Review – Dusk ’82 (Switch)

A quick glimpse into gaming history: do you know Wolfenstein 3D, the grandfather of first-person shooters, one of the most revolutionary and important games of all time? Well, that game wasn’t exactly a brand new IP to begin with. Turns out that Wolfenstein was originally conceived in 1981, for the archaic computers of the time, under the name Castle Wolfenstein. It was a limited puzzle-adventure with archaic visuals and an emphasis on stealth and survival. It was ridiculously revolutionary for its time, but then again, it was a computer game from 1981: about ten people played it back then, so it was quickly forgotten.

New Blood Interactive, a company hell-bent on bringing back retro-styled shooters to the masses, did a little side project with their hit title, Dusk, to pay homage to the origins of the Wolfenstein games. Dusk ’82, for all intents and purposes, is a spiritual successor to the classic Castle Wolfenstein formula, with very little in terms of quality of life innovations or updates. It’s as retro as retro can be. Giving credit where credit’s due, they did deliver a tremendous job, given the intentional limitations.

Dusk '82 Simplicity

Dusk ’82 is pretty simple in nature: you’re the yellow thing, and you need to kill all red things in order to move to the next level.

Just like its main source of inspiration, Dusk ’82 borrows elements from its bigger brother (namely, having to kill a ton of enemies in order to advance to the next level), but in a more puzzle-like aesthetic. You and your foes move one space at a time, in a map designed after the limitations seen in jurassic computers like the Apple II. You have access to some guns in order to kill these foes, but that’s just half of the gameplay loop.

In fact, if there is one game that Dusk ’82 reminded me more than Dusk itself, that game is Chip’s Challenge. You know that classic DOS game, where you were supposed to move objects and boxes in order to grab keys and such? No? Maybe I spent too much time playing obscure titles in my Atari Lynx back when I was five, but the core gameplay loop felt very similar. It’s crucial to smartly use explosive barrels, tripmines, bombs and more in order to get rid of foes and access secrets, such as treasure behind breakable walls.

Dusk '82 Barrel

You can shoot these barrels in order to cause explosions and kill more enemies at once. You can also blow up some walls.

It’s all very simplistic, to the point of a player being able to finish everything Dusk ’82 has to offer in one mere sitting, but it wasn’t bad at all. Sure, it looks repetitive as hell, and its controls are clunky, but these were designed intentionally. I didn’t exactly hate the game for it. It was meant to look like some random computer game from the early 80’s, and it does with honors. It even has a banger soundtrack from Andrew Hulshult, though it sounds way too modern for something meant to resemble an Apple II title. As in, it sounds more or less like a game on the Mega Drive.

Dusk '82 Gameplay

Keys, switches, boxes… Dusk ’82 is more of a puzzle game than an action one.

All in all, Dusk ’82 is really short and as simplistic as it gets, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a little side project meant to pay homage to Castle Wolfenstein. Limited and clunky by nature, sure, but it gets the job done. It’s not particularly memorable (you can beat it in one sitting and then delete it from your Switch’s memory), but quite fun while it lasts.


Graphics: 6.0

A herculean effort to make the game look exactly like Castle Wolfenstein from 1981. It gets repetitive quickly, but the commitment needs to be respected.

Gameplay: 6.5

It’s equal parts Chip’s Challenge and a top-down shooter. Limited and clunky by nature, but it gets the job done.

Sound: 7.5

Another killer soundtrack by Andrew Hulshult, though deliberately retro. With that being said, it sounded way too modern for 1982.

Fun Factor: 7.5

It was way more interesting and engaging than I could have ever imagined from a game with such premise and intentional limitations, though it was enjoyable for just one sitting.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Dusk ’82 is available now on PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.