Dead in Bermuda

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Dead in Bermuda (demo available)

MSRP: $14.99 (Steam) / $4.99 (mobile)

Platforms: Win, Mac, iOS, Android

Release: 8/27/15


I’ve had my eye on Dead in Bermuda since shortly after it released, and I found myself more and more intrigued when Dyscourse turned out to not really be the game I was hoping for.  It’s hard not to see the similarities; you’re managing a group of people on an island after a plane crash, and you’re very limited in activities per day. However, where Dyscourse seemed to set you up to fail, I feel like Dead in Bermuda really wants you to succeed.

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You’re given a crew of eight survivors, each with a vastly different skillset, and with multiple conditions to manage in a very Sims-like style, although instead of trying to fill up bars, you want to keep them as low as possible.  If any condition reaches 100, that character will die. At least early on, it’s not going to seem like you have enough characters to do everything you need to do in a day, so losing someone is pretty non-optimal.

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For the first few days, there are just enough jobs to keep everyone busy. You can set survivors to researching, scavenging, crafting or exploring.  You need to find food and water (or fruit, which you can make into juice), as well as other resources for crafting.  At the same time, you want to investigate the mysteries of the island, and of course, try to get back to civilization.

My biggest issue with Dead in Bermuda is that it tries to do too much.  Because of this, the game seemed to take some shortcuts – for example, once a section of the map has been explored, you can send a survivor there to interact with whatever you find without taking up any daily action spots. You also have to manually tend to the fire and turn fruit into juice, and you can manually cook raw meat and fish, again, requiring no action spots. While this makes the early days much easier, it also sort of feels like cheating.

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Each day consists of two controllable actions per survivor, and one night action, which always involves conversation of some sort around the fire.  You have no direct control over what happens in the night slot, and while it’s interesting for character and story purposes, it can also be very annoying, as the night action can effect characters conditions and attitudes towards one another, and in a lot of ways, this detracts from any strategizing you might do during the day.

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The developers seem to think that inserting some random elements will automatically give their game good replay value, but I can’t necessarily agree.  While it may take a restart or two to actually get the hang of the game, once you get on track to completion, you’re looking at around 8 hours of game time. That’s a lot of linear, story-based game play to expect someone to want to repeat, just to see some different dialog options and to discover things about the island in a different order. I certainly don’t expect to play it through more than once.

Which means when you consider its $15 asking price, Dead in Bermuda might be a pretty good game, but it’s not a fantastic value. The mobile asking price seems more appropriate and the game mechanics feel suitable for playing on a phone or tablet, however, the mobile release was very recent, and there have been quite a few reports of crashes and game breaking bugs.

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