Filled with demons and traitors alike, Graia is a planet that has fallen under the influence of chaos, and the Inquisitor has tasked you with cleansing it of evil. Climb aboard your ship alongside a small handful of your battle brethren, and take down the planet. Disaster strikes when the dropship encounters miscalculations, forcing you to crash. You pick yourself up from the wreckage, and discover that your comrades have been killed by the crash, leaving you as the sole survivor. With nothing but your trusted words, you embark on your crusade to purify demons…
Boltgun is what it calls Zoomers Boomer Shooter, which is a first-person shooter fest where your character moves at a fast pace, and you have to shoot anything that appears on the screen. It’s a really simple concept, starting with id Software classics Doom and Quake, then kind of disappearing, before being revived in the last five years or so with games like Dusk and Amid Evil, and then iterated in recent examples like HROT, Cultic, and Perverted Cruelty Squad. .
Boltgun puts you in the rough shoes of Malum Caedo, sent by an investigator to a planet full of chaos. Your first weapons are the titular pistol – your workhorse for the duration of the game – and a chain word for close combat.
Unlike, say, Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, where playing as Titus made you feel huge and unstoppable, Boltgun sets a relentlessly fast pace. Caedo races across the battlefield, eliminating all tainted enemies before they can do the same to you. Later on, you’ll get other iconic weapons from the franchise, like the satisfying Melta-Gun that vaporizes enemies and the Heavy Bolter that chews up enemies and ammo alike.
Enemies in Boltgun are varied, and there are a lot of different types of demons to hunt down. From the Flamers of Tzeentch, the god of chaos and sorcery, who squirt fireballs in your face, to the Pink Horrors of Tzeentch who attack you and deal damage in close combat.
They are complemented by traitorous clerics who act as cannon fodder. Ultimately, as you swipe through nefarious creatures and dig deeper into the planet, you’re faced with a real challenge: the first Chaos Space Marine Terminator. Like you, this enemy can take just a few shots, returning just as much firepower. Chaos Space Marines on their own aren’t much of a threat, but taking on so many of them takes more than just evasiveness. Different jumping platforms help you in the form of rocket packs that propel you from one platform to another. You have the option to run, which, combined with your walking speed and quick jumping, can send you rocketing from wall to wall, which is exactly what you need to take down your pagan brethren.
Boltgun also looks stunning, with great lighting and 3D environments, while the enemies have a chunky art style that looks like high-resolution 3D models rendered with a meaty pixel shift. Even the cut scenes are gorgeously rendered, from the falling dropship planet detailed in bright flames to the static-filled screen of the Inquisitor communicating with you.
The sound design is crisp and clean, with pistol shots rattling as they hit the target, while the plague demons will make you grimace with their grim, squishy noises. The soundtrack keeps your adrenaline pumping, with guitar chords tuned to industrial vibes during the game’s quieter moments, and a choir dynamically singing over synthesizer beats as you engage in gunfights.
Boltgun’s story is told through voice-overs, with Skulls servo being the main narrator throughout the game. As you move through the environment, Servo-Skulls offers dialogue and observations on the planet, joking humorously about the harsh working conditions faced by human workers there. They give us a glimpse into the world of 40K without breaking the pace of the game. The game’s environments are exquisitely detailed, with metal towers snaking across mountains, and vast factories that fueled the Imperium Wars before Chaos forces captured them.
Boltgun blends style with substance. Heavy, fast-paced and extraordinarily colorful on 40k, this Boomer Shooter manages to make a statement in an increasingly saturated genre.
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