Dead in Bermuda is a point-and-click survival adventure game by French developer CCCP. In it you control the eight survivors of a plane crash that – you guessed it – crashed in Bermuda. But it’s not just a straight-out slog for survival. Weird and wacky things start to appear on the island that may just lead to a ticket out of there. As with all survival games, though, it comes down to the question of whether the daily grind is enjoyable.
The game revolves around a ‘base camp’ which has a number of activity stations you can drag your survivors to. These activities can range from crafting and researching new equipment (which unlocks more activity stations) to hunting, gathering and exploring. You can also set them to chat and rest around the campfire, which is the first thing you craft.
Each survivor has base statistics such as constitution and intelligence which govern their effectiveness in certain tasks, as well as task-specific skills such as cooking, discussion and stealth. You’ll need to get familiar with their strengths and weaknesses early on to make your camp efficient. It can be a little disorienting to navigate the base camp at first, though, as the camera speed when scrolling from side to side is just a little too fast to be comfortable, but it’s something you get used to with time.
It’s not just skills that you need to keep an eye on. Some characters get on better than others and assigning two people who hate each to the same activity station other will only worsen their relationship. You can check this easily by looking at the number of hearts over the station’s information box, which will also display the efficiency of their combined skill set and progress of the current task.
Survival, as ever, is governed by the resources you collect, which at the start are almost exclusively collected from the plane crash. But the plane has a limited supply and everything will begin to run out once this is exhausted. Wood is surprisingly scarce considering the image of your base camp is surrounded by trees and stone and rope are even more difficult to come by. Less obvious is the fact that your stations deteriorate every night and every time you use them, so you have to use your precious resources to repair them.
Food is a more pressing concern, though, and one of the first stations you can build is the cooking pot. Gathering enough resources to build it before all your survivors starve to death seems nearly impossible on normal difficulty, which suggests some balancing issues at the beginning. If you want to progress but still want a challenge later, play on easy before you craft it and switch back to normal afterwards.
The day is split into AM and PM and you can assign each survivor to one activity station in each half of the day. Unfortunately cooking doesn’t seem to fit this format well, as you can only cook the food you have in your inventory and any food that is found during the PM slot will not get cooked, meaning it’s likely to rot overnight.
The four main survivor stats you need to keep an eye on are depression, hunger, injury and sickness. Hunger increases every night, depression increases with certain tasks, injury increases when attacked, sickness increases when eating raw food and all are subject to the effects of random events.
At the end of every day, your survivors all gather together around the campfire to eat and talk. A randomised piece of dialogue from one or more of them will play at the beginning of this scene and you’ll soon learn that there’s more to the people on this island than meets the eye. These discussions have a chance to make characters more or less depressed and sometimes have an effect on their other stats as well.
No matter how good you are at surviving, you’ll eventually want to leave the island. To do so, you’ll have to gradually explore the map by assigning survivors to the exploration activity, which unlocks new map tiles over time. Most of these are randomly generated with resources or actions that can help or hinder your survivors, but the important squares have NPCs you can interact with. Almost every time you interact with a square, you have to pass a stealth check or get attacked by a random monster.
Their conversations lead you through the story of the island until you reach the very last tile which, unfortunately, is a bit of an anti-climax. We won’t give any spoilers, but it requires a prefect string of skill-check successes that even with max-level skills takes a while to finish. If you even fail one check, it takes you right back to the beginning of the scene and you have to start over again. It would be better if you could make progress over time with each success you have, but that’s sadly not the case.
The ending itself is a small disappointment – although it still feels an achievement to get there – but what really spoils it is if the story told through campfire conversations hasn’t been completed yet. If that happens you have to suffer both the dissatisfaction of a so-so ending and the existence of unresolved character stories. In fact, the character stories could be said to be the most interesting piece of story in the game. Once you unlock the key to the ending you could feasibly hold off for a few days until you’ve exhausted all conversation, but that really feels like defeating the point of the game.
Illustrations complete the story and, with a relaxing tune to go with it, it’s quite a visually enjoyable game to play. The interface is consistent and, while perusing character stats can make you squint, it all feels very well polished.
The game can perhaps be completed in nine or ten hours, give or take, which means about a pound for each hour of gameplay. Considering the game itself is quite enjoyable (and even addictive on the first playthrough) as a casual way to pass the time, that’s reasonable, but don’t expect to get many more hours out of it than that. Once you’ve finished it once, even the promise of randomised tiles and conversations won’t change the fact that the game feels almost identical to the first time you played it. It’s original and it’s fun, but not particularly noteworthy.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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