Ever since the release of titles such as Doom and Duke Nukem, the popularity of fast-paced first-person shooters has seen a steady rise. The indie scene is home to a plethora of games that scratch that old school itch while having their own personality that sets them apart from others.
While each game in the genre has its own style, there are a few key points that they all share that gives them a similar feeling. Things like Minimal huds, A plethora of enemies to take down with an abundance of weapons spread throughout the maps, and fast-paced gunplay accompanied by a soundtrack that encourages constant movement. Turbo Overkill has all of these and so much more, but unfortunately is hard to enjoy for those sensitive to all sorts of camera movement.
Turbo Overkill has seen a recent update which brings us chapter 3 and while I would love to be able to dive into what all chapter 3 involves, it pains me to explain that I hardly made it out of the first chapter. The frantic gunplay and constant movement along with various graphical errors made it hard to stomach any gameplay sessions that lasted more than an hour. I forced myself to struggle through each level and often left the game running while I went to lay down, hoping to sleep off the nausea brought on by the wave of enemies I just faced. With this said, I was not able to touch any of the content past the first intro level, let alone Chapter 3 and everything it brought to the table. To my understanding, this update brings us new levels and story content as well as some new weapons to take enemies apart, so if this game catches your eye then just know there is a lot of fun to be had here.
We are put in the cybernetic shoes of Johnny Turbo, an enhanced mercenary who is tasked with taking out a rogue A.I. plaguing paradise city. This A.I. known as SYN, has turned the city into a landscape filled with all kinds of monstrosities for us to take out. As we gun down hordes of enemies, we will uncover more information about SYN’s motives, as well as quirky one-liners from our trusty flying car named Sam. The story has an interesting premise and is one that I would have loved to see through to the end.
The gameplay of Turbo Overkill is where things start to ramp up, since we will see all sorts of monsters and a plethora of weapons to take them out with. Instead of having an open world to run around, we are given huge levels to traverse with multiple secrets to unlock. The enemies we find range from dudes with guns to giant, multi-legged creatures with all sorts of weaponry attached to their disfigured limbs to take us out. As we go through each level, we will be introduced to new monsters that will become staples in the horde of enemies that will stand between us and the end of the level.
While there are keys to pick up and some minor platforming to get around, the main thing we will be doing here is dumping as much ammo into the enemies as fast as possible. Unfortunately, some of the enemies do feel like bullet sponges, so there are moments where you will be focusing fire on one enemy for a little too long. We are given a pair of pistols to start off with, but almost ten minutes in, I was rewarded with a new gun. I was surprised to see the rate at which I unlocked new weapons, since I had at least six new weapons within the first hour or so of gameplay. This meant that I was able to rotate weapons when combat started to feel stale. The gun play is tight and there is something satisfying about watching an enemy explode into a cloud of gore when using the shotgun before mowing down the rest of the crowd with the dual SMG’s.
Each gun has an alternate firing mode that can be bought at one of the vending machines that you will find across the levels. Since there is no aiming down sights like a modern shooter, the alternate fire is mapped to the left trigger if playing with a controller. Pressing the left trigger will have you charging up your shotgun for a more powerful shot or ditching the second SMG in exchange for better distance and accuracy. That mini gun you’ve been toting around? The alternate fire turns it into a hefty flamethrower, and that just goes to show just how expensive these upgrades are, almost doubling the amount of weapons you will find during the course of the game.
Outside of upgrades for our guns, we can get pickups for Johnny himself that will do things such as boost damage output or reward us with shields and health when we use melee to take out enemies. These pick-ups have certain slots in each limb they can be plugged into, and each limb as 3 slots for upgrades. My personal favorite was the shield and health boost that I got when performing melee kills. The reasoning for this is because Johnny doesn’t have the usual melee attack, but instead is able to slide around the arena with his chainsaw leg to dispatch enemies. There were multiple occasions where I would run into a group of enemies with hardly any health and walk away in better condition than when I started. These upgrades can be found in some of the secret chests that are tucked away in each level, while the more basic ones can be purchased from a shop. I do wish that the shop that I purchase these upgrades and the shop that installs them were rolled into one place, but this could have been remedied in later chapters.
The game is fun and that is evident right away. There is no time wasted with a lore dump, and we are thrown into combat right away and are introduced to the world around us. Unfortunately, the fast-paced gameplay makes it hard to take everything in. Jonny jets around the map at high speeds, and slowing down only made me feel like a sitting duck in combat.
When I found myself fully immersed in the combat, things felt fluid and tight, but once the dust had settled I could feel the nausea kicking in. I dug through the accessibility options and while there are different types of crosshairs available, I could not find an option to make it brighter. Having something to focus on would have potentially helped with motion sickness. There were sliders to turn down the flash that happens when you pick items up and there were a variety of FOV sliders, so I am left confused about why there is no ability to give us something to focus on to help ease that sickness.
There were options to adjust vehicle combat and I would have loved to experience those first hand, but the speed at which the game plays makes it hard to enjoy for those who struggle with motion sickness. For those who enjoy this style of game, there is a lot to enjoy here, from cheeky writing to visceral combat.
Turbo Overkill is a wonderful love letter to old shooters that helped establish the genre while adding a fresh coat of paint.
Xavier grew up playing classics like Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Silent Hill, so the indie scene has been full of love letters for him.
A perfect day for him includes hours of grinding out levels and exploring creepy hallways in scary games.