A slice-of-life game about a demonic punk rock band having a quarter-life crisis? Dead Pets Unleashed is exactly like my cup of tea, or rather, a fizzy concoction of Red Bull, battery acid, and popping candy. After launching a Kickstarter campaign, developers Triple Topping have released a Dead Pets Unleashed demo so players can get a taste of the highs and lows of band life and, after playing the demo itself, well worth checking out . For this one, you’ll want to crank up your speakers.
You play as Gordy, a demon in his thirties and the bassist for the punk rock band Dead Pets. She is also someone who seriously needs to get her life back on track. Gordy lives in a crappy apartment and can barely afford the rent. He is determined to have one last shot at musical success with Dead Pets before the band finally breaks up. The game is a mix of real-life drama and band management sim as you try to help Gordy get her things together while juggling her pushy parents, part-time job, romantic interests and keeping the members of the band together.
From the very first scene, where Gordy is recovering from the world’s worst hangover, Dead Pets Unleashed has an incredible atmosphere. Void City is full of eccentric demons and cool underworld locations, where everything is super colorful and visually loud. You bounce through various locations in the demonic capital – dingy diners, independent record stores, greasy hot dog stands and the like – trying to keep the balance in Gordy’s life.
Triple Topping loves their minigames, and their previous Welcome To Elk game was full of them (like the one where you have to thaw a corpse. Seriously, you should) and Dead Pets Unleashed is the same. Some are as simple as watering your plant or running a shift at the restaurant for some quick cash, but others are completely wild, like fluffing your hot dog with worms and maggots, or washing Gordy’s dildo in the bathroom sink. It’s very in-your-face and incredibly chaotic.
I left every band practice feeling like someone was going to town with some drum sticks in my brain so for punk music that’s a plus
The best minigame is during band exercises. It’s a rhythm game where Gordy has to thrash her bass in time for approaching projectiles that fit into the story. The targets are sometimes bills from her landlord or love hearts from some boring dude she once dated, and she has to crush them all with her bass. The music, unsurprisingly, is very punk rock and is actually quite good. Good enough that I left every band practice feeling like someone was going to town with some drumsticks in my brain, so for punk music that’s a plus.
Underneath the game’s in-your-face attitude lies a broader story about Gordy’s personal problems. As a 30-year-old, she has to make tough decisions about her future, something we can all relate to. Gordy is desperately clinging to her punk rock lifestyle, but she’s slowly realizing that she probably needs some stability in her life and all the banality that comes with it, like keeping a job and settling into a relationship. I like that there’s a heart underneath all of Gordy’s anarchic bravado.
The demo shows off great what Dead Pets Unleashed will be throwing out, and I’m excited to play more. You can check out the free demo on the game’s Steam and itch.io page.