Turbo Overkill has a much smaller budget than Doom Eternal, yet it somehow reaches the same standard id Software set with its devilishly fun, addictive, and fast-paced shooter. This is not to diminish the quality of id's work -- Turbo Overkill is simply that damn good.
Releasing in Early Access is Turbo Overkill, a frantic, action-packed, and utterly insane retro-style FPS where you take the role of a cyborg hero with a chainsaw attached to his leg and bloodlust rivaling that of the Doom Killer or Duke Nukem. Publisher Apogee calls it their "most savage FPS ever," and this is one instance where the marketing isn't lying.
Slip and Tear
Like any good FPS, Turbo Overkill takes no time to throw you headfirst into the action. And much to my delight, the coolest weapon in the game is already at your disposal. No, it's not like the BFG or any gun for that matter, but a whole chainsaw on your cybernetic leg. You can slide into enemies and tear into them. The more momentum you have -- like if you go down a steep slope -- the more damage your chainsaw deals. While you're given conventional weapons like pistols, shotguns, and the like, it's when you combine both your leg and guns you achieve FPS Nirvana.
Later on, in this Early Access build, I unlocked missiles that lock on and shoot out of my arms, as well as other cybernetic abilities such as wall-running. The stream of upgrades is steady and the pacing, as a result, is excellent. There is truly never a dull moment in Turbo Overkill.
Of course, the guns themselves are marvelous to use. Weapons have alternate fire modes -- some you may have to unlock at vending machines -- and each one completely changes the way a gun is used. Your pistol can lock onto a bunch of enemies and first a huge burst that explodes any poor soul in its way. The shotgun shoots out a charged ball of electricity that stuns (or gibs) enemies as well. As you go on, you'll unlock more weapons like a minigun and double-barreled shotgun, so you have FPS staples that all have a unique twist.
I can sing Turbo Overkill praises all day when it comes to its gunplay, and I could certainly do the same for its level design. The chainsaw leg I mentioned? The way in which levels are designed in Turbo Overkill perfectly complements this ability. There are areas that resemble skate parks (and some arenas are quite literally skate parks) where you can zoom around and cut into dozens of enemies. It's pure bliss! Levels as a whole are a perfect mix of linear and non-linear, with some sections offering a clear path forward and others that may require a bit more thinking to proceed. FPS staples like colored keys are present in Turbo Overkill, but they never feel overused or in your way.
I was mesmerized by a certain level that introduced a whole new way to play. You're able to fly around in your own space-car-thing armed with machine guns. It reminded me so much of those levels in Halo, when you're given a flying vehicle like a Hornet in Halo Reach's New Alexandria or Halo 4's Shutdown. You're given a whole new way to play, yet it feels so seamless with the rest of the game. There are times when you'll have to hop out of the vehicle and fight on foot, only to return and fly to the next objective towering high above the city. I wouldn't be surprised if developer Trigger Happy Interactive took inspiration from these sequences, and it's implemented wonderfully.
The gameplay in Turbo Overkill is, as far as I am concerned, near flawless. Heck, there's even a gene-splicing mechanic where you can upgrade your current cybernetic capabilities. It adds so much flavor to the already deliciously good gameplay. While there are two instances where I was softlocked, that's forgivable seeing as it's an Early Access title. Otherwise, this is such an impressive outing for the studio. Oftentimes it's gameplay that can make up for shoddy visuals or presentation value, but that is not the case here. The visual quality matches that of the gameplay, and I can't decide what I like more.
The aesthetic for Turbo Overkill is so mesmerizing. It takes place in this cyberpunk, vaporwave-like city that has a sort of dystopian feel. There's blue soaking the entire skyline of the city, neon palm trees, and goofy advertisements painting the buildings. All of it is done in this low-poly style to emulate old-school shooters but never fails to look modern all the same. There's also a lot going on the screen at any time, with dozens of enemies filling up levels around you in many instances. My machine performed wonderfully, which leads me to believe Turbo Overkill is already a well-optimized game.
The soundtrack is the perfect companion for its visuals. Its tracks consist of a mix of sick rock-and-roll and electronica. The score really pumps you up and is quite varied among all the levels I played. Some Early Access FPS titles like to stick to a few songs on endless repeat, but my ears were always treated with something fresh in Turbo Overkill. You know, the soundtrack actually reminds me of Doom Eternal's DLC quite a bit -- the soundtrack composed by Andrew Hulshult. As Hulshult is my favorite FPS composer, this is high praise, indeed.
If this were a review, I'd give Turbo Overkill a perfect score. I've never given any game a perfect score, at least not officially as a reviewer. I just enjoyed it that much, the FPS lover that I am. I try to give feedback to developers while writing an Early Access preview, but the only thing I can really say is, "Keep it up." Turbo Overkill has a clear vision, and no doubt it'll be executed perfectly.
TechRaptor covered Turbo Overkill on PC via Steam with a code provided by the publisher.