REVIEW: Real Evil

The original Resident Evilcheesy dialog and all— probably holds an affectionate place in all our hearts. It’s a landmark game. Besides widely being considered the genesis of the ‘survival horror’ genre, its style and ideas inspiring hundreds of would-be homages and clones since, it’s hard to ignore any game with zombies in it1. Chris Antoni’s Real Evil ($1.00) wants to be a nostalgic, even campier, low-budget version of Resident Evil. Its heart is in the right place, but its complete reliance on that goodwill and nostalgia proves fatal.

Real Evil - Screen

It starts off promising enough. Real Evil‘s tale is a meta-story of sorts, involving a bland-ish robot plucked straight from your average XBLIG title and thrust into the real world without explanation. This sees you battling zombies on pre-rendered backgrounds (…fancy words for ‘pictures of someone’s house’) and searching for clues / items, complete with those inherently-awkward camera angles and a limited amount of ammo. Ah, Resident Evil, I remember you well.

Player movement is equally-awkward, taking its cues from the old-fashioned ‘tank controls’ the RE series was known for. It’s a less than effective scheme in hindsight, more about rotating slowly to face the direction you want. The combat animations for your robot are nifty but slow, meaning you’ll have to aim and fire pretty fast at some points to avoid a quick death (one hit = instant demise) or unseen foe.

As you explore, you’ll run across some basic puzzles, such as piecing together a computer password or maneuvering objects in the environment, and some nods to previous games by the developer. Well, it’s all highly self-referential, actually. You’re in on the joke if you’ve played most of the games referenced, but if you’re coming to Real Evil fresh, both the narrative and the gameplay are likely to feel bizarre or disjointed. One minute you’re fighting zombies in an attic, the next you’re staring into the void and facing off against cubed threats on a level ripped from Block King.

Real Evil - Screen2

Even with the shifting styles, Real Evil‘s biggest issue is its adherence to Resident Evil‘s ancient ideas regarding gameplay. The camera angles are a nuisance more than they are a fond memory, with the jarring transitions from room to room sometimes making it hard to tell if you’re hitting a target. To complicate matters, there is a limited amount of ammunition to find, with no way to attack enemies if you happen to run out. It’s entirely possible to trap yourself at a save point unarmed, making any future progress impossible.

That’s hardly a recipe for fun. Points go to the developer for the XBLIG-unique twist on an old formula, but the mishmash of games and ideas here don’t quite work. Add to this the frustrating viewpoints and an extremely-low tolerance for mistakes, and Real Evil‘s attempt at nostalgic survival horror feels bloated and just as dated as its inspiration.

  1. As XBLIG has come to know all too well. 

49 thoughts on “REVIEW: Real Evil”

  1. Not to add fuel to the Fire but…. Really Scary and One Night Two Crazies have each outsold deadkings, and they’ve been on the market for less time. Not a comment on quality, just one stat that probably should be considered when determining the worst developer! Lol couldn’t help myself.

    1. ‘Not to add fuel to the fire’ he said— with a evil grin— as he chucked the large red container of gasoline on top of the dangerously-stacked, still-smoldering timber. The flames would soon to be raging again, climbing wildly over the wood in search of a new victim. It was all a matter of time. The fire would reach outside its intended boundary eventually, taking everything in range with it. There would be no stopping it. You had to admire its dedication to destruction.

      Chris turned away from the glow of his now living, breathing revenge, triumphant, but oddly unsatisfied. There were still others out there. Those that had doubted him. Those that had criticized him (more than a bit unfairly, he reasoned). They would have to be made accountable. Yes, they most certainly would. The grin was back, wider and even more sinister than before. He knew there would be other fires.

  2. I understand all the flak tossed out at games perceived like this one – crude-looking, unpolished, unengaging, short – but I cannot accept anyone making a disagreement about a game PERSONAL. It greatly disheartens me to read that a member of the the greater XBLIG game community would call a dev “the worst”, and then attempt to bolster their churlish opinion by throwing out a stream of technical lingo as if it would establish their superiority as both programmer and critic; it also discounts that anyone could enjoy Block King as a great game (which it is!).

    Chris has been nothing but honest, approachable, and affable both here and in-game. In my gaming experiences I’ve found that pleasure can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places/games; when one starts discounting that I have to wonder if they really enjoy gaming at all.

    1. ´´´´´´¶¶¶¶

    2. @ImTheMetalLord: Ah, trying to get fancy with the replies, eh? I got you covered. All fixed; like it never happened. 😉

      @andregurov: Well said, and bonus points for throwing in a ‘churlish’. Been awhile since I’ve seen that one. 😀

    3. What? Where? What are you talking about Tim? 😛

      Oh darn!! You didn’t delete my admission of guilt. You are so smart!!!!

      Yes fancy ascii that been around before computers. Too bad (or maybe not) we can’t post pics in the comments. I’ve got a meme for just this situation. LOL

    4. Oh you can, it’s just not the easiest to do. The lazy way is to just copy and paste a link to it. I can clean up the mess and get it to post (sometimes). There’s another method to embed (which I know I tried once), but it’s slightly more involved, and I’m too lazy to look it up. 😉

  3. I want the code but I cant reply the comment. Is this on porpuse to be on par with the issues of the game ? XD
    If you still got one I will like to try it.

  4. I have to step on this one, just because a stripper does not excel on the pole it does not mean her boobs wont bounce. Chris might not be a pole grade A developer, but he can do some ok playable stuff. One of his games really scared me. Traslation for those that dont speak boobtuguese, the games might not be Bleed’s or Dead King’s , I will rated them in the ok category, but not the worst. And honestly, at this age, why would you make so much effort making a masterpiece when probably no one will buy it. Plus he make Block Kings that game got very popular on this site ppl would have think it was called Boobs Kings. I think Chris is an ok developer that can do better, but in XBLIG is hard to find the motivation to climb the pole.

    1. Well said, and your ‘stripper wisdom’ is as excellent as ever. 😉

      I wouldn’t say that developers should purposely avoid making a better game just because it’s XBLIG, although I do agree that it’s hard to justify putting more money / time into games that can’t be sold for more than a dollar and might never find an audience. That’s just all the more reason that developers should design with multiple platforms in mind. XNA isn’t Unity, and it doesn’t port as nicely, but for the sake of getting your game in front of as many people as possible, at least plan for a PC version either during or after an XBLIG release. I know that’s not possible for everyone, but for those that can, hey, why not.

    2. “That’s just all the more reason that developers should design with multiple platforms in mind. XNA isn’t Unity, and it doesn’t port as nicely, but for the sake of getting your game in front of as many people as possible, at least plan for a PC version either during or after an XBLIG release. ”

      No offense, but you do not know what you are talking about. Before developing for multiple platforms, learn how to make a game !! Choose a language that is platform independent. You are mixing Libraries with Game engines, you have not even mentioned a language yet.

      Have you ever developed a game before ? XNA and UNITY , one is a library one is a game engine !!?? C# and XNA is object oriented platform INDEPENDENT = it is easily ported to many platforms. UNITY is not, it is a game engine which is someone else’s work. XNA is a library that can be replaced by yourself or monogame and works perfectly across PC’s, smartphones, and PS4. UNITY does not.

    3. @bigeasyman: I’m certainly not a developer in any capacity, nor have I ever claimed to be (that should be fairly obvious 😉 ). I was speaking in more general terms regarding ‘platforms’ for a game’s release, not to insinuate that XNA itself was a programming language and / or ‘platform’. I tend to lump it together with XBLIG and refer to it as a separate entity. My apologies on that.

      Also, I guess I was in the wrong on Unity (maybe I was mistaking that one with Monogame?). I somehow got the idea that it was more easily transferable between consoles, phones, etc., hence the reason I saw more Unity games popping up on the Vita indie channel that were originally mobile games. My apologies on that as well.

    1. @bigeasyman: (Chris’ words, not mine. I just saw that he posted under a different reply): This game will probably take you 1-2 hours to finish. Derp is sort of a gaming god.

  5. No I think you guys have no idea ive worked on a couple of the best games at least best rated on this site BLOOD & BACON and DEAD KINGS. So I can have an opinion of whats an actual good game. thx.

    1. I know who you are and yes you created some of the best but to say Chris is the “worst” is not even close IMHO. How many of his games have you played? How many other games have you played? Owned? Not just trials.

    2. @GNAWMAN: Personally, I don’t agree with you (I figure I’ll go into longer detail on your previous reply), but yes sir, you are absolutely entitled to an opinion. Be it popular opinion or not.

    3. For the record metal lord I didn’t create those games I helped playtest and work on them. There is a thing called over-saturation and that’s what im talking about here, but I’ve said my peace. Good luck Chris…

  6. Ok im gonna say this right now Chris Antoni you are the worst indie game developer ive ever seen, You flood a dead market with games that have little fun or no thought. Truth is truth man. If this was 3 years ago youd be getting so much flak but seeing as theres almost no one there now, It really doesn’t matter.

    1. I don’t mind these kinds of comments because in the same day I’ll have someone tell me the exact opposite. I’m having a blast making these games but I know there’s room for lots of improvement. Only been here 6 months, remember that.

    2. The game was great, even if it was to damn short (finished it in 25 minutes max).
      I liked the easter eggs and references to other chris antoni’s games.
      So yeah, nobody really cares about your dumb opinion Gnawman, sorry.

    3. Thanks Derp. Actually I do really care about his opinion, but I can’t do anything with “you’re the worst.” If he tells me something like “you should allow saving from the start” or “the cameras were too jarring” then I can work with that.

    4. @Gnawman “worst indie game developer”? You obviously haven’t explored the XBLI channel deep enough. I could name at least a dozen others that have been doing it way longer off the top of my head that are way worse. Plus if you haven’t played some of his games you have no idea what the fun factor is. You are only looking at them at the surface.

      Everyone has a right to their opinion however just that some opinions stink. (I cut that short and was trying to be nice LOL)

    5. @GNAWMAN: Let me say this up front; I like Chris. He’s a hell of a nice guy for one, and two, he cares about and listens to criticism. He actively works to fix problems, either in that current game, or does things differently in future projects. Now, that might make me a little biased, but speaking from personal experience, there’s few, very few, developers that I’ve talked with that are even willing to fix issues found in their games, let alone take a critique from an amateur like me and not have some choice words for me in return. He’s humble about it too, none of that ‘holier-than-thou’ crap that some indie developers tend to exude. That puts him squarely in the ‘alright guy’ category, so far as I’m concerned.

      Now, I’m not knocking your criticism or your right to form an opinion. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about this site is the fact that we can all jump into the comments section and talk about the games, life, etc. There are no rules about that, no etiquette that must be followed. You are free and absolutely able to post what you like and don’t like.

      ‘Worst indie developer’? I can’t say that I agree with that at all. There is one honest criticism about Chris’ games in general that I have. He tends to work quickly, which leads to more releases, and some of them are same-y, insofar as looks and similar mechanics or ideas (I’ve had my fill of the low-budget horror games, believe me). If it’s oversaturation of the market, as you mentioned above, then I can see that… in a way. Also, as you stated, it’s a dead market, so his releases tend to stand out more as of late. In a more crowded XBLIG channel, that would probably get lost in the shuffle and go unnoticed. But, XBLIG is what it is these days, and there’s no changing that.

      All that aside, though, he’s far from a Team Shuriken (admittedly, the Uncraft Me! series isn’t all that bad, but everything else? Ehhh…) or Silver Dollar Games (yes, they created the awesome One Finger Death Punch1, but the vast majority of their catalog is… well, less-than-stellar). Chris’ games aren’t broken mechanically like so many others are, and even if this game is short, he’s far from a ‘skin peddler’ like so many XBLIG developers devolved into. He doesn’t put out the cheap, click-to-win shit with the chance of maybe-tits, and he doesn’t over-promise stuff and never deliver, either. Say what you will, but unless he goes that route, he’s far, far, faaaarrrr, from the worst indie developer. More like ‘alright guy’ developer. 🙂

      1. Although I heard that the mobile version was turned into a crappy, pay-to-play model… ….not very cool, SD. 
    6. I couldn’t have said it better myself (and I tried) but you have a way with words Tim. I will never call you a blogger anymore (unless it serves me well) 😛

    7. @ImTheMetalLord: Haha, thanks. I’ll let you hold onto that ‘secret weapon’. I trust you’ll use it sparingly. 😉

    8. @BigEasyMan – This game will probably take you 1-2 hours to finish. Derp is sort of a gaming god.

    9. @Gnawman I think that’s a bit harsh ;( I really like Chris’s games. Not just the fact that he is a dev-machine (he posts more games than I post tweets) but the fact the games are all quite different; side scrolling beat em-ups (with hilarious cut scenes), multiplayer combat games, resident evil style games, five nights at Freddy’s style games, etc. He’s not just churning out boob games or minecraft clones. I agree that they would benefit from a bit more balancing and polish (hiring an artist would be a huge help) but you can see how much enthusiasm went into making them. Keep ’em coming, Chris!

    10. @BandanaGames: Exactly. Well said. They may not all be winners (and what developer could produce all winners?), but, as a whole, they’re anything but the worst of the worst in XBLIG. Longer development time, hire an artist, etc…. all a potentially good fix. They’re still mechanically-sound, and that’s a good chunk of the battle right there.

    11. I must say that i got a little glitch that helped me a lot: the final boss died automatically when i entered the room. Plus, I got a tip from Chris at the beginning of the game (the location of the keycard).
      Hopefully chris will make a longer sequel (5 hours would be awesome) and i will buy it.

    12. @Derp: Ah, so you had help after all… 😉 The keycard I found right away to start, but the ‘shotgun in the closet’ trick… I didn’t spot that. So much for careful examination. Hopefully the final boss will give up that easily when I reach him. 😀

    13. Thanks Bandana! And also for never getting annoyed when I ask you to review yet another game over and over lol.

      This next game I’m making I will try really hard to take my time with it. It’s an rpg so I probably can’t finish it in under a month or two minimum.

      I’ve come up with a “drop in” multiplayer similar to air war. Hopefully that helps people find each other even on XBLIG!

    1. Unfortunately, no. Explored the Block King world, then found the key to open the garage, but at that point, I was down to 4 bullets, and that first enemy there is impossible to move around without dying. No other ammo to be found, so I was stuck. I wasn’t about to reset and the run the whole thing again. I was pretty cautious with the ammo, too. I maybe could have saved up a few more rounds here and there, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. Also had some troubles hitting enemies to begin with (due to camera), so that’s wasted ammo there.

      May try a reset eventually, to see if I can complete it. If you’ve got any tips for conserving ammo / shortcuts, I’m all ears.

    2. If you go to the front hall you’ll now find a closet with a shotgun and enough ammo to maybe finish the game. You should restart though as it only takes a few minutes to get to the point you’re at currently now that you know the puzzles.

      This game is not something you can sprint through, and it’s certainly not forgiving if you waste ammo. You have different ammo types, so using the right gun/ammo at the right times matters too. There is twice the ammo you need in the game.

      Thanks for playing!

    3. Ah, how the hell did I miss that? Was that something obvious I should have seen, or can I be forgiven for that? Here I was thinking I was examining everything in the environment… :/ May have to eat my words regarding the limited ammo in that case.

      Will probably start from my save point nonetheless. There should always be some room for player error (points finger at self), so I’ll see if that’s enough to see me through. If not, I’ll start over and try it again. Thanks for the tip, sir!

    4. Personally, those games should be free, and to charge $1 is too much. This is why nobody goes to buy indie games because these type of game are really boring and subpar. A game thrown together in a few weeks cannot be good by definition. And reskinning should be stopped.

    5. @bigeasyman: The idea of ‘game length’ versus how much money it’s worth is an old battle that’s impossible to win (look at the flak that The Order: 1886 got for being 5-6 hrs. long with a $60 price tag). Ditto for the idea that a game designed in a few weeks cannot be good. Plenty of developers— and gamers— would disagree, but that all depends on the type of game being made and what its stated goal / purpose is. That’s all up to individual taste.

      As for ‘re-skinning’… I’d tend to agree. That part feels lazy, like a copy / paste job. Even if it’s relevant to the game world / story, I’m not a fan of reused assets. I’ve pointed that out to Chris a few different times, but for the most part, the games he makes are substantially different from one another. For those that aren’t, I make a note of it.

    6. “The idea of ‘game length’ versus how much money it’s worth is an old battle that’s impossible to win (look at the flak that The Order: 1886 got for being 5-6 hrs. long with a $60 price tag). Ditto for the idea that a game designed in a few weeks cannot be good. Plenty of developers— and gamers— would disagree, but that all depends on the type of game being made and what its stated goal / purpose is. That’s all up to individual taste.”

      The Order should be $30. It is not about compliance, it is about revenue. If your 3 week game makes enough revenue for you to make another then the process continues.

      Yes, this is all opinion. Reviews are opinions. Is everyone qualified to make indie games, but decide to make them anyway ? Is everyone qualified to review indie games, but decide to review them anyway ? YES. These avenues are for learning, and maybe one day we will all be working for Chris. But, I suggest he reads some white papers on programming, HLSL, gpu code, physics, sound design, software, color proofing, compliance, STLC, proper animated loading screens, multi threading, event handlers, and GC (garbage collection), verlet integration, localization, bitfields, instancing, rigged instancing, compression, white box testing, etc …

    7. @bigeasyman: I agree it comes down to revenue (this entire world comes down to money, sir), that’s why I’d question your previous statements, ‘Finishing a game in 25 minutes, sorry not worth $1’ and ‘A game thrown together in a few weeks cannot be good by definition’. You’ve clearly got the programming knowledge and know-how, so do you mean to say that if you personally created a game that was fun, that could be completed in 20 minutes or so, that took you two weeks or so to program, you would not attempt to sell or charge people to play it? Again, that might come down to personal preference, and plenty of Devs have made short-ish, demo-ish games and then released them for free (while others have not), but the games industry is a business, first and foremost. People have to eat, as they say, and that usually means selling your product. If you’re a part of the industry (or any industry), I’m sure you’re not trying to work for free. You can’t expect others to do so just because you disagree with the product they’re selling.

      XBLIG is intended as a learning experience, I’ve always said that, even as I’m on the outside looking in. But does that mean that developers should release those XBLIG games for free just because the ‘art’ doesn’t look professional, or the ‘game length’ doesn’t meet some unwritten Twitter-mandated or YouTube-mandated law? I say, emphatically, no. A bad game is a bad game, on any day of the week, at any price. But is an ugly game, or a short game1, or a game that was programmed in a matter of days / weeks, automatically a bad game? Again, emphatically, no.

      1. As a side note to this, I have criticized games on here for being short. That said, it usually goes hand in hand with the game not being any fun, or with some other kind of mechanical problem with the controls, camera, etc. I can’t say for sure if I’ve ever dismissed a game on here purely for being short, but if I have, then I guess I’m hypocritical on that point. 
  7. Feeling that Resident Evil vibe and don’t care about the old-school camera issues? I’ve got TWO codes for Real Evil to give away, thanks to Chris. Reply to this comment, and the game is yours!

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