Are you ready to blow shit up? Do you want to defend the world against lizardmen, robots, blights, and fascists with guns? Lots of Guns? Let Tyler Graham, Immorpher, and I present five boomer shooters that caught our eye in September that you can play right now!
Some of these are fully released, some are in early access that you can support, and some are demos you can play for free!
Let’s get into it!
Perilous Warp is a slower-paced shooter that feels like the gross mutant baby of Doom 3 and Half-Life. The storyline surrounds a teleportation project gone wrong (because, of course, it does), and you must explore the space station to find keys and switches to open doors so you can escape! You will find PDAs along the way telling you more about what has gone down here, which you can read or ignore altogether and just kill everything because it’s fun! This game was developed primarily in eastern Europe and is appropriately a love letter to Chasm: The Rift.
Throughout the game, you will acquire rocket launchers, shotguns, miniguns, and a spinning disc of death! And you can upgrade these weapons for alternate fires too. When it comes to combat, you mostly encounter a few enemies at a time, which can feel slower than most boomer shooters, but there are a handful of sections with waves of enemies to speed up the pace a bit. There isn’t a huge variety of enemies, mostly just lizardmen with various abilities, but they offer a challenge. Sometimes enemy damage is unavoidable and not dodgeable, but health tends to be plentiful, so the game feels fair.
The game has some nice environmental effects (water is pretty!). You can break windows like a hooligan and blow up barrels to kill some enemies. The sound design is decent, with some atmospheric music and jams, although you can't adjust its volume. That kinda sucks! But if you appreciate some slower-paced action with atmosphere, this might satiate that need.
Perilous Warp is a three-hour game, and it's priced appropriately at $15. It is fully released on Steam with a free demo too!
Mala Petaka, of Indonesian origin, is a free-to-play demo that is as fun to play as it is to say! You play as 'Petaka,' a guy that feels so angry he just wants to kill every ugly green alien & annoying drone he encounters, and he doesn't know why. He lost all his memories. But they shoot you, so you must shoot them!
This game plays a lot like classic Doom with similar-classed weapons such as shotguns, machine guns, grenade launchers, and plasma guns. Alternate fires sometimes let you zoom in and sometimes let you shoot rockets, depending on the weapon class. The graphical style is reminiscent of 8-bit console gaming put into a first-person shooter with plenty of Megaman vibes. Appropriately it is paired with some bit-crunched sound effects and upbeat chiptune music. The enemies are colorful robots, like Megaman, and are completely projectile-based. Rejoice! There are no hit scanners to chip away at your health! Unlike Doom, there is jumping, ducking, vertical looking, alternate weapon fires as well. What really makes this game stand out is the use of portals. These are doorways to far-off areas that exist seamlessly in the level. You can walk smoothly back and forth through them, shoot enemies through them, or just look in amazement at them. It’s very cool!
Mala Petaka is only a short half-hour demo. The game has plenty of room to grow and get crazy with the portals in the planned full game. This is a GZDoom engine game which means it comes with plenty of options such as controller support. The demo is available for free on itch.io!
In Wrath, you play as Outlander, who finds himself on the shores of a dying world. Now you must hunt down the horrors which caused this decay. This is built in the Darkplaces Quake engine by KillPixel and 3D Realms. The graphics and sound design are fantastic, showing what a Quake engine can do. Enemies are similar to the Doom 2016 roster, where there are flying projectile monsters, charging monsters, slow prodding zombies, and such. The weapons match the array of classic shooters, such as powerful shotguns, rapid-fire guns, and explosives. You have alternate fires too, but they aren’t very useful. The “ruination blade” stands out, however. This wrist blade will dash you forward through weaker enemies and across gaps; it’s a shit ton of fun! There is an inventory system too, where you choose when to use power-ups, including saving. It will autosave between levels, and altars can save too, but you will need a Soul Tether to save at any time. Luckily there are plenty of them around if you search. It might annoy players that like to save every few minutes but keep in mind many shooters don’t have mid-level saves.
Levels are organized by hubs and can be played in any order. The difficulty will scale according to the path, which means different paths will have different enemy encounters. Levels are over an hour each in varied environments and are somewhat non-linear, reminiscent of Turok 2. But they aren’t too difficult to navigate, and plenty of secrets can be found via exploring. Players who rush through will be punished by teleporting enemies, but patient and curious players will be rewarded. It has been in early access for three years, but development has been steady. Right now, it is over 10 hours long, and for a price of $24.99, it's a good deal. WRATH: Aeon of Ruin can be purchased in early access on Steam.
Vomitoreum, created by the solo developer Scumhead, takes place in a world where a horrible fog turns its denizens into wretched mutants. This blight has spilled forth from the eldritch being Vomitoreum. Visually inspired by the works of Zdzisław Beksiński, with a blend of Lovecraftian themes and H.R. Geiger on top, the game’s dystopian surrealism creates a compelling grimdark story. You are a Nephilim, a hollow being filled with the souls of the dead, and taking back the world is in your hands!
Vomitoreum blends DNA from metroidvania and soulslike games into a boomer shooter. Vomitoreum is full of secrets, and much of the lore is left up to the player to decipher from the environments they’re traipsing through. Exploration always remains a very rewarding experience, and backtracking after finding new abilities is a must to progress. Interestingly, once enemies are killed, they stay dead, leaving parts of the world feeling like a lifeless wasteland, further adding to the atmosphere.
Some areas can be frustrating to traverse. For example, there’s a labyrinthian cave system that you need a “lamp homunculus” to move through. The lamp homunculus is an AI that follows you around… but it doesn’t always work and can plunge you into darkness. However, the Lovecraftian atmosphere of existential dread is masterfully developed, and the few level design shortcomings don’t greatly harm the final product.
Vomitoreum is short, between 2-3 hours long, but it’s a satisfying product nonetheless. If you’re looking for a lengthy game or one that focuses solely on blowing enemies into half a dozen chunks, you might want to pass on this title. But if you like soulslikes, metroidvanias, bite-sized boomer shooters, or shooters that have a decent amount of exploration, then this game is for you… The game also features the topic of sexual assault late into the story so beware if this may be a trigger for you.
“Only Lead Can Stop Them” takes place during the Spanish civil war, where you break out of jail to fight a dictatorship run by fascists. This is inspired by a real event, where the fascists ended up winning the Spanish civil war. But here, you have a chance to create an alternate history! The graphics are lower-resolution with bold colors and no vertical looking. The movement has a bit of momentum like you are a real person who needs to build up speed.
The demo weaponry consists of a sword, a pistol, a machine gun, a rifle, and a flame thrower. And boy, does the flame thrower do some serious burninating! The enemy attacks are projectile-based, so you do have a chance to dodge their bullets if you are far enough away. If you happen to get wounded, just find some serrano ham or paella to top your spirits up. We won’t spoil it, but things progressively get more occult in the game. Fear no evil, however, as your conviction will save you! Find inspiring texts, and your conviction meter will fill up, then activate it for a damage boost.
“Only Lead Can Stop Them” has simplistic graphics with sprite-based enemies, and the sounds are simple to match. The music loops strangely in the demo, but it’s some pretty good music fitting a war theme. It really feels like a spiritual successor to “Wolfenstein 3D” and “Spear of Destiny” that could have come out in the early to mid-1900s. Perhaps this game won’t be the cup of tea for those who like polished graphics and verticality, but this game will appeal to fans of early 90’s shooters. Right now, it has a free demo out on Steam that’s about an hour’s worth of gameplay.
If you can’t afford to go on vacation, the aforementioned five boomer shooters can have you traveling across the world mostly for free! But if none of these have caught your eye, then check out Boomathon.com, which has an ever-growing complete list of boomer shooters. We’ll be back again soon with our Bi-Monthly Boomer Shooter Review!