Twin Stick shooters are becoming more commonplace on the Nintendo eShop these days but At Sundown offers a new perspective on the genre; it turns the lights out.
As the name suggest, At Sundown: Shots in the Dark makes you stumble through dark rooms with the occasional dimly lit corridor or space to peek out of. While this means that you can’t see your character, neither can your enemies, and that’s where the element of strategy comes in to play. The only times your character shows up is if they step into the light, make a dash move or make a shot, the latter momentarily lighting up the screen with the shot while it rings out.
Flares also help to light an area up for a short time, showing any enemies or traps nearby, but you’ll need to use them sparingly. The main aim is to work out where your player is and where they are aiming so that you can hit the enemy and get a kill before you end up shot. It’s tense but surprisingly fast paced at the same time. The addition of close combat weapons like knives that don’t give your position away also helps to add to the strategic element of the game.
Weapons are well thought out with shotguns, SMGs and other long range weapons all having strengths and weaknesses while hand to hand combat is possible with knives and other weapons that don’t give your position away but are harder to get a kill with. All of these can be tried out in the faily comprehensive tutorial section that acts as the only real single player content of the game. In fact, a single player campaign would have been ideal to give this game more legs.
Multiplayer features only a few modes, the usual deathmatch and last man standing style choices that fit the game but aren’t as unique as the game’s premise. It would have been nice to have a few different styles including a slower, stealthier option added on.
The Switch version can host one player with bots or up to four human players. Unfortunately, you’ll need a whole set of Joycons or a Pro controller per player to do so. If this isn’t an issue then you’ll soon find that it’s much more fun playing with human players than bots, who seem to be able to get a beat on you pretty fast. As well as playing on a single screen in local multiplayer, you can also go online, though even now after release I found it difficult to find a game. Hopefully this will change as more people find out about At Sundown.
It’s a fun, unique game, then, but not without its faults. The Switch version has a slight issue with slowdown at inconvenient times, usually while a lot of effects are being shown on screen. It’s not a deal breaker, but does mean you’ll find that it will work against you occasionally. Respawning is also random and because this is a fast-paced game, it may mean you respawn right next to another player and get shot or stabbed pretty much straight away. Such is the nature of this frantic game, though, and it goes some way to giving it a unique feel to other, slower, stealth based titles.
At Sundown: Shots in the Dark isn’t perfect but it’s certainly unique and fun in local multiplayer. If you fancy something a little different with a mix of stealth and top-down twin stick shooter thrown together then you could do worse than picking this game up.