Are Creepypasta’s still a thing? This is a serious question, since if you go back 5-10 years ago, you wouldn’t be able to move around the internet without bumping into at least one of them. Honestly? They all had one major thing in common – they all were terrible. They all generally followed the same boring routine of ‘I once found a popular game but it was spooky, spooky things happened and then I died even though I’m narrating the story’. It’s like a bunch of twelve year-olds got together to tell a tale and the average twelve year-old’s idea of scary is just ‘lets throw some blood, some darkness, and the occasionaly ‘OOGLY BOOGLY WOO’ jump scare.
Why am I wittering on about this? Well, all this is pretty much what Dead_File.exe‘s story is in a nutshell. A rather messy, and poorly translated, story about brain digitization and mutterings of how ‘If you die in this game you die for real’. There’s attempts at a plot through text-only blocks that appear between levels, but again, these generally feel whiffly, incomprehensible, and at the worst of times, just childish. For instance, at one point, the game tries to give you a moral choice question – would you save a man or a dog? Picking the ‘Man’ option just tells you hes already dead. Picking the ‘Dog’ option gives the exact same response making the entire choice pointless.
Graphically Dead_File.exe tries to follow this ‘spooky’ theme by presenting gameplay through a shaky-VHS recording-vision. It almost works, but suffers thanks to one-too-many moments where the graphics make it difficult to see exactly what to do thanks to spikes that turn from lethal to non-lethal and the only way to tell this is by slight shading differences. The aesthetic does its job, but some minor points make the game more difficult than it needs to be.
Dig into the gameplay though, and it’s not too bad. Dead_File.exe is basic platformer 101 in action. Jump about, avoid spikes, and react the exit each time. While for the most part it controls and plays fine, they throw in several aspects that just hurt the game as a whole, just like the visuals. Take for instance the screen-by-screen nature of the levels, instead of scrolling from side to side, the game zips you into new screens every time you reach the far right. The problem here however is the game often has a habit of throwing bottomless pits and spikes at you just as you enter these screens which, in turn, results in cheap death after cheap death.
The third chapter in particular is pretty cruel thanks to a mechanic where you play an invisible character, the only assistance you get in the level being a pair of red eyes that pop up every so often to help gauge location. Its just frustratingly annoying and not fun at all.
Even then, Dead_File.exe itself is pretty short – clocking in at around one hour and twenty minutes. At least the price follows this path too, costing a dollar/79pence.
Overall, I can’t really recommend Dead_File.exe thanks to one too many minor annoyances all rolling together to make a game that is ‘just’ off the mark.
Dead_File.exe was developed by Saddletrip
$1/£0.79p gives you around an hour to an hour and a half of gameplay.
A steam version of Dead_file.exe was purchased by James via an IndieGala games bundle promotion which has since concluded.
James B has broken the 6k games barrier on steam and does not know if this is an achievement or a failure. Answers on the back of a postcard please.