To The Death Gameplay Impressions: Sol Divide Meets Chakan The Forever Man

Kickstarter games always have a rough time during the initial few days to capture interest and keep it. Kickstarter's with higher goals have harder times reaching those goals if they don't have a lot of strong media momentum going in (and coming out).

To The Death is an upcoming side-scrolling action-arcade game, made in the same vein as older titles like Sol Divide or stick shooters like Macross. The cool part about the game is that it shows a ton of potential for what it could be, even though right now the demo that's available is just a small part of the prototype phase for what the game could be.

I put in some time with the demo just to see where Scary Mostro and Section Studios are aiming to go with their title, and I have to say that I'm fairly impressed with it so far.

I made the mistake of clicking into the game before seeing the controls and ended up dying multiple times because I didn't know how to attack. Rapidly smashing the face buttons on the controller rendered no results and the triggers/bumpers were for dashing and blocking. I just didn't understand how to kill in a game where your main goal was to kill.

Eventually I died, restarted and scoped out the control scheme. How do you attack? It's the right analog. It's effectively a twin-stick shooter.

It's kind of cool because you can use the right analog to attack directionally. You aren't limited to just forward and backward attacks; this means that you can get into the thick of it and pull off some neat strike combos if your thumbs can manage to rotate with the precision and grace of a ballet dancer.

While the sword attacks are basic and get the job done in close quarters combat, there is a long range attack as well, with the pistol in the other hand. You simply hold down the right trigger and aim the right analog stick in the direction you want to fire and he fires. This allows you to mix and match attacks between long range and melee combat on the fly.

I found that the controls are generally responsive (to be a prototype) and the dodging and blocking work well enough for what it aims to achieve.

Of course, being that this was a prototype, you do have to deal with the fact that the controls aren't quite as tight as they could be and the fact that the animations could be cleaner. But it's a prototype, what else would you expect?

One of the things I thought was pretty neat was being able to drag the sword on the ground and charge up your melee attacks. That's an inventive feature. It leaves you slightly less mobile but adds to your overall damage output.

To The Death's thematic elements and design really do strike a similar tone of Chakan meets Sol Divide. The music and atmosphere feel like an updated version of the Sega classic, while the gameplay and controls are very similar to Psikyo's PSX outing. Definitely positives in my book.

If you like what you've seen in the video above and you like the concept (that's not to mention that the game has two-player co-op and two-player versus modes) you can help contribute to the cause by paying a visit to the game's official Kickstarter page.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.