DeathRun TV

DeathRun TV would make a really cool, really deranged exploitation action movie — possibly as a double-feature alongside Hobo with a Shotgun. You play as a contestant in a hyper-violent game show where the goal is to kill or be killed, all for the adulation of the millions of viewers who tune in to each episode to give you those sweet, sweet “likes.”

Revealed during the Future Games Show at this year’s E3, DeathRun TV is built on a massively entertaining premise. The game is a top-down roguelite shoot-‘em-up for up to four players set within a dystopian world where bloodlust is all that matters. If that sounds cool to you, I’d recommend checking out the playable demo of DeathRun TV on Steam. It’s a pretty fun early dive into the game! You should be aware, though, that the controls are a little wonky at the moment.

I played a few runs of the “Pilot” episode of DeathRun TV, and I enjoyed a lot of things about it. The game’s action is fast and intense. You’ll dual-wield weapons and attempt to make your way through room after room as you deal out carnage on this sinister game show. In your way are other opponents, saw blades, and spike traps. Things get especially intense when large groups of enemies and moving obstacles are all put in front of you at once.

DeathRun TV

Though you start off with two standard pistols, you’ll find shotguns, SMGs, and other weapons as you go along. DeathRun TV knows it’s tough, so it doesn’t skimp on health and armor pick-ups, which is great because it keeps runs (at least in the “Pilot” episode) from ever feeling too short. You can also pick up thumbs-up-shaped “likes” as you kill enemies and smash crates.

“Likes” factor into the game’s upgrade system. Earn enough and you’ll level up, which grants you the ability to choose from multiple randomized mutations and upgrades. These include things like faster movement speed, shorter weapon cooldowns, and enhanced health items.

Again, this would all be super awesome, but the game’s controls are a bit floaty and unsteady currently. They work fairly okay, but in a game where you have to constantly be on the move, dodging bullets and sharp objects as you kill swarms of enemies, inconsistent controls can be detrimental to your success.

DeathRun TV

My issues with the game’s controls aside, I truly appreciate everything that DeathRun TV is built around. The whole “violent game show” thing is really cool, and that theme is backed by a brilliant sound design. You’ll hear loud, congratulatory sirens as you clear rooms of enemies. The roar of the crowd encourages you to keep going even when your health meter goes down to a measly half-heart. And you’re surrounded by explosions and shotgun blast sounds as you fight for survival.

The Newgrounds-esque visual style works, too. Flashing lights, blood-red splatters, fiery pyrotechnics, and menacing cartoon enemies surround you as you try to earn your “likes” in DeathRun TV.

There’s no official release date for the game just yet, so here’s hoping developer Laser Dog can sand down the rough edges before launch. As it is, this could be a fun, if flawed, roguelite shoot-‘em-up — but with the proper adjustments, specifically in terms of its controls, the game may very well be something truly awesome. I certainly recommend checking out the playable demo, because there’s a lot to like about DeathRun TV in terms of sheer style and brutality.

DeathRun TV

DeathRun TV is planned for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series S/X, Switch, and PC.

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