Murder in the dark.

Title: At Sundown: Shots in the Dark
Platform: PS4 (reviewed), Switch, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Mild Beast Games
Publisher: Versus Evil
Price: £16/$20 (across all platforms)
Release Date:Out now
TL;DR: It’s your quintessential rainy day game
Family Focus? Click here for more information

At Sundown: Shots in the Dark ticks a lot of boxes that are all too often left unchecked by games these days. Easy gameplay? Check. Local multiplayer? Check. Addictive gameplay? Well, sort of. At Sundown is your quintessential rainy day game – there’s enough there to suck you and a handful of friends in for an afternoon, enough there to give way to some short lived rivalries and a few laughs, but At Sundown doesn’t offer enough to keep you coming back on a regular basis.

To be fair, it doesn’t feel as if At Sundown was created to be a game that drags you back day after day. Its premise is simple, with up to four players running around a small arena as you look to murder one another in a collection of top-down maps that have you duking it out across parks, factories, and ornate mansions.

There’s a welcome twist in the otherwise paint-by-numbers setup of At Sundown, that being how shadows work in the game. When your shooter runs into a shadowed area, they vanish from sight; it’s a little quirk of the game that manages to inject a little creativity into each match. It does take a few matches to get used to, and since the fights move fairly quickly, you’ll quickly lose track of your avatar when you dip into a shadow.

Luckily, the game has a couple of features to help you keep track of your mini-murderer, the first being able to show your position with a press of the X/A button which casts a little speech bubble over your player – helpful right? Well, yes it is, except it also means that everyone else you’re playing with can see where you are, quickly making the choice something of a gamble. It’s a necessary double-edged sword, allowing you the slightest space to ground your character while giving away your position to every other player, leaving you with only a few seconds to either begin fending off would-be attackers or else running to a new position.

It’s not the only way the game gives you some indication as to where you are though (thankfully!) The game very cleverly lets you know if, when hidden by shadows, you’re running into a wall with a simple rumble of the controller. It’s a nice touch, one that does enough to let you know you’re in a bit of bother without alerting everyone around you to your state of vulnerability. The shadow feature of the game is perhaps the only quirk that At Sundown affords its otherwise generic gameplay – fortunately, it’s one that – at least for a short period of time – gives way to enough frantic matches across a pretty decent group of clever maps that the simplicity of the game works in its favour.

What most assuredly doesn’t work in the game’s favour is the move to include a progression system. Every match you play or any training session you try your hand at earn you a handful of experience, with new levels unlocking guns and other weapons for you to try out. There’s nothing wrong with this system other than it really doesn’t suit that pick up and play vibe At Sundown has. Your level creeps up slowly in a bid to keep you playing, but to no real effect because, like I said, At Sundown doesn’t feel like a game that’s designed to keep you coming back every day. With it’s frantic gameplay and straighforward match styles with all play on the basis of you and your friends killing each other, At Sundown is a game that you’ll dip in and out of every so often, so a progression system that you’re required to work through to unlock new weapons feels altogether out of place.

It’s not a bid to get you to part with real money; the game doesn’t contain any microtransactions, it’s all done simply to try and keep you playing. In my opinion, it would’ve made more sense to just have everything unlocked from the off. As it is, the game doesn’t offer anything other than a short-lived novelty to keep you playing, meaning that there’s a good chance you’ll only ever use the handful of weapons given to you at the start of the game.

So yes, At Sundown is that quintessential rainy day game, offering enough to keep you and your friends busy with its chaos-inducing gameplay that’ll have you dipping in and out of shadows before offing you, pal. Beyond that? At Sundown doesn’t really do anything that’ll have you coming back again and again which makes some decisions, namely the progression system, feel a little like the game crowbarring in a reason to keep you playing. It’s a fun game and it has enough about it to warrant your attention if you’re stuck in the house, but beyond the handful of hours you’ll play at first, At Sundown feels like something you’ll lay your eyes on one random day, covered in a thin layer of digital dust, while you look for something else to play.

The Good:

  • The hide and seek style gameplay that the shadow feature creates does offer a nice change of pace
  • A really nice selection of maps that deserve your attention
  • A perfect pick up and play styled game

The Bad:

  • The progression system feels needlessly tacked on

Family Focus

Pegi: 12 ESRB: “T” for Teen

You run around and shoot other people in the game, but if you already let your kids play Call of Duty or GTA, then At Sundown will feel like a tame family game for your kids to try out.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the game provided by PR for the purpose of this review.