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Death from Above Review

Death from Above Review

Okay, let’s get this out of the way first before anything else: Death From Above is set during the still-ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been going on for about two years now. It’s a really sad situation that has gone on for way longer than it should be (which is, it shouldn’t be a thing in the first place) so uh… don’t take it personally, I’m judging the game by its merits, not its message. That being said… Slava Ukraini.

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Developed by Rockodile and published by Lesser Evil, Death from Above is a drone operator simulator. You are a Ukrainian soldier trapped behind enemy lines. You've been saved by death from a kindly old woman who also provides you with some enemy drones and a lot of explosives. It's your job to take out the invading forces and get back to your unit in one piece. This is very much, well, there’s no other way to put it, propaganda encouraging people to help fund the war effort for more drones as they’re a lot more expendable than people. The entire game is about a lone soldier absolutely destroying an entire army by themselves and how this could help free a lot of other occupied areas. Hell, just getting the game by itself will help, as 70% of its profits are going to causes like Come Back Alive and Army of Drones.

Onto the presentation, the game looks nice enough, but given the fact that most of your time will be up above, probably using thermal vision to clearly see enemies, the details aren’t quite as nice. I did play on High settings, but it is rather generic, however given the setting it's probably intentional. But damn, the main menu music is awesome. But there are only two pieces of music as far as I could tell, and most of the runtime will be spent in silence (apart from the explosions, death cries, and drone rotors spinning). At the very least, you can customise your soldier and drone with a variety of shirts and skins that I am pretty sure you could probably buy in real life.

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Main targets: Infiltry, officers, tanks, artillery, and TikTokers.

But let’s get into the real meat of the game; tactical drone gameplay. You’ll be switching between controlling the operator and drone, although most of your time will be spent controlling the drone. Your drone is able to fly around, scout out locations, and drop explosives to kill enemies, destroy vehicles, or safely set off mines. Your drone can only hold so much ammo, so you’ll need to return to the operator to reload and switch munitions. Eventually, you’ll obtain a kamikaze drone that can help you destroy tougher vehicles that are in harder-to-reach spots. Now, I found the drone controls to be really good, it feels natural to use and it isn’t that hard to figure out even without playing the tutorial.

When controlling the operator, however, you have decidedly less to work with, being only able to move around and interact with stuff. You have nothing to defend yourself with other than your drones, not even able to pick up a gun, so facing the enemy head-on or having your location revealed is a death sentence. That’s why it is recommended that you stay as far as possible and use your drone. Yeah, reloading your ammo is a tedious process, but it is better than dying and needing to restart.

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People don't look up far enough.

However, you don’t really have to worry about enemies in general because… well, they’re really, really dumb. Their hearing range is about a metre radius, and most will investigate every explosion and every death… which is a prime opportunity to drop another frag grenade on their head, which they will never know where it comes from as long as your drone is flying above them at a high enough height. And you’re encouraged to group up enemies and combo your kills to earn more points for a global leaderboard.

Wow, that feels uncomfortable to write.

Onto performance, it ran perfectly well, no glitches I ran into and I didn’t find anything that would hinder any enjoyment you may find here. I have nothing I would say I actively disliked. However, I want to highlight that there is some humour you can find in this game. You can find sausage for ammo, floating Ukrainian Doge soldiers, and a shipment of 60 vibrators… that work. Yeah, I can tell the developers had a little fun themselves despite the subject matter.

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Death from Above is fine for what it is. It’s short, and able to be beaten in only two hours at most, but you are encouraged to play again for better scores, but I feel satisfied with only one playthrough. It’s a quick experience that doesn’t really overstay its welcome and provides a little insight into the Ukrainian war effort. If you want to support it, buy the game and spread the word.

8.50/10 8½

Death From Above (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Death from Above is a fun, if short, time that makes the most of it with compelling drone gameplay. If you want to support the Ukrainian war effort, this is a good option.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

Taking all of the AAA games

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