One of the most underappreciated game genres to date is the retro dungeon-crawler shooter. Impaler is a quick but replayable first-person shooter that you can purchase on Steam for $2.99. This game, which was created by Apptivus and released by Retrovibe, takes us back to the early 1990s when Doom was just getting started.
I am extremely pleased by the team’s attempt to build such a classic shooter with modern gameplay mechanics in a game that was produced in a bespoke engine in C and OpenGL. Here is a quick and to-the-point review of Impaler.
Presentation & Gameplay
Impaler brings us into a simple pixel castle dungeon with ten levels plus a boss level. Your main goal is to survive against hordes of enemies while taking advantage of the environment, such as exploding barrels and jump pads to wreak havoc. You can also summon spikes to skewer demons and heal yourself.
I liked that they’ve put so much detail in a simple shooter, adding some fog and lighting effects to enhance Impaler’s atmosphere. Plus, the gunplay almost feels like I’m playing a 3D shooter but only using 2D (or 2.5D) pixel art.
The devs also implemented the soft particles, volumetric effects, bullet penetrations, and ricochets pretty well. And don’t get me started with the soundtrack. It was one of the reasons that I got hooked on Impaler, even if I hop in for a short playthrough session.
Weapons & Upgrades
For every level you clear, Impaler gives you a chance to receive one or two upgrades depending on how much gold you collect from the level. Each upgrade color has its corresponding upgrade category, and these are the following:
- Yellow: Gold upgrade
- Orange: Gun upgrade
- Green: Spike upgrade
- Purple: Mind upgrade
- Blue: Crate upgrade
- Pink: Body upgrade
You are also treated to several unlockable weapons as long as you accomplish the objectives. Currently, you can have six primary weapons to choose from, with your Impaler as your secondary. These weapons are pretty easy to unlock after a few hours of running and gunning:
- Rocket Launcher
- Plasma Gun
- Assault Rifle
Did I also mention that this game also has bullet time? I’m honestly amazed at this price point you’ll get to feel like playing Max Payne or Neo at some point, and I liked how they added this mechanic to Impaler.
Activating bullet time requires you to be on a killing streak. If you pick up upgrades along the way, you can be an unstoppable slayer. It’s not Devil May Cry, but I’ll take it. The boss fight is pretty easy to beat, too, once you get used to the loop.
Impaler is one of this year’s underrated gems in the retro shooter category. The mix of old-school Doom with a hint of roguelike mechanics is a perfect recipe for gamers to hop in for a quick shooting session. I just wish they would add more content in the future, but it’s also understandable if they don’t.
After all, it’s only less than $2.99. If only they could pull off similar game loops to Vampire Survivors, Impaler could’ve gotten a higher rating.
We hope you enjoyed our review of Impaler. If you want to get this retro shooter to go about your busy days at work, get it on Steam.
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