Saturday, March 22, 2014

PC Spotlight #82: Nuclear Throne

Title: Nuclear Throne
Developer: Vlambeer
Platforms: PC
Price: $12.99
Here's a confession: I wasn't much of a fan of Vlambeer games until recently. Super Crate Box and Ridiculous Fishing were certainly fun, but didn't blow me away the same way it did some reviewers. But then I played Nuclear Throne.
It's easy to see why people listen when Vlambeer's cofounder gives a talk on game feel; they've mastered that extra subtle element of making addictive gameplay that just fun and satisfying to play. Nuclear Throne is a bullet hell action shooter/roguelike set in a post-nuclear wasteland, where mutated beings all vie to control the titular nuclear throne. In this case, "vying for control" means choosing a character, picking up weapons, and killing everything. As an action roguelike, Nuclear Throne is incredibly solid, offering dozens of varied ruthless enemies to kill and even more bullets to evade. From a screwdriver to a bullet-deflecting katana, to the pistols and shotguns and machine guns and grenade launchers and crossbows, there's a vast arsenal at your disposal; each character's special ability, such as slow motion and dodge rolls, add your tactics. Perks chosen when you level up provide another layer of complexity.
But the action itself is what drives Nuclear Throne and Vlambeer has absolutely nailed that aspect. Weapons just feel powerful, each different and unique. Using a crossbow and shotgun is vastly different from katana and rifle. Weaving between projectiles, while mowing down enemies and collecting new weapons, desperately dodging bullets while you only have one health point left, it's challenging, hectic, and oh so addictive.
Between its charming pixel graphics, frantic bull hell chaos, punishing roguelike challenge, and myriad weapons, Nuclear Throne is always fun and never less than thrilling. You can purchase the game on Steam or through the developer's site.

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