REVIEW: Press X to Not Die

Besides the obligatory Night Trap and a half-dozen Chris Antoni horror games, I’m not well-versed in the FMV genre. I’ve never been particularly impressed with them either. They’re usually short experiences, highly repetitive, and ridiculously over-the-top in terms of both storyline and acting1. Press X to Not Die ($2.99) is all of those things. It’s also good, clean, stupid fun.

Setting the story in a nondescript suburb at the onset of a pseudo-zombie apocalypse (the type where you just know the government’s involved… and it is!), things start off with a healthy hatred of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening2 and a simple, one-button command, Press X to Not Die3.  That advice serves you well as you dodge zombie-like attackers (also a clown, and a hockey player… in full gear?) en route to various locations that conveniently advance the plot and / or invite you to watch your girlfriend shower4.

To its advantage, Press X to Not Die is readily aware of its cheesy nature and its shortcomings as an FMV game, as well as that of the entire genre. And it is in that self-aware knowledge that the game does best, phrasing its dialogue and presenting its characters all in the guise of a videogame format, giving you an adequate excuse for pressing X and / or mashing buttons to survive. The timing for these prompts is altered with the level of difficulty selected, and the game tracks your ‘score’ based on how well you do.

Press X to Not Die - Screen

Shower scene!? Denied!

To add to the immersion and mix things up, the game’s dialog changes depending on choices you make or how poorly you perform, reciting the number of deaths you’ve suffered, say, or chastising you for being a pervert. It’s a nice touch that somewhat customizes each person’s playthrough, without straying too far from its wacky pace and ‘campy’ feel throughout. There’s even a mode that gives the game a retro, pixelated look if you prefer your footage grainy (which, admittedly, sort of adds to its charm).

You shouldn’t expect longevity (probably 30 minutes to complete) or a hugely-satisfying conclusion to wrap things up (that’s saved for the sequel, natch!), but Press X to Not Die‘s tongue-in-cheek performance ultimately wins you over. It’s clearly a passion project, and with all its clever interactive bits and self-referential humor, it’s one you should happily take part in.

  1. You’re occasionally getting ‘Mark Wahlberg’ caliber acting here, and yes, that’s another rip on The Happening. Honestly, I don’t mind the guy in most other films, but here… damn. It’s just terrible. 
  2. I mean, The Happening deserves the hate, really. I can’t stress that enough. Fucking trees, man. Seriously. 
  3. Which is also.. the title… Ohhh wait… I see what you did there. 
  4. I tried to watch my ‘girlfriend’ shower twice. Purely for the purposes of this review and for science, I assure you. 

25 thoughts on “REVIEW: Press X to Not Die”

  1. Banana Bananza the most popular review?

    WTF… I mean WTF?!

    Seriously, where’s that coming from, the game doesn’t even exist any more. And it’s been up there since yesterday, I think. Seems like there’s an awful lot of people out there who fancy ‘Chicks with Banana Dicks‘ ™.

    ‘Chicks with Banana Dicks’ is a trademark of theXBLIG and its administrator, Tim Hurley. The author of this comment is not endorsed by or affiliated with theXBLIG.

    1. Whoa, I reply to my own comment. 😎

      There’s still no new releases on the XBLIG channel. I know they had some issues but thought they were sorted out by now. Ah well, time for my afternoon coffee…

      PS The last paragraph of my previous comment was supposed to be in italic. Could you fix that for me, Master Tim?

    2. It’s broken again. Sooooooooooooooooooooooo FRUSTRATING!!! I don’t think I can take another year of developing for XBLIG. When something breaks you are lucky if they even know about it during the work week (nobody looks on weekends). APOC TOWN is done but by the time they fix the current release issue there will be as many as 6 other games in front of it on the marketplace (there are lots of games in review because XBLIG is free to join now). I am almost 2 months overdue releasing APOC TOWN; what if I see a major issue that needs a patch… will I even be able to get a patch through review in less than two weeks time? The game is crazy complicated and there’s no way for me to test 3 and 4 player modes or the sheer number of playable actions/situations. I guarantee that patches will be needed.

      This is why I don’t spend six months making a game… something like this happens and it destroys a release. Remember Loot or Die? First patch made it so the game deleted itself upon downloading it, so for a month, a CRUCIAL month the game was unplayable.Sigh. End rant.

    3. @Soosh: Fixed! Haha, so now you know the exact same reaction I have when I see what some of the most popular articles turn out to be! 😀 It’s kind of depressing, but kind of makes sense, in a way. You can completely understand why some people think of XBLIG as a joke and won’t have anything to do with it.

      That one’s particularly odd, though, because like you said, it doesn’t exist as an XBLIG anymore. Must be some kind of strange Google search bringing people here, kind of like the ‘tree masturbation’ tag that used to show up as the almost-top search result. 🙂

      @Chris: I know I’ve said it before, but yeah, you guys are saints, saints!, for putting up with the service and MS. They’ve been cool with the end date for XBLIG, but the customer service part is… well, lacking, to put it mildly. Honestly I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from you and others to know that it’s a very difficult thing these days to get the game you want out, when you want it out, and how you want it out. Feels like the service has been broken or about-to-be-broken for most of the year, and I’m not just being dramatic for the sake of this reply.

      I’m looking forward to playing the game as soon as you can release it, but I will definitely keep in mind that some things may or may not work as intended. I don’t think any of us can hold that against you, given the struggles of XBLIG and being a one-man indie developer. Between all the feedback you’ve gotten, and the advice you’ve taken to heart, all the patches and fixes you’ve done for your games, I know I completely appreciate you putting up with all the crap that goes on behind-the-scenes and still continuing to release games. I may not like them all, but dammit, I still appreciate what you’re doing! 🙂

    4. Wait what? XBLIG is broken? Again? Why am I not surprised? Maybe because I broke it. Muahahahahahahahahaha

      Chris had you released it when you originally where going to and not pull it back than you game would be in the number one position and you wouldn’t be belly aching. LOL

      But serious folks. Makes you think twice before dipping your fingers in the chocolate pudding with all those years of endorsements from Bill Cosby. I did not have sex with those 100 women. They are all lying.

      And on that note. Back to the front.

      Hey anyone else having really slow loads when trying to look at stuff on the maketplace on your 360 since this last update?

      Peace out.

      Supreme Leader Tim. Here is a joke just for you.
      What do they call a lesbian dinosaur?
      A Licalotapus

    5. @Chris: Man, that must be so frustrating, having a game ready for release and it just won’t show up on the marketplace. Btw the game I’m waiting for is Apoc Town. 😎

      @Tim: Thank your, sir. Oh, and I took the liberty and googled chicks with banana dicks and congratulations, theXBLIG shows up on the first page of results, right after sites like Youporn and Pornhub 🙂

      @ImTheMetalLord: Noticed it too, the marketplace seems to be a bit slow after the last update. I’m in the UK (and no MetalLord, that’s not the University of Kentucky 😀 ), so must be a global thing then.

    6. Thanks guys. And to clarify the id@xbox people who took over are doing their best. They even worked late at night a few times to resolve issues. But the situation MS created by abandoning the platform is the real cause of our never ending issues. Every patch could break xblig because nobody tests it!

      Thanks for the support. Even if one of my games bomb I know that everyone here will give me the best possible feedback, and if it’s good, actually play with me 🙂

      But I’m not playing anything with “dick” in it… And great point metal lord. That scenario happened with RS2 remember? Lol

    7. @ImTheMetalLord: You know, I laughed harder than I should at that joke. I actually just stole a bunch of so-bad-they’re-good jokes from the internet the other day, and I’m going to add that one to the list. I know I heard it before (or something like it), but it’s always nice to pull out an old favorite! 😉

      @Soosh: Whoa, you were not kidding! So what if we’re not tops for tree masturbation anymore! We’re FIRST PAGE for chicks with banana dicks, and I couldn’t be prouder of that achievement! Couldn’t have done it without you guys! Thank you! Thank you! 😀

      @Chris: Oh come on, you’ve got to do at least one ‘boob game’! Just as a wink to all of us here and in the community. I’ll probably tear into it with a review, but still, it’d be worth the laughs.

      Oh, and I agree with you. The ID folks have been good to take XBLIG under their wing (yes, MS probably forced them to), but certainly MS deserves the blame for being the root cause.

    8. Update on APOC TOWN…

      It’s been so long since the game was released (and not put on marketplace due to xblig bug) that now I just submitted the first update to the game… which isn’t showing up under the reviews for xblig developers to review it. I wonder if there is an international conspiracy to keep this game off the marketplace at this point…

    9. @Chris: Geez, it would almost be funny if it wasn’t so damn irritating and depressing, eh? I suppose the one bright spot is the game will be in a better state when it does finally show up on the marketplace. Have you guys heard any word from the ID folks on when to expect a fix? Even a rough, ballpark date?

  2. The game is hilarious! Gotta play through it again and choose some different choices but I seemed to keep making the funny choices.

    Oh and the gore is a nice touch. I don’t think you mentioned that part.

  3. Are you going to do a “Best of XBLIG” someday, now that Microsoft announced that the service will no longer accept new games in one year and shut off for good in two years?

    1. I think my leaderboard covers the ‘Best Of’ currently (okay, okay, minus the couple games I’ve yet to add), so I think an article with that exact list copied and pasted would be overkill.

      Would I do a blowout, ‘buy these games now’ article a year and a half from now, so people can have one last chance to play some great games before it’s too late and I say ‘I told you so!’. Probably!

      But… I do plan on running another ‘Best Of’ yearly thing, where you guys can vote on the best XBLIG of 2015. The list of games for consideration will probably (and regrettably) be shorter than last years, but hey, there’s still been some gems. I’ll probably run that sometime in late November, to give it more time for new releases. Fingers crossed the next few months present something great.

  4. Enjoy over-the-top FMV games? Cheesy dialogue and ridiculous plots? Then Press X to Not Die is almost certainly for you. I have one code to give away, courtesy of the good folks at All Seeing Eye Games. Simply reply to this comment, and the game is yours!

    1. Tsk tsk tsk. He goes from ‘won’t even be trying this game’ to ‘Did I win? Did I win?’ … this guy. 😀

      Yeah, you won. I’ll send you the code in a bit!

    2. Well that is the difference between 3 bucks and free.

      Thanks again. Off to play this.

      I started watching The Happening and realized I seen it. One of those movies that are easy to forget but I think I enjoyed it for the most part. I guess I’m not to picky.

    3. I know, I know. I can’t blame you! 😀

      Yeah, The Happening is easy to forget. I actually liked it a bit the first time I saw it, but then the ‘Shymalan’ magic wore off after that viewing (think I saw it in theaters, as a matter of fact), and now I just know it for the ridiculous dialogue and Mark Wahlberg’s ‘What? No!’ 🙂

  5. OK. This review made me interested in watching The Happening and mildly curios about the game itself. Watching the trailer you posted I realized how bad the acting was and had to turn it off rather quickly. I will be watching The Happening later today but won’t be even trying this game.

    You skipped over the game that came out right before this that I’m enjoying very much. Hoping they add more stuff to it. That being Electric Racing Cars. Took me back to my childhood when I had many different slot tracks and I would build “permanent” tracks on plywood. While my friends where building railroads I was building race tracks. Sorta like Train Frontier Express but betting for me. Would be better if you could race against people online but if you have a local (or loco) friend to race against it’s a good game.

    Also finally picked up Unholy Heights yesterday. Interesting mix of apartment sim and tower defense type game. Honestly don’t have much time into it yet but I’m encouraged by my first 20-30 mins.

    Sorry for the mini reviews on this one Tim. Now that I have plenty of pace for games I’m rejuvenated on them. Story of my life in games. I’m always late to the fun. Funny thing, I’m never late for an appointment though.

    Peace out.

    1. The Happening is worth it, merely to see how having a name in Hollywood allows you to create a movie like this without much interference or oversight. Now, I like M. Night Shymalan, I really do. In fact, I’m pulling for him with The Visit, which just came out. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs— all great movies. He has the talent. Or did. Maybe he lost it along the way. Who knows. But yes, you should see the movie when you get the chance. 😉

      A word on racing games: Terribly hard to review, so that’s why I typically don’t bother. There’s only so many things you can say about them, so it’s not much of a review to say ‘you race, x number of tracks, cars, etc.’ then print. That, and I’m not much of a race fan, so that doesn’t help. :/ Everyone is different, though.

      Unholy Heights is a good one! You chose… wisely. Late or not, it doesn’t matter, as long as the good games are found out eventually. We’ve all got a minimum of two years to find them, so never stop looking!

    2. Holy smokes! You dropped an Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade reference!

      As I’m fairly certain I still have no idea how to embed a vid here, I’ll be shocked if it actually shows up without Tim’s assistance.

      All movie trainspotting aside: I am hugely surprised at this review. I’ve stayed away from all of these “horror/video/games” as I assumed they were all equally insipid and awful. How nice to read at least this game is not! It sounds like one of those much loved but hideously bad movies we all tried to make in high school.

    3. You’re damn right I did! And you posted that video… well.

      Nice work! Actually, I think that’s first video you’ve linked to that showed up without my assistance! I think you’re getting the hang of this WordPress thing… 😀 (But seriously, it’s temperamental with links in posts, so no worries!)

      Also, you nailed it with this: ‘… like one of those much loved but hideously bad movies we all tried to make in high school’ That about sums it up perfectly. Wish I had wrote that line. :/

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