Death’s Hangover
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 7

Help Death to take back the souls stolen by Bastard Dracula in this Breakout style game by Retro Army Limited. It features plenty of different levels, useful power-ups, and some big bosses. The game is easy to pick up and play, but finding all of the souls can be a challenge. The eighteen different endings, two-player mode, and level editor boost the replay value, though, and overall the game is a decent choice for fans of the genre.

Gameplay: Challenging and entertaining.

Graphics: The pixel art visuals look great.

Sound: Decent sound effects and music

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Death’s Hangover

Developer: Retro Army Limited | Publisher: paulstephendavis | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Action / Casual / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

One day, Death wakes up with a hangover and discovers that he has been robbed of souls by Bastard Dracula. Not willing to let something like this just slide, Death summons two souls and gives them new bodies with which to travel to Bastard Dracula’s castle and retrieve the stolen goods. Unfortunately for Death, the two souls, named Andy and Bob, are not that bright. However, with the threat of Death killing them all over again if they fail, Andy and Bob take on the perils of Bastard Dracula’s castle.

Death’s Hangover is the work of Retro Army Limited and features the same style of pixel art visuals and slightly questionable humor found in their other games. For this title, the gameplay is based on classic bat and ball games such as Arkanoid and Breakout. Except, in this case, the bat is actually a large mattress held by Andy and the ball is Bob encased in some type of spiky shell. Unlike most games in this genre, the goal is not to clear the screen of all the bricks. Instead, players must smash down the doors to exit each room of the castle. Occasionally there are rooms where the doors only open after a certain number of enemies are killed, while other rooms are home to the captive souls that must be freed. At the end of each area, there is also a large boss for Andy and Bob to defeat before they can continue with their quest.

Death’s Hangover features nearly 100 rooms to conquer, but not all of them can be completed in one sitting. Instead, the castle is split up into different areas, such as the catacombs, dungeon, sewers, monastery, furnace, arena, and church. Simply bashing down all the doors will take players through a specific route in the castle, but finding the hidden keys that are inside some of the breakable blocks will open up an alternate secret route. This provides the game with some replay value, especially as collecting all the souls without accidentally leaving a room can be tricky.

Players have a limited number of lives but can spend their collected souls on the “Cheat Death” wheel if they run out. The wheel allows players to continue in the room where they died and might even throw in a power-up depending on their luck.

However, if players run out of souls it’s back to the start of the area upon death. Don’t be too wasteful with those collected souls either as you need at least four of them to progress to the final area of the game. We do recommend failing in this at least once, though, as it prompts a showdown with death and an ending that sheds some more light on certain story elements. Speaking of endings, the game boasts eighteen different ones. Completing the game for the first time unlocks the “Story” mode, which adds some 2D sidescrolling sections between areas. Although short and linear these sections flesh out the story a bit, which makes it strange that it is not the default way to play the game the first time. A two-player mode as well as a built-in level editor adds some further replay value to the game.

Visually, Death’s Hangover looks decent and embraces its comedy/horror themes with squirting blood, burning villagers, and even poop monsters. The amount of different enemies in the game is actually quite impressive and wiping out bats, spiders, worms, and other critters keeps you on your toes. The different areas also have playing fields that influence your ball in different ways. For example, cobwebs can slow down the ball as it travels through them while the side walls in another area can break if hit enough, causing you to lose a life if the ball falls through. Bosses are big and impressive looking too. Some of the later levels and bosses also change the dynamic of the gameplay from Breakout to Pong as you try and get your ball past them instead of hitting them.

While Death’s Hangover has a lot of banter between the characters there is no voice acting in the game, so everything is conveyed via text boxes. The humor can be a little childish at times, but fans of Retro Army Limited should be used to this by now. The music and sound effects are not especially noticeable but do a good job of setting the mood of the game. Your paddle can be controlled with a mouse, keyboard, or controller and all the methods work fine. The ability to fine-tune the speed and sensitivity of your chosen input method is also welcome. Although you can only move your paddle left or right, you can also increase or decrease the speed of the ball by holding down the relevant button. This feels a little like cheating at times as there’s no limit to how often you can do so. Death’s Hangover has plenty of power-ups too, such as glue for making the ball stick to your mattress until launched, bombs for blowing up enemies, spikes for making your mattress deadly to the touch, and the obligatory multi-ball. The bomb power-up in particular is so deadly that it can blow up even bosses with ease, so it’s worth holding on to them if possible. The only issue we had with the controls is that the collision detection, especially for things like the lightning bolts shot by some bosses can feel a little off.

Overall, Death’s Hangover is a charming and playable Breakout game that can easily kill an hour or two on a slow afternoon. It has a lot of levels and endings, so it is also a game that you might return to now and then. It’s not quite addictive enough to keep you hooked for hours on end and the humor won’t be to everyone’s liking, but it’s fun to play.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or above
  • Processor: 2.0GHZ
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 64mb graphics card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 218 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Minimum resolution required is 1280×720
  • OS: Windows Vista or above
  • Processor: 2.0GHZ Duo core
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 64mb graphics card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 218 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Minimum resolution required is 1280×720

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