In 1993, Zombies Ate My Neighbors quickly became one of the year’s most acclaimed games, thanks to its challenging Gauntlet-style top-down action, sense of humor, and simple yet addictive gameplay, among other things. Unfortunately, it’s rushed sort-of-sequel Ghoul Patrol left people unimpressed come the following year, and the series hasn’t been revisited since. But one would think such a beloved game would spawn a proper tribute to it, and yet all we’ve received since then is 2007’s tepid Monster Madness. But now developer Tuned-Out games is aiming to help give us a proper successor to ZAMN in the form of the top-down twin-stick roguelike game Demons Ate My Neighbors (or DAMN), which is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter.
To help promote DAMN and its Kickstarter campaign, the team has released what they have described as a cross between a short horror movie and a ’90s Sega ad, complete with ’90s cheese, Toejam and Earl, and even Macaulay Culkin assisting with some voice over work as the mysterious Mr. Out (Mac will also provide a voice for the game proper as well, along with Adam Harrington, to name a couple of contributors). Set in 1991, the game has you playing in single-player or co-op as two teenagers, April and Joey, who find themselves as the latest member of The Watch, a secret society devoted to protecting their town, Fairweather Valley. And when a cursed VHS tape ends up leaving several of the town’s residents possessed, it’s up to our duo to help exorcise them.
Much like ZAMN, DAMN sees our heroes armed with squirt guns to defeat the demons (albeit holy squirt guns now), with different nozzles and effects, as well as household items to arm themselves with. The choice of weaponry actually determines the fate of the bosses you fight, either delivering them with hi-fi weapons or damning them with lo-fi weapons. Each defeated boss earns tokens that be traded for permanent upgrades to be used in future runs, where you’ll keep rescuing citizens, defeating demons, and looking for treasure until you’ve defeated all of the invading horrors, including the sinister ice cream man…
Tying in with the game’s setting and time period, Tuned-Out have set an initial fundraising goal of $199,100 for DAMN. Certain stretch goals are yet to be revealed, but at $225k, an in-game beastiary is unlocked, and at 300 and 400k, the game will receive XSX and PS5 versions, respectively. Backer rewards include copies of the ’80s and ’90s-inspired soundtrack by Lee Topes and others, stickers, 3D glasses, figurines, even bomber jackets and giant plushies. So far, Demons Ate My Neighbors looks like a terrific odes to LucasArts’ classic, and if all goes well, then we’ll get to see it on at least the PC and Switch in 2021.