Published on October 20th, 2020 | by Boouya
Bartlow’s Dread Machine Review
Summary: Bartlow’s Dread Machine is very much a steampunk style twin stick shooter by Beep Games. This game boasts both a single player and Couch Co-Op modes.
Bartlow’s Dread Machine is very much a steampunk style twin stick shooter by Beep Games. This game boasts both a single player and Couch Co-Op modes; with even more levels, guns and characters added every few weeks.
You play as a secret service agent who has been given the task of saving the President… Theodore Rosevelt of the United States. You must traverse through the mean streets of New York, San Francisco and the narrow trains and boats found through this world. Not only are you saving the president but you are also trying to stop Satanist Anarchists who are taking over the streets.
If the plot does not get you excited the gameplay surely will. The game takes place in a Vintage style mechanical arcade machine from the early 20th Century. This both adds a beautiful aesthetic to the game, but also the main challenge. As the player you can only follow the rails, this makes dodging enemies and enemy projectiles very difficult. It can also be very easy to trap yourself in a corner surrounded by enemies.
Whilst the first few areas ease you in with very simplistic tracks and few enemies, the game does ramp up very quickly in terms of difficulty. To help the player there are checkpoints to rest from, health stations and weapon pickups. But even those start to become rare the further in you get. To help combat this when enemies are killed they drop cash, with enough cash you will be able to buy upgrades at the start of levels, these include better starting pistols, shotguns and rifles. You may also upgrade your character’s outfit as well.
To fall in line with the vintage arcade machine feel the players life bar is indicated by lit bulbs every time you take a hit a bulb will go out, once you have died and respawned three times at a checkpoint, unless you have earned an extra life you will be forced to restart the whole level from the beginning.
This then comes to my only real complaint this game can be punishing and could in fact put you off and you to frustrating player errors. It is very easy in singleplayer to get trapped and overrun by the sheer amount of enemies even on medium difficulty.
The graphics and music are top notch and really do keep the game engaging to the end. The music has a very vintage style as if it was being played through an old school arcade machine. Which really helps tie everything together.
Overall Bartlow’s is an interesting take on the Twin Stick Shooter genre and one that would be interesting to see how it develops in the future.