Ever wake up, everything slightly blurry and confusing, and have to stagger off to do your job? Now imagine there are zombies, you’re on another planet, and all you have to defend yourself with is a hand-held industrial mining drill. Doesn’t that sound fun? If you think so, you should try out Supplice, a new game from Mekworx, currently in Early Access.
An FPS that shares its inspiration on its sleeve, Supplice puts its own spin on both a common story idea and classic gameplay elements.
The game begins on the exoplanet Methuselah; a particularly lush world with lightly poisonous waters. Humanity has colonized this world, and many others, with the use of Flux Gates, machines that can open portals between distant planets. Unfortunately, it seems as though we don’t have a monopoly on them, as a brutal alien force has launched an invasion through Methuselah’s.
Zorah Null, is a newly arrived colonist that finds her co-workers have been mutated into gun-wielding zombies and leapfrogging monsters. With the colonies’ dedicated security AI suspiciously offline, it falls to the science AI Charon to guide Zorah and other survivors to safety, a task that is made all the more complicated due to the fact they’re glitching quite heavily.
The first few levels see you fight your way through a number of locations, from vegetation filled labs, to a small city and an attached space port. You are directed to complete a number of objectives via text consoles, usually involving the colony’s malfunctioning systems.
Each level has three keys, blue, green, & orange, that are needed to progress. Speaking of keys, each level hides a number of hidden areas often hiding interesting secrets that you’ll need to put some work into finding. My favorite involved a hatch that only opened when you stood in a specific spot, I was initially unnerved by the seemingly random sound of opening and closing, before I realized I needed to shoot the revealed switch to open the locked area.
You might also find yourself back tracking quite a bit,both to complete objectives, and to search for secrets, as well as to find loose ammo and health when you’re running low. It’s possible to get turned around quite easily. While you can bring up a mini-map to help, your character’s location can still be quite hard to find. Although levels don’t have any loading zones, the map is split up between different floors and areas.
Over the course, you pick up a number of weapons, each with differing and unique situational uses.
The handheld drill is your “default”, with a short range but capable of unleashing powerful bursts that damage multiple enemies while also knocking them back. Unlike other weapons, the drill recharges over time instead of requiring ammo. Of ammo, there are only a few types that are shared by multiple weapons. The rifle shares it’s ammo with the powerful minigun, but the minigun wastes ammo rapidly, often leaving you to pick and choose between your main weapons. A push-pull of choice and risk, crowd control or accuracy and power. . The amount of ammo you can find varies quite dramatically, meaning if you over use a weapon, you might have to spend half a level searching for more ammunition.
With monsters hidden directly behind doors, or appearing on paths you thought cleared, the game has no end of jump scares. A lot of my time spent in combat was either running away, or desperately trying to find where I was being shot from.
When the ghosts showed up, I was firmly convinced that the developers were using the terror to get their player’s adrenaline going.
Health and armor pick-ups have similar scales, going from capsules that restore a small amount, to larger ones that fill up your entire bar, and rare ones that boost its maximum amount. A similar pick-up increases the amount of ammo you can carry at once, while another boosts your damage during a brief “rage state”.
One thing I dislike about the game, is the soundtrack. Where the standard for a good FPS is a soundtrack filled with energy, tempo, and power, Supplice’s music instead makes you feel like you’re going for your daily jog. It lacks the kick that a high pressure kenetic battle with aliens should have in the genre.
The art style is very retro, almost distractingly so. Many times when I first encountered an enemy, I had to take a moment to understand what I was seeing, which at a distance can almost be impossible. Thankfully, most enemies have a recognizable silhouette that you can use to recognize them. As for the non-entity art, it’s quite stunning, despite a lot of more drab colors. There are a lot of little details, and not just in the base visuals, there is a great deal of environmental storytelling, mostly used to tell the aftermath of some previous encounter between friend and foes.
The game runs on GZDoom, an engine derived from the original Doom’s system ZDoom. Starting out originally as a mod for Doom, Supplice adding new content, before being picked up like other popular mods as the basis for this final new game. All this means is that, in a detached way, you are playing Doom.
I suppose the real question is, can Supplice run Doom?
Supplice is excellent, with exciting gameplay and an interesting world to explore. I’d recommend picking it up if you want something aesthetically old school, with a fresh feel, and plenty of explosions.
- Fun gameplay
- Interesting Story
- Challenging secrets
- Levels can be confusing to navigate
- A lot of backtracking
James is a Life-long gamer, University Game Design Course Graduate, Aspiring Writer, and Pun-Enthusiast.
He knows he also drinks waaaaaaaaaaay too much coffee.