8Days is a new retro style dual stick shooter from developer Santa Clara Games. Up to two players control one of two selectable characters, and shoot and stab their way through various enemies. Reminiscent of games like Ikari Warriors (NES) and Metal Gear (NES), 8Days incorporates some interesting gameplay dynamics and one hell of a challenge.
8Days is set in the middle of what can only be described as a horrible 1980’s action movie plot. Players wake up after a helicopter crash while being interrogated and tortured. After some ultra violent 8-bit action, Lola and Mike, two mercenaries from G.O.D. Inc., are tasked with stopping a rice embargo set upon the world by The Masters of Mankind.
8Days plays like a typical dual shooter, moving with your left stick and aiming with your right. Your mercs start with nothing and must pick up weapons from enemies they kill. Light emits from your character to show how visible you are and enemies tend to use line of sight. Use this to your advantage and be sneaky whenever possible. Ammo is limited and if you get hit three times, it’s game over.
Let me get this right out of the way, 8Days is extremely difficult. If you are into hardcore challenges and enjoy NES-style 8-bit graphics, 8Days was made for you. Unfortunately while I enjoy a tough game at times, 8Days made me want to rage quit within in the first few minutes. Players get one life and then must start over at the last checkpoint. BUT, those checkpoints are sometimes very far apart. 8Days is a test of skill and patience. It is fun, but only a certain type of player (*cough* masochists *cough*), will really enjoy it beyond a few minutes of play. It’s that hard.
The music in 8Days is my favorite feature. It’s quirky and poppy. I found myself humming the tunes long after I put my controller down. The retro graphics and throwback cheesy story are also a lot of fun. The gameplay in 8Days is an interesting blend of sneaking and shooting. It does neither of these features well though; sneaking was hard given the overhead/side view and the bullets from enemy weapons are so big, it makes it very difficult to dodge them. Also watch for ledges, you can fall to your death right before making it to the next checkpoint, as I found out the hard way.
8Days is, in my opinion, a victim of its own need to challenge players. Sure there are hardcore players who love these games, if you are one of them, go buy it. Unfortunately for the average player, since there is no difficulty setting in 8Days, many will be left angry and wanting more. If Santa Clara Games does any sort of update to add a difficulty setting, or at least increase the amount of life your mercs have, I could see myself really getting into 8Days.
8Days is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam. This review is based on a copy provided for that purpose.
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