DescriptionDead Island: Retro Revenge is a spin-off of the Dead Island series. The protagonist is Max, known from the then upcoming Dead Island 2. While he is playing video games at home during the epidemic, his beloved cat Max Furry is kidnapped. He needs to take it to the streets in California to travel through 24 levels, divided over three chapters with their own theme, to get his cat back.
The game is played as side-scrolling brawler with visuals resembling those of the 16-bit era along with a CRT effect. Instead of a pure brawler however, it also takes many elements from auto-run platformers. Max moves forward at a constant speed from left to right and the gameplay is as much about fighting as it is about dodging and timing. He can quickly move between three horizontal lanes, but cannot be moved around otherwise. There are four types of basic attacks that can be executed quickly. While they resemble each other at first, they cannot always be interchanged. Certain enemies are only vulnerable to certain types of attacks while other allow for special actions, such as launching a dog or a flying head, as projectiles.
The 24 stages need to be unlocked one by one, but the game encourages replaying them to earn a maximum of five stars per level. These stars are optional, but show how good the player was able to string together combos and attacks into fluent motions. Many enemies can be ignored or dodged instead of attacking them, but by moving and timing quickly many types of attacks, including kicking dead bodies, can be strung together into huge combos that are rewarded with additional points and multipliers. The highest points can only be scored by taking many risks.
Max also has access to a single special attack (from a selection of three) and a rechargable magic attack. Power-ups in the environment include swords, health and points. He can only take a few hits or the level needs to be replayed. Levels have a linear design and are not randomized. There are also barrels that can be kicked to launch them towards enemies. Enemies often attack in large groups and have different strategies that often require a specific approach. Next to the main story mode there is a marathon mode and a survivor mode than can be unlocked.
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