the gameplay at all, choosing to have calm music over the hectic gameplay, but it weirdly works in a way that is incomparable and absolutely blows my mind. A simple concept of hiding from opponents by avoiding light, tracking your enemies, killing them and then hiding again doesn’t sound overly exciting or even anything completely original; however, it has been put together so well with a mix of other mechanics and elements that it makes the experience far from simple. This repeated chain of events is what keeps At Sundown exciting. A feature I personally found useful is the training mode. Training gives you a breakdown of key concepts of the game; for example, movement and weapon use, and then afterwards it gives you a ranking of either bronze, silver or gold. You are also awarded experience that goes towards unlockables in the game. Due to the fact that I was terrible at the game when I first started it up, training mode helped out a lot, and I almost immediately started to play better. Because of the lack of character model visibility, the graphics don’t shine in the characters but instead in the maps. They are beautiful and fortunately follow the trend of smaller games having great, unique art styles.
Multiplayer is undoubtedly the most fun part of At Sundown, not just online but locally as well. Online multiplayer has a great balance of challenge and variety. Of course, local multiplayer is enjoyable due to the fact that playing with a mate makes the At Sundown experience better due to increased action on-screen creating some frantic moments. The addition of At Sundown to the Nintendo Switch roster is a great pairing, and local multiplayer is perfect for Nintendo Switch’s pick up and play style. If you have no friends, first of all, join the club (everybody say ‘awww!’), and second of all, don’t worry, At Sundown offers the option to add bots into your match.
At Sundown certainly has its downfalls. Firstly, after extended playtime, the game does have the capacity to become monotonous. I believe that this is due to the lack of different game modes. Most game modes are some variation of deathmatch, and that can get boring after a while. Also, I am not particularly fond of the decision to lock weapons and arenas behind level progression. Because of the lack of a campaign, I found myself having to replay matches and training levels over and over just to progress. These faults did not massively affect my experience of an otherwise unique and intriguing game.
At Sundown is not what springs to mind when someone mentions multiplayer shooters, but it is definitely not a game that should be left in the dark (pardon the pun). The unique concept and art style paired with the 18 arenas, range of weapons, online and local multiplayer and overall enjoyment make for a greatly enjoyable experience. The game has a few faults, for example, lack of a campaign that slightly tarnishes the overall experience. Personally, I believe that the Nintendo Switch port of this game is superior due to the reliance on multiplayer, local or otherwise, as the most fun and time-consuming part of the game.
Developer: Mild Beast Games
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 22nd January 2019