I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
As a self-professed agnostic heathen, I am quite possibly the last guy to quote the good book, but through the course of playing WE ARE DOOMED
, Vertex Pop's maiden voyage onto the Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program, I couldn't help but have that passage run through my head over and over again. With each round, with each success, with each death, I kept coming back to the thought that the experience was so plainly mediocre in every possible way that it made the notion of average feel like a boring pejorative.
WE ARE DOOMED Colors and mayhem abound.
is a twin-stick shooter that works with one simple mechanic in which you kill enemies and attempt to pick up a single type of power up called a Trinket. Picking up Trinkets increases your score multiplier. Pick up enough of them and your SUPERBEAM, the game's only power weapon, becomes charged. When activated, the SUPERBEAM acts as a longer distance, higher intensity version of the game's standard (nay only) weapon and is capable of taking down most enemies in short order. As one would expect from a twin-stick shooter, WAD
also throws in a few different types of enemies that behave differently, but this minimal variety, coupled with the lack of weapons and powerups, leaves the game feeling shallow. WAD
also features two different game modes, "Waves" and "Endless", both of which are self-explanatory. The addition of leaderboards provides some incentive to come back for higher scores, but that is the extent of the replay value. This along with the aforementioned lack of depth are the prime factors that keep the game back from reaching higher echelons of excellence.
SUPERBEAM may not need the Caps Locking
For an experience with little depth and variety, the game's presentation doesn't go above and beyond either. While WAD
's bright colors are nice respite from the days of brown-green-grey shooters, the screen does tend to get overly busy and it becomes hard to decipher what is the ambient shape of a conquered enemy or obtained Trinket and what is an enemy that still needs dispatching. Furthermore, the game suffers from audio hangups when multiple sound effects play at the same time, causing a nasty skipping noise. Finally, the game's music echoes the rest of the simple presentation in its minimal style. The saddest part is that other games of marginal depth at least offer some aesthetic options, be it selecting a different music track to play or a different twist on the visual style, but WAD
If the lack of depth and customization weren't enough to convince everyone but the most ardent of twin-stick fans to stay away, the game's achievements pose an equally taxing challenge. Featuring only twelve achievements, WAD
puts a high price and ratio on some pops that will drive completionists batty. While the game does offer a few gimmes like completing Wave 10
and collecting every Trinket drop in the first ten Waves
, the game's difficulty really spikes after Wave 10 and the prospect of hitting the next plateaus (at Wave 20
and Wave 30
) seems daunting. If simply advancing through the waves isn't enough challenge for the masochists amongst you, you can still take punishing solace in the fact that there are achievements for completing Waves 1-30 with all lives in tact
and reaching Zone 8 in Endless Mode with all lives in tact
. Needless to say, you will be grinding, hoping, and (most likely) swearing for quite a while if completion is your goal.
Your completion percentage may also be doomed.
It needs to be said; WE ARE DOOMED
is a perfectly playable game. It works well, completionist achievement gripes aside, and gives fans of twin-stick shooters another option for their library, but aside from that is completely disposable. It presents no new ideas, no new takes on the formula, and simply iterates where others have sought to innovate. Unless you're one of the most ravenous twin-stick fans on the planet, this is easily worth a pass.
- Solid Twin-Stick action
- Bright and colorful
- Little depth of gameplay
- Few options and customizations
- Hard completion for non-experts
The reviewer spent approximately ten hours with the game, playing both modes and unlocking six of the game's twelve achievements. The copy of this game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.