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Does your day job suck? Often feel under-appreciated and overworked? Then do I have a deal for you… An all-expense paid trip to purgatory courtesy of Vlad and his compadres in Draw Chilly.
Set in the Peace, Death universe Draw Chilly from Azamatika puts you in the role of Vladimir a simple man who wants out. After some witty conversation with the reaper Vlad is tasked with raising the city out of purgatory… and I could say that is it but I would be doing a huge disservice to what the game actually is. But in order to the that we must dive a little deeper into the murky depths of ummm not hell.
Visually, Draw Chilly (DC) is a no-nonsense pixel art arcade title that could easily have stolen your quarters back in the late 80s. The backdrop of purgatory, as you ascend from its depths, fills the screen with washed out and muddy blues giving you an unnerving sense that you are never safe. Adding to this is that it gradually transitions from organic landscapes to run down industrial cityscapes further reminding you just how far from home you are. The characters while limited in animation successfully pull off the illusion of living beings interacting while on a vertically moving city. When the various combative monkeys, yes the monkeys are out for blood, jump onto the city you are tasked with dispatching them before they end your quest to redemption. While simple at first coming in small waves, the further you ascend (100 floors) the more overwhelming the odds become. Thankfully the controls are up to the task in DC.
Movement is simple enough with the left thumbstick controlling Vlads locomotion. Speaking of which, Vlad also poses a pretty sweet dodge roll which is a summoned motorcycle he can use to evade the simian onslaught. While not a standout melee warrior Vlad does have a basic attack using A as well as some abilities he picks up using X. These abilities come in care packages lovingly flown down to you which you must open before the monkeys do. Ranging from offensive like the giant wrench and screen-clearing taxi cab to more defensive. Thankfully, as you ascend you are being cheered on by other workers an inhabitants of purgatory and they jump onto your rising city eagerly ready to lend a hand. Additionally, they come in various forms with different abilities and strengths of their own which can help you fight off the ever-present primate threat. Unfortunately, while helpful they also suffer from the inability to think for themselves. I lost countless throngs of workers as they committed suicide off the edges of the city. Similarly, when engaged in boss fights )every 10 floors) they lacked any real initiative and often stayed to one side unless straight-up confronted by the enemy.
On the audio side of things, DC is elevated by a wonderful soundtrack headlined by some killer grinding guitars. The metal-inspired sounds really give it the dark edge that humour in the writing needs to keep the spirit of the location at the forefront. The lack of voice acting hurts as the previously mentioned writing would have been elevated even more. The general sound effects are serviceable but at the budget price of $2.99/£2.69, these are nitpicking on an otherwise solid package.
A lasting appeal is important. Thankfully Vlad and his cohorts bring a little more than just the to the table. During your journey to the proverbial top, you will encounter the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Each bringing their unique powers and skills to the battle. These skills, much like Vlads can be upgraded by spending in-game currency collected by defeating the hordes and bosses. Additionally, an adventure mode is included which follows all the same rules (raise the city, kill hominoideas, repeat). The nice wrinkle thrown in here is that everything has been randomised. Boss battles can occur right away or not for long periods. This mode certainly helps scratch that itch when you are looking for something to play but don’t have a lot of time to commit.
Draw Chilly is an interesting retro arcade-style title. On the one hand, there is some fast, chaotic action and fun to be had. However, the game does not capitalise on any of the ideas it has set forth. Yet all of this is ultimately balanced by the fantastic budget price. The added adventure mode does freshen things up and gives the title a solid pick up and play aesthetic if you only have a few minutes on your hands.
TBG Score: 6/10
Platform: Steam, Mobile, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 12/11/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Arcade
Publisher: HYPETRAIN DIGITAL LTD
Download link: eShop