Turbo Overkill landed on our desktop and we had a chance to check it out. The guys at Trigger Happy Interactive have been working on a rejuvenation of the classic low-poly first-person shooter with Turbo Overkill published by Apogee Entertainment.
Inspired by the classics – Loss, earthquake and Duke Nukem, all wrapped in a pixelated cyberpunk world, Turbo Overkill is here to breathe new life into the retro shooter category. The inspiration from the aforementioned retro shooters is unmistakably present from the start.
You play as Johnny Turbo, the hero of the town called Paradise. Returning home after some time away, Johnny discovers that a psychotic AI named Syn has taken over the place. Disgusting monsters and mutants take over the streets and rogue drones pollute the skies. Crazy augmented creatures are at every turn of the environment and it’s up to Johnny (you, the player) to fight back.
The movement is fast, fluid and nervous, very reminiscent of Quake. You have at your disposal various weapons that resemble a who’s who of classic armaments. Shotguns, pistols, and launchers all spawn here with various secondary fire abilities alongside your standard attack mode.
The music and sound effects presented without any hiccups or hitches in the Steam preview code we played. Every thump from the soundtrack and muffler of the recently deceased horde you just blasted into a million pieces feels exactly on point.
An attack mode is not so standard though. You have to keep up the momentum so the baseball slides through enemies like butter with your chainsaw leg. Yes, you heard right, chainsaw leg. Duke Nukem only wishes he could lay claim to such a bad arsenal.
Sliding down a slide through a literal White Horse of Abominations is quite satisfying when pulled right. That’s not to say the shot is lacking by any means and any modern shooter player will feel right at home; a feat the classic Duke Nukem and co reissues cannot claim to do so easily because their mechanics, while cutting edge in the day, have aged more like cheese than wine.
As for the story and Turbo Overkill isn’t exactly war and peace. There’s a villain, there’s minions, and there’s bosses – Johnny must kill everything in his path to defeat Syn the rogue AI and you’ll do it. That aside, it’s a modern take on a classic style of games and the story isn’t necessary in a cyberpunk city-based shooter that equips a chainsaw to your leg.
In fact, your whole body (Johnny) can be modified as you progress with modifications that can be found in-game or purchased from one of the many vending machines dotted around the neon-lit streets and alleys. Gun upgrades, ammo, and health packs can also be found or similarly purchased on these machines.
Speaking of side streets and alleyways, Paradise is one absolutely giant playground. Filled with platforming sections and launch pads, as you find the right rhythm, Johnny will be flying through town like a gym parkour artist in no time.
There’s a lot of vertical geometry at play here, so you’ll be happy to hear yourself unlocking new abilities as you progress to improve traversal. Double jumping, air running and wall running are all part of the mechanics and they are really necessary to scale the heights of the city.
The heights can literally be your downfall with one wrong move and you’ll be begging for that perilous ascent of the towering landscape once again. Fortunately, the platforming and jumping, while appearing to require pixel-perfect jumps, is actually quite forgiving to the player.
Even as a preview, Turbo Overkill should embarrass other early release titles. There have certainly been plenty of full-release games that shipped with a lot more bugs and bumps, even after the now-standard day-one patch.
There were a few graphical glitches during our time in Paradise, but luckily nothing broke the game. On several occasions, Johnny’s weapons would simply disappear off-screen; something that might well be considered a slight glitch on a first-person shooter filled with deadly enemies. Once or twice, enemy fire also froze – like the time Kylo Ren froze a blaster bolt mid-air during The Force Awakens.
Again, these bugs weren’t groundbreaking as such and will certainly be fixed in the lead up to the full release. I’m sure the devs are aware of these little issues and it will all be smoothed out upon launch.
Overall though, Turbo Overkill is the rejuvenation of the premier 3D first-person shooter. From low poly textures with modern lighting to solid shooting mechanics and modern flourishes and controls, it really has major promise and is definitely one to watch.
Many thanks to Apogee Entertainment for giving us access to Turbo Overkill on Steam. It is available in Steam Early Access right now and will launch in full on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC later in 2022.