[Beyond PlayStation] Dead Or School Review

by EdEN, Owner

Metroidvania Dead or School from Marvelous and Studio Nanafushi is an M rated action-packed 2.5D game to check out on Nintendo Switch. Find out why in our Dead or School review!

Studio Nanafushi took Dead or School to Indiegogo back in 2016, with a flexible goal of $30,000. The campaign managed to obtain a little over $6,000 from the support of 84 backers. After three extra years of development, and with the help of Marvelous, the game is now out on Nintendo Switch.

In Dead or School, a rated M for Mature Metroidvania, you will take on the role of Hisako, who is fighting through the zombie-infested streets of Tokyo. She and others were forced to live in the Tokyo undergrounds because of the zombie apocalypse, and she does not know what a normal life is like. Having lived her entire life underground, one day, she learns from her grandmother of schools that existed above ground, so she dons her grandmother’s school uniform and sets out on an adventure with one goal in mind: to become a school girl!

Dead Or School Review - 1

You’ll walk with the left analog stick, crouching by pressing down. You can sprint with the L button if needed. Your main attack is set to the ZR button, with a stronger but slower attack mapped to the ZL button. You will need to reload your weapon with the Y button to always be ready for danger. You can jump and double jump with the B button and dodge attacks with the A button. Dodging at the right time will allow you to do a perfect dodge, which will slow down your enemies, allowing you to gain an advantage. If you want to change weapons, you can do so with the R button. If you’re heavily damaged, your school uniform will be torn, and you’ll get a temporary boost to your defense and attack stats.

Something you should always keep in mind is that attacking, jumping, sprinting, and dodging are all actions that will end up lowering your overall stamina. You will need to balance your actions so that your stamina bar does not end up in the red zone because if it does, your stamina will regenerate at a lower rate. If you don’t have enough stamina to perform offensive or defensive actions, you could find yourself in a whole lot of trouble! To counter this, you can crouch, which will boost your stamina recovery rate

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There are three difficulty settings to choose from. Easy is a good option for those who want to focus on the story and would like to face not as big of a challenge. Normal is the regular experience, with enemies that are deadly and will test your skills. You can also go for Hard, which features intense combat sequences with enemies that pack quite the punch. You can also select between aiming your attacks with the left analog stick or using the right one to aim. After giving both a try, I’d suggest that you select the second option.

Dead Or School Switch Review - 4

As you explore each area, you should keep your eyes open for any save points you can find. You can recover at save points, reload new ammo to your machine gun and launcher, as well as buy and sell weapons and items. You can also equip new things at save points, and since you’re going to find many weapons during your adventure, it never hurts to check if you’ve picked up something that could be useful, or if you could at least sell the things you don’t need so that you can put that money to good use. There’s also the option of reinforcing and modifying weapons by using the special gears you’ll collect – as well as some of your hard-earned cash.

Dead Or School Nintendo Switch Review - Weapons

As for the weapons you can equip, you will have a sword slot, a machine gun slot, and a launcher slot. On top of being able to equip a weapon to each one of their corresponding slots, each weapon can be customized with up to two attachments. Attachments will reinforce a weapon’s basic capabilities, and they might end up giving you special abilities as a bonus. Each of your three weapon types will also have their own skill tree in which you can spend your skill points to unlock new abilities. You will gain skill points every time you level up. Every enemy you defeat will grant you some experience points, which you can check on the bar below Hisako’s portrait on the main screen.

Dead Or School Switch Review - 5

By finding and rescuing refugees, Hisako will receive a boost to her overall stats, gaining more stamina, more health, as well as a bump to the overall weight she can carry. You can also search around for souvenirs to also receive a boost to Hisako’s stats. Be sure to check your mini-map at all times so that you can find refugees and souvenirs since every little bit of help you can get will certainly be needed!

Dead or School is a solid Metroidvania that surprised me. I was not expecting such a fun experience from a small indie team, and between the great art style, fun gameplay mechanics, and interesting story, Dead or School grabbed my attention right from the start. The game is available on Nintendo Switch for $29.99, and you’ll be playing this one for 20+ hours if you want to see everything the game has to offer – especially if you play on Hard!

This Dead or School review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Marvelous.

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