Death Trash: Early Access Look

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By Tan Montana on August 16th, 2021

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I got to look at the demo for Death Trash a while back, and ever since, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its Early Access release. It’s finally here, and I’ve dived headfirst into the meat and metal fest of old RPG weirdness. Keep in mind, though, this is an Early Access look rather than a final review as, of course, the released game may be very different indeed. Still, I think there’s enough here to sink our teeth into and get a nice meaty (fleshy?) bite of the game.

I would say right now that there are about ten hours of core content and gameplay, and it’s all very playable. I didn’t encounter any bugs though I certainly expected them given how early the game is in development, which is impressive.

The Good and Bad so Far

The one thing I keep coming back to when I talk about Death Trash is the setting, particularly how uncompromisingly committed development team Crafting Legends is to their surreal apocalyptic meat world. There are a lot of elements from several genres bleeding into one. Usually, this comes at a cost, as I find that games that try to explore multiple settings generally tend to do it blandly due to lack of focus. Death Trash doesn’t have this issue. The machine-controlled eldritch flesh apocalypse feels uncomfortably natural, and all of its themes play together very well. A lot of this has to do with the art, which I talked a bit about with my initial preview of the game. The pixel art is fantastic and serves the setting well.

The RPG gameplay is ok, the UI is smooth, and guns control decently. However, the combat and dodging still leave a bit to be desired as they fall somewhere between a typical RPG where you trade hp for hits and a hack and slash action game where you can roll away from incoming attacks to maximize your own. Unfortunately, I found melee combat to be lacking in both senses, but as mentioned before, it’s still early.

The People of Death Trash

The characters in the world belong to an older and weirder era of games and tend to be strange and motivated by insanity. This works well with the setting and general unease that it evokes. I would have liked to be a bit more endeared to them as characters rather than weirdo quest givers, naked old men, and sad flesh krakens. I think its humour and oddity work well and serve as an appreciative nod to games that came before it. On the other hand, sometimes that appears to be all there is to characters, which fosters a sense of apathy toward every NPC that doesn’t immediately attack me.

Early Access Thoughts

There are a few quests and what appears to be the main narrative, but they aren’t presented explicitly as crucial. They’re there, but Death Trash is a game about stepping out of your habitat and exploring the world in whatever fashion you see fit. The world map, travel, and encounter mechanics are fantastic, and I appreciated the freedom the game gave me. This might come at the trade of feeling a bit directionless, but I have to imagine fans of this game genre can’t mind too much given the freedom you’re given.

I believe Death Trash to be a solid and familiar nod to past RPGs with an exciting world and impressive art. The addition of a local co-op makes it an experience best had with a friend, and overall I think that’s the best way to enjoy it. The humour certainly leans toward the first two Fallout games with a darkly uncaring and strange world of characters. Skill progression makes sense and is exactly what I’d expect it to be. Overall the game runs well, has a decent amount of content, and has some fascinating ideas. If you’re nostalgic for a good CRPG, Death Trash is a game you’ll enjoy, even if it’s rough around the edges in some places. I’ll be very intrigued to see the final product when it’s ready.

Tan is a Tabletop RPG writer with a deep love for give-'em-a-chance indie games and music made on a ten-year-old laptop in Audacity. They drink their seltzer warm.

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