When a school girl uniform is considered ‘armor’… Dead Or School has an interesting look that will attract many. What lies beneath will be a bit hit or miss though. As a post-apocalyptic platformer, this indie title throws creatures at a heroine just looking to experience the paradise called school. The story, based on the manga Machine Doll Nanami-Chan, is a pretty standard anime styled offering that has a bit of eroticism woven in the dialogue and artwork. Blushing moments aside, the action is varied and stylized enough for a pretty decent indie hack-n-slash offering.
Seamlessly weaving attacks between a melee weapon, a gun, and an explosive attack really gives Dead or School a wow factor. As you platform about, double jumping and dodge rolling provide your standard way of getting around, but the attacks are beautifully linked to almost every movement. Gaining new moves and gear is a pretty big draw as a result. As you defeat your foes, loot will rain down like glitter. This makes for a bit of repetition as there will be times when bosses are a bit too powerful, requiring a bit of grinding against smaller foes.
The one thing about the action that takes some getting use to is the stamina dynamic. As you dodge, attack, and shoot, your red stamina bar depletes. Once it is gone, you can no longer attack and must run away until a portion of it recovers. Thankfully, you don’t take damage when you run into enemies’ space. You only take damage when they are attacking. For most platformer experts, this will take a bit of time to grasp particularly in boss battles.
You must play and replay areas with relatively bland enemies that are categorized with levels as well. These mutants are zombified and mutated humans and animals all with relatively slow attacks. The danger level typically only ramps up when there are a decent number of them 3D pseudo-jumping onto the screen. While there is some difficulty in the boss fights, that is mostly because of their significant health more than anything.
Where Dead or School seems to lack is in the platformer arena. While your heroine can double jump and dodge roll her way about the screen, the difficulty in reaching areas and secrets are not very difficult. The relatively easy to read map shows virtually everything you can reach and the game’s secrets are anything but. This may be welcome for some wanting to know all there is to see, but it does eliminate the desire to explore. Since the exploration is lackluster, the actual map/level designs themselves really leave a lot to be desired. The environment is a bit bland and feel a bit oversized with regards to the characters at times.
Thankfully, none of these nitpicks detract from the game’s main strength, the combat. The uniform wearing heroine will slash, shoot, and blast her way through hordes and bosses with little difficulty in Dead or School. The action and combos will tally up quickly as RPG elements add skills to each weapon type. Toss in loot that can be attached and used to upgrade the weapons as well and you have a pretty fun zombie slayer. That is if you can stand the constant text filled cutscenes interrupting the action.
While Dead or School isn’t one of the best platformers on the market, it is a nice indie gem to add to the collection. Anime lovers will enjoy the flashy action while platformer aficionados will appreciate the deep customization and RPG elements. Just be sure you can appreciate the paradise called school and the armor we all call school uniforms!
Dead Or School Review
Dead Or School
While light on the platforming, Dead Or School is an indie gem that leans on hack n slash combat and loot to pull you in and keep you.