Boomer shooters are great, and I love them—I really do—but why can't there be another theme other than just "kill demons in some Hell-like environment?" It's getting old, and I'm ready for something new. Conversely, Viscerafest, is an appropriately named Boomer shooter now in Early Access that has so much personality, originality, and it even makes me feel giddy at the thought of blowing aliens up.
Viscerafest Lives Up to its Name
Viscerafest isn't a super dark, serious game like Doom or Dusk. Rather, it infuses humor and lightheartedness into its gameplay and narrative, making for a fresh and exceedingly fun new FPS title. The first act of Viscerafest is out now with more on the, and my first look left me impressed.
What draws me in with Viscerafest is its setting that takes place far into the future. You'll get to explore a space facility inhabited by aliens in the first act. Using vibrant, very bright colors with its purples and greens makes you feel like you're in some alien spaceship—one that you certainly don't belong in—and this vessel reminds me a lot about Halo in that regard. Believe me, I loved it when you took the fight to the Covenant in Halo.
Viscerafest doesn't beat around the bush and throws you right into the enemy's stronghold.
While I like the setting and colors, I am not the biggest fan of the art in general. The environments are fine enough, but the enemy sprites, weapons, and certain aspects of the environment are far too pixelized. I realize that many old shooters like Doom and Shadow Warrior have sprites in the same way, but the art in Viscerafest resorts to blocky sprites with fewer pixels than its predecessors.
I can get used to the art to some extent, as the gameplay more than makes up for that downside. Viscerafest is tough as nails and doesn't mess around with difficulty. Enemies are quick and smart, and their projectiles really whittle away at your health and armor fast. If you stop to shoot, you're done—this shooter truly embraces the art of strafing. With a wide array of different enemies, you'll constantly come across new challenges and different scenarios that'll push you to your limits.
You'll be equipped with a pretty diverse range of weapons, from a pistol to different shotguns and even a green blob thrower. But for as powerful as guns are, your fists are themselves a fearsome weapon. You'll need to switch between using weapons and melee if you want to survive because ammo pickups are very finite. There's a slight strategic element to combat by switching between both weapons and bashing enemies, and it also adds to the difficulty greatly. Getting in close is so dangerous in Viscerafest, but you have no choice when you're running low. It's a very simple and fun premise that works well in this title.
The level design is also very impressive and I have no qualms about it. Levels have different keys that you'll grab to unlock new doors, all the while requiring players to go from room to room in order to proceed. The arenas in which many of the battles take place are fun and complex. These rooms might have hazards like lava (or perhaps it's toxic waste?) and exploding barrels. Everything seems meticulously placed and no room felt the exact same.
I also admire how many areas in the ship have a purpose. I fought through a cafeteria, locker rooms, bathrooms, and more. The bathrooms, for instance, have working showers and toilets that you can interact with. I even came across a showering alien that I then punched into a pulp.
It's a funny game, and the little details all add to the charm of Viscerafest.
The charm also shows in the story. The narrative is simplistic and still in the works since only one act is available, but so far it is a story infused with humor. The protagonist is sarcastic and has funny quips for situations involving the alien enemies. Some of the aliens themselves speak lines of dialogue in a shrill voice right before you punch them into bits. There's even some surprises in story that proves Viscerafest is more than a standard sci-fi shooter. There are elements of Lovecraftian horror elements thrown into the mix that makes me all the more excited to jump back in once new parts of the story are added.
Viscerafest Will (Hopefully) Be Pretty Damn Good
Other than the visuals, which are more a matter of taste than an objective statement, I have to turn back to difficulty for a second. During my time with Viscerafest, I was on the second-lowest difficulty. I'm pretty competent with shooters of this caliber and I don't struggle to complete them. I think, however, the developers should look at balancing it out a bit. I don't want Viscerafest to be too easy, but the thought of tackling the other difficulties would mean I'm in for a rough time.
Difficulty scales not just with how powerful and aggressive enemies are, but also through ammo drops. I'm hoping that ammo drops become just a bit more lenient. Or maybe armor could become more effective at blocking damage. Your character is not strong by any means and it's very, very easy to die quick. That said, if you're into brutally difficult shooters, you'll be right at home.
Otherwise, Viscerafest is a rip-roaring good time. I can't wait to see more acts and unravel the narrative that shows so much promise. I want to tackle new enemies, see different environments, and enjoy the act of blasting goofy aliens. It's already got the formula for success, so now with a little spice, Viscerafest is one shooter you need to keep your eyes on.
TechRaptor previewed Viscerafest on Steam Early Access with a key provided by the publisher.