Turbo Overkill sounds like it could be the name of a ridiculously over-the-top first-person shooter from the '90s, and it looks a lot like one too. The way it feels, however, calls back to the high-octane action of the recent entries in the long-running Doom franchise. It was one of the first games I played during my time at PAX West 2021, and it easily left one of the biggest impressions. You move as fast as a bullet train, and between your double jumps, wall runs, and slides, you’ll unleash delightful carnage from your versatile arsenal. Best of all, those slides come with functioning chainsaw legs that do exactly what you think.
An Arsenal of Cool
The premise of Turbo Overkill is pretty straightforward — it doesn't really need to be complicated, after all. You play as Johnny Turbo, a cyborg bounty hunter with a penchant for style and destruction. He returns to his home city called Paradise, only to find it overtaken by a rogue AI named Syn. Using his guns, rocket arm, and chainsaw legs, he sets his sights on Syn and its army, hoping to claim the bounty for himself.
The premise isn't exactly revolutionary, and the cyberpunk aesthetic, while very pretty, has been all the rage in recent years. However, that doesn't change the fact that Turbo Overkill is just plain fun. Movement feels crisp and responsive, meaning every mistake falls on your own shoulders, for better or worse. You can double jump, double dash, and wall run for maximum aerial mobility, so you can cause havoc from nearly every angle. Per the Steam page, you'll eventually get a grappling hook, which only amps my excitement for this upcoming release.
The sheer creativity of the weapons on display truly maxes out the cool factor here. Your primary pistol - dual-wielded magnums - work exactly as you'd expect. Yet, like every weapon I tested, it has an alt-fire. When held down, Johnny twirls one magnum around his finger while the other one locks onto enemies, charging up a powerful shot. When released, the enemies get instagibbed, turning into a satisfying pile of pixelated gore.
Other weapons are a little tamer when it comes to their alt-fire. The Boomer Shotgun, a weapon lovingly sawed off by your own leg, doubles as a grenade launcher, while the pump-action shotty lobs a chargeable plasma shot. The dual SMGs can combine into a single assault rifle, while the minigun doubles as a flamethrower. Each one feels ridiculously gratifying, and enemies react believably to your weighty hits.
Slicing Through Paradise
Beyond your guns, your mobility itself can be used as a weapon. As you move around, you can slide along the ground, putting your chainsaw out front and center. The faster you move, the higher the damage, making Turbo Overkill feel almost like Lawn Mowing Simulator but with guns and blood. As you roll around, you can still aim and shoot, giving you full autonomy over every moment. You'll want to be careful though; if you don’t have enough speed to grind up enemies, you’ll stop in your tracks. When that means getting surrounded by a melee-based swarm, that’s a quick, one-stop ticket to a game over.
The enemy variety in Turbo Overkill provides a good challenge around every corner. Some shoot at you, others run up to swipe you, and occasionally you’ll get some big boys that can do a mix of both. Aesthetically, many of these enemies feel like a demented mix of Doom's hellish vibes and the creepier side of cyberpunk. Some look like humanoids with computer monitors for a head, while others remind me a bit of Jack from Tekken.
If you're a fan of aggressive, energetic shooters, Turbo Overkill is one to keep an eye on. It opts for the most stylish way to make every fight fun, giving players full control over the moment-to-moment gameplay. So far, it's felt incredibly satisfying to slice through enemies, and I hope the rest of the game delivers the same, or even higher, level of quality.
TechRaptor played a preview build of Turbo Overkill at PAX West 2021. The game will release "soon" on PC via Steam.