We’re always on the lookout for a classic online multiplayer game here at Finger Guns. The fact we all live nowhere near each other ensures that local multiplayer is rarely an option (if at all) so when a new game comes along that allows us to silently murder each other in the face then we’re going to be all over it. Sneaking up on Paul and shooting him in the back is always a pleasure, and with At Sundown you don’t have much choice.
The concept of At Sundown: Shots in the Dark was the big appeal for us when the game was announced. A top-down silent stealth game where you’re invisible unless you move at speed, with the objective taking down your opponents with a variety of weapons by being extra sneaky or keeping a sharp eye on their invisible movements, trying to tactically work out which ways they may have gone and unloading your weaponry in their direction in the hopes that one bullet is tearing itself in their direction. Kills can either be considered tactical or just sheer luck. That you can’t see yourself or your opponents at all unless you run, walk into light or make yourself visible ensures double-quick, high-octane bouts.
There’s a few options at your disposal once the game kicks up. I recommend jumping directly into the training as there’s a fair bit to learn. From moving around in darkness and trying to work out just where the hell you are without revealing your position. Directing your shots with the right analogue stick, moving through lasers that can reveal you (and murder you to death), using remote mines and grenades, all in complete darkness. You’re learning how to play shooters all over again here so the training is essential. Completing each training segment nets you XP, too so it’s worth doing if you want to get up the levels a little faster. You’ve got basic and advanced levels to beat, so yeah, there’s an awful lot to take in before jumping into a match. Take my word on this one, I did the exact opposite when I began. It was dumb. #DontIgnoreTutorials
Gameplay options includes deathmatch and timed deathmatches, along with a sort of mini-last man standing match which is brilliant fun. Each game mode has the same end goal (just survive, essentially) but each add different flavours and twists on classic deathmatch tropes. The first to ten kills is a particular favourite. I’ve had plenty of matches where I’ve been even with either a player or a bot and it’s been down to the final kill, using the extra opponents as cannon fodder. It’s frantic and nuts, adding tactical movements and using your weapons effectively (reloading takes far too long).
Your available weapons are a mixed bag. From shotguns to dual handguns, SMG’s and sniper rifles, each of them are a blessing and a curse. There’s not a huge range on anything other than the sniper, which naturally is slow and a little cumbersome in heated battles, despite being super powerful and has the ability to shoot through walls. The SMG is handy when you want to just spray and pray though again the bullets run out quicker than you would like and have very little range. My weapon of choice was normally the dual handguns, which were powerful and had a bit of range on them (along with the ability to bounce bullets off walls). The available power-ups are also, naturally, beneficial to your overall murderness. The laser gun which takes out anyone and everyone in its path is a beauty, so long as nobody catches you before you use it. You can also make your enemies visible for a short period, allowing for some neat sniper opportunities if you’re hiding quietly in the corner.
Online and local play is where the most fun is, particularly when you have friends around. In my pre-release testing I couldn’t find a single match online, so had to wait until after launch to test it out. Fortunately once it was live it was easy enough to find a match and myself and Sean had some fun sessions. The map with the train will haunt me forever. There were no interruptions or connection drops, and seemed to run as smooth as you would expect.
There are respawn issues where the game will literally drop you into light, allowing everyone else on the map to immediately see you and not giving you enough time to – worthlessly, because everyone can see your movement at speed – run into cover.
Sean and I also played a game where spawned right next to each other. It was a rare occurrence – you’re usually spawned on either side of the map, or in corners if there are more than two of you – but it’s a bizarre choice. At that moment you can either draw like a cowboy showdown or leg it into cover. Neither are particularly beneficial and ensures you’re going to die if you’re ever-so slightly slower on the draw than your opponent through no fault of your own.
At Sundown is a game full of style and substance. It has a unique artistic style with terrific character models and well designed maps. Some can be a little small, making movement even more difficult than it already is but there’s plenty to like and is a fun party game if nothing else.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the game evolves. It’s an exciting shooter than deserves an audience.
At Sundown: Shots In The Dark is out now on Nintendo Switch, PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro), Xbox One and PC.
Developer: Mild Beast Games
Publisher: Versus Evil
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with promotional codes from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.