Most gamers have a pretty set in stone mental image when they hear the phrase “multiplayer shooter”. Clear sight lines, properly lit pathways for taking on your foes either directly or by strategically flanking, and a mass of enemies to take down one after another. At Sundown: Shots in the Dark, developed by Mild Beast Games and published by Versus Evil, would like to challenge those preconceived notions about multiplayer shooters by simply turning out the lights.
Stealth is king with At Sundown, as each of the six arenas feature three perilously laid out maps with strategic lighting and shadows. Making use of a camera angle that fits somewhere within the happy medium between isometric and top down, At Sundown pushes players into the shadows of the different maps if they want to survive. If your character is visible in the room, then you can expect them to be quickly and easily blasted away from a shotgun, sniper, or revolver shot that will ring out from a nearby shadow.
That’s not to say there’s no value in finding your way to the light, however, as there are occasionally power ups that will spawn to draw players in to certain areas. This naturally provides an increased risk of being visible or running into another player which can result in death, but also the potential for an overwhelming reward like a shield or valuable short term weapon that can change the game in your favor if used properly.
While At Sundown doesn’t offer anything in the way of a story or campaign, it does have a training mode so that players can get a handle on moving through the shadows before they jump into playing against bots or friends. Training mode sets players in basic situations where they can move through the shadows and take out generic targets that are well lit. These training scenarios can teach you the basics of using the different weapons, how to dash past dangers like lasers, and how to tell that you’re too close to a wall (hint: your controller will vibrate).
At Sundown: Shots in the Dark is primarily meant to be played with others, though there are options to set up games against bots of varied difficulties. If you want the most bang for your buck, however, you will want to find friends to take down either locally or online. The online multiplayer’s net code is solid, thankfully, as even a moment’s delay could cause an unbalance in the gameplay where you only have a split second to kill or be killed.
Where At Sundown: Shots in the Dark does fall short, however, is the decision to lock up weapons and arenas behind level progression. Without an actual campaign to play through the game leaves you with little option but to play the same level and training scenarios over and over until you earn enough experience to open the next. Most of At Sundown’s gameplay modes are some variation of Deathmatch, and this limitation in map availability can leave the game feeling monotonous and tired if you’re going for a longer session in hopes of leveling up. It’s a disappointing roadblock to a game that is otherwise unique and intriguing.
A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher