The best thing Drawn to Death has going for it is the aesthetic, which thoroughly lives up to its promise of vast, wild worlds crafted from the classroom notebook scribblings of a teenage delinquent. It’s a world of kittens controlling giant robots, unicorn/teddy bear/cyclops abominations, and hideous caricatures of classmates and bullies. The stars, of course, are the playable characters, ranging from comparatively milquetoast designs like a murderous punk rocker named Johnny, to less conventional fare like a curvy female ninja with a shark’s head. It’s a strong foundation and a perfect fit for the kind of Quake-alike third-person shooter revival the game seems to be aiming for, but it’s a combo that only seems to work–pun thoroughly intended–on paper.
The poison in the well is obvious in the first 10 minutes. The tutorial is a chore just by having to endure a non-stop stream of unfunny trolling and insults. To the game’s credit, one sly prank Drawn to Death pulls here will have players looking like total fools and laughing about it later. By and large, however, Drawn to Death plays with swears like a child who just found Dad’s shotgun, and long after they’ve shot themselves, they keep wondering if the trigger will do something different next time.
Beyond the tutorial, the game’s voiceovers berate you for doing nothing, utterly hate you for failing, and become flat-out obnoxious when you win, with the announcer ranting and raving nonstop. The fact that your guide for so much of the game is a dissected, effete British frog drawing almost makes it worse, since there’s comedy to be mined there, and yet this is the best the game can muster out of it. The “comedy,” as a whole, falls flat, with no sense of timing, nuance, or delivery. There’s just the assumption that the “adult humor” coming out of what’s ostensibly a cartoon is enough to count as cool and edgy–which wasn’t even that cool and edgy when Duke Nukem 3D was doing it 20 years ago.
This would be grating if the game were actually a fun shooter,