Turbo Overkill has landed on our desk and we got a chance to check it out. The guys over 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 – Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem, all wrapped in a cyberpunk pixelated world, Turbo Overkill is here to inject new life into the retro throwback shooter category. The inspiration of the aforementioned retro shooters is unmistakably present from the outset.

You play the game as Johnny Turbo, the hero of the town called Paradise. Returning back home after time away, Johnny finds out a psychotic AI named Syn has taken hold of the place. Disgusting monsters and mutants overrun the streets and rogue drones pollute the skies. Augmented crazy creatures are at every turn of the environment and it’s up to Johnny (you, the player) to fight back.

turbo overkill keyart

Movement is quick, fluid and twitchy, very reminiscent of Quake. You have various weapons at your disposal that feel like a who’s who of classic armaments. Shotguns, pistols and launchers all appear here with various secondary fire abilities alongside your standard mode of attack. 

Music and sound effects throughout are presented with no issues or hiccups whatsoever in the Steam preview code we played. Each thump of the soundtrack and squelch of the recently deceased horde you have just blasted to a million pieces feels exactly on point. 

One mode of attack is not so standard however. You must keep momentum going to baseball slide through enemies like butter with your chainsaw leg. Yes, you heard correctly, chainsaw leg. Duke Nukem only wishes he could claim such bad assery. 

Gliding into a slide through a white literal horse of abominations is quite satisfying when pulled off correctly. This is not to say the shooting is lacking by any means and any player of modern shooters will feel quite at home; a feat that classic re-releases of the likes of Duke Nukem and co cannot claim to do so easily as their mechanics, whilst cutting edge in the day, have aged more like cheese than wine.

Story wise and Turbo Overkill isn’t exactly war and peace. There is a bad guy, there are minions and there are bosses – Johnny must kill everything in his path to defeat Syn the rogue AI and that’s your lot. That aside, this is a modern take on a classic style of games and story is not needed in a cyberpunk city based shooter that equips a chainsaw to your leg.

turbo overkill Turbo Pose

In fact your (Johnny’s) entire body can be modified as you progress with modifications that can be found in-game or purchased at one of the many vending machines scattered throughout the neon lit streets and alleyways. Gun upgrades, ammo and health packs can also be found or purchased similarly at these machines also.

Talking of the side streets and alleyways, Paradise is an absolutely giant playground. Filled with platforming sections and launchpads, as you find the correct rhythm, Johnny will fly through the city like a gymnastic parkour artist in no time.

Big vertical geometry is at play here so you will be glad to hear you unlock new abilities as you progress to enhance traversal. Double jumping, air dashing and wall running are all part of the mechanics and they really are needed when scaling the heights of the city.

The heights can quite literally be your downfall as one false move and you will be begging that perilous climb up the towering landscape once more. Luckily the platforming and jumps, whilst appearing to require pixel perfect leaps, are actually quite forgiving to the player.

Even in early preview Turbo Overkill should make other early release titles embarrassed. There have definitely been many full release games that have come bundled with a lot more boggles and bumps even after the now standard day one patch.

turbo overkill leaper attack

There have been a few graphical hitches during our time in Paradise, but thankfully, nothing game breaking. On several occasions Johnny’s guns would just disappear off screen; something which could well be seen as a slight problem on a first person shooter filled with lethal enemies. Once or twice enemy fire froze too – like the time Kylo Ren froze a blaster bolt in mid-air during The Force Awakens.

Again these bugs presented nothing game-breaking as such and are sure to be ironed out in the run up to full release. I am certain the developers are aware of such small niggles and will get everything smoothed out come launch.

On the whole though, Turbo Overkill is the rejuvenation of the original 3D first person shooter. From low poly textures with modern lighting to solid shooting mechanics and modern flourishes and controls, it really does have major promise and is definitely one to look out for.

Huge thanks go out to Apogee Entertainment for providing us access to Turbo Overkill on Steam. It’s available in Steam Early Access right now and will be launching in full on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and PC later in 2022. 

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