October 3, 2022

You’ll never get the Tedronomicon!

Written by Oni_Metsu

I would like to go ahead and note that this is a first impression for Ted by Dawn. The information I have stated is to the best of my knowledge.

Remember Super Meat Boy and how it is a game that is hard as heck but fair for the most part? Solid controls, overall great level design and the fact that death didn’t really do anything other than cause you to instantly restart the level? The levels weren’t overly grueling for the most part, and arguably worst thing was the boss battles. It’s a pretty great game that got rave reviews by a lot of people and it still holds up to this day.

However, we’re not talking about Super Meat Boy; I just wanted to give a bit of back story. Ted by Dawn is a retro styled, platforming game developed by Proteus Pixel and released on Jun 29, 2015 on Steam for $1.99. The game features a man named Ted as he deals with the zombie apocalypse. I’ll be honest; I don’t know all that much about the game’s story for one simple reason. The game is hard. Like… I would rather play Super Meat Boy, hard.

So, what makes Ted by Dawn a hard game? Well, let’s go into the fact that starting off the game tells you it was designed with a controller in mind. The game has keyboard controls but they took a bit getting used to for me. WASD is your normal movements, ‘E’ being your grenade button and ‘R’ being your reload button while ‘Enter’ is your fire key. Now, Ted has a double barrel shotgun which means you’ll be constantly having to reload and, on occasion, you can hit the grenade key by accident… using one of the two grenades by accident. The game has no way of changing any settings from in game, which to me is a giant pain.

Next up is going to be the level design. Now, I’ve only beaten a single level (not counting the tutorial) and the reason for that is due to the fact that the game devs pride themselves on having the game be ‘NES hard’. For example, Ted dies by one hit from anything. Doesn’t matter if it’s a zombie that grabbed him or jumping on a hazard. Now the upside to this is that you restart the stage from the beginning. Not bad right? Well, yes and no. The stages I’ve played felt like they drug on far too long due to how often you’d die, restart, get a bit farther, die again, rinse and repeat.

As far as obstacles and enemies go, from what I’ve come across there have been zombies that have been hung (but they’re still alive so if you accidentally shoot them down, it can come back to kill you). You have normal zombies, fat zombies that when they die they leave an ooze like substance on the ground that can kill you if you step on it. You also have zombies on fire that run around and jump, and zombies that throw bones at a set arc. Obstacle wise you’ve got fire, barbed-wire mounds, giant buzz saws, spikes, and blocks that break underneath you. Keep in mind that this is just from what I’ve seen. But the way they’re placed is aggravating at times. An example is that imagine a bridge of blocks over spikes. Well the blocks break almost as soon as you step on them and a decent number of flaming zombies are on said bridge as well. So you’ve got to be quick with your shooting, dodging and reloading. Just don’t hit that grenade key on accident like I spoke of earlier.

Let me move onto some positives here. First off, Ted actually controls pretty well, he has a double jump and for the most part Ted’s momentum and the sort are pretty solid. As I stated earlier, when you die, the game will instantly restart you from the beginning of the level. Also there is a power up, the chainsaw, which when you pick it up will make you somewhat invincible along with mowing through zombies in your path and once the Chainsaw has reached it’s time up, Ted will throw it, causing it to explode like a grenade(it should be noted that Ted is not invincible to fire or the ooze left behind by fat zombies, as far as I can tell.)

The game does offer a few extras off the bat. You start out with a survival mode that can be played solo or with a friend. Only problem is that the times I tried playing survival mode, when I would die and try to go to the main menu my character would still move around and left me having to shut down the game via task manager. You also have a compendium that has Ted’s thoughts on the enemies and characters you find in game. The problem is that I couldn’t stand the writing. It’s kind of that annoying middle-school kid who is trying too hard to be edgy/funny type of writing.

In short, Ted By Dawn is a cheap platformer that hides very iffy level design under the guise that the game is ‘NES hard’. I honestly can’t even give an opinion on the sound quality because the game is so loud and without any in game way to lower the volume, I just muted it and played something from my music. At least the achievements are somewhat easy to get (most involve killing X-amount of zombies or just dying in various ways) and it comes with Steam Cards.

Personally I only recommend it if you’re bored, like to be annoyed and have nothing better to spend your money on. But if you enjoy games that will test your patience, then Ted by Dawn might be up your alley.