Dead Island: Retro Revenge Review

Dead Island: Retro Revenge

Developed by Empty Clip Studios

Published by Deep Silver & Square Enix

*Please Note: This Review is of the PlayStation 4 version*


Dead Island: Retro Revenge follows zombie killing badass Max; who while playing video games notices that a bunch of villains steal his beloved cat; Rick Furry and his RV. Enraged; Max sets out to kick ass across the zombie infested streets of California to rescue his beloved pet and sweet ride from the assholes that stole from him.

Other than what is mentioned above there is no real story to Dead Island Retro Revenge as it features a generic hero plot which is a common type of story found in this specific genre of gaming. Unlike the other Dead Island games which are bad for the lack of any real story; This one gets away with it on the technicality that it is not a full priced retail game and that it suits the style of the game well to essentially just keep the game moving along.


Dead Island: Retro Revenge is a side scrolling beat em up that definitely brings back memories of classic arcade beat em ups however it does have some problems. The gameplay is extremely simplistic like a typical arcade game with the primary goal being to rack up the highest score you can and get to the end of each level. In order to reach the end of the levels you must fight/or avoid whatever zombies or enemies get in your way which is usually by changing lanes  (which also comes in handy to avoid obstacles) aswell as being able to perform multiple fighting combos combining punches and kicks at different heights and using special weapons which you can find as you progress through the level. The enemies do ramp up in difficulty however it is hard to notice when the zombies already deal so much damage that you could die within a few hits and sometimes the hit radius is still off since you could throw a punch when you are literally right in front of the zombie and it sometimes still misses which often results in your death. The game tries it’s hardest to be a good beat em’up game however it just falls short in the fact that your character is constantly moving forwards (You can’t move around the areas like in Streets of Rage or Scott Pilgrim) and then in terms of the combat it just devolves into nothing more than a button masher.

All in all, The gameplay in Retro Revenge is certainly interesting however it is nothing special especially when compared to classic and recent beat em up games.



One thing that I really like about Dead Island: Retro Revenge is the fact it stays true to games with the same visual style and adopts a 16-bit soundtrack which is certainly a step in the right direction however unfortunately these tracks are not really too great and while nice to listen to at first become extremely repetitive very quickly which is definitely bad given the game only really has 3 tracks to it. The sound effects used on the zombies aswell as the attacks are however fantastic and truly grasp the concepts of other traditional beat em ups and while their isn’t really much in terms of voice acting it’s still enjoyable. Especially given that the lead character sounds like Jack Black.


Dead Island: Retro Revenge has one of the best examples of 16 bit visuals I’ve seen so far in this modern generation among the many different indie titles out there. The 16 bit visual style really suits this game and when looking at it reminds me almost of some of the many classic Mega Drive (Genesis) games I played growing up as a child. I love the use of color in the game which is bright and vivid and definitely shows that this game is highly different to the other entries in the series. The designs on the player character and the enemies in particular are great and the overall HUD is easy to get familiar with.


Lasting Appeal:

Dead Island: Retro Revenge is about average in terms of replay value. The game as mentioned above plays like a regular beat em up and so with that it also has the average length of one aswell and the exact same replay value as most beat em ups. The game does feature trophies/ achievements aswell for all the hunters out there with some of them being a challenge to get. Other than this however the game has very little in terms of replay value.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, Dead Island: Retro Revenge is an interesting little beat em up title and has some interesting ideas however the game is nothing special. The visuals are fantastic in the game and the one key focus of the story is humorous, however the gameplay is nothing special when compared to other beat em ups out there, the soundtrack is okay but easily forgettable and there isn’t much in terms of replay value. Overall I’d say Dead Island: Retro Revenge is worth trying at least once in your life to at least check out some of the settings that would’ve been seen in Dead Island 2 (A game which looks like it’ll never see the light of day).


Score = 5.5/10


The Good:

  • 16-Bit Visuals are stunning
  • Main focus of the story is hilarious
  • Interesting look at the setting of Dead Island 2
  • Great Sound Effects and Voice for Player Character

The Bad:

  • No Real Story
  • Gameplay is limited (Screen always moving)
  • Soundtrack is really forgettable
  • No Real Replay Value

Dead Island: Retro Revenge is available now separately or as part of the Dead Island: Definitive Collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC. Thanks go out to Deep Silver for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on  FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Review by Matthew McNamee


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