FPS Indie Review

Prodeus – Review | Frantic Fun with Firearms

Recently, it seems that retro shooters are making a comeback. Not just with the new reboots of franchises such as DOOM, Wolfenstein, and Shadow Warrior, but amazing indie throwback titles that have been popping up around, like Dusk, Ion Fury, and Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, just to name a few. All of these bring the essence of what made classic FPS games so iconic and fun: fast-paced action, satisfying guns, and an enjoyable experience above anything else. Prodeus that released into Early Access this November is no different.

Intense Action

Gameplay is fast and intense, very intense. There is not a moment when you’re not running around, shooting enemies, dodging their projectiles, swapping weapons, etc. The brutally satisfying combat can keep you entertained for a while and it is very fun to control your character with tight movement and powerful guns. 

Sadly, this intense action falls flat with the game’s disregard of pacing. You most likely never spend more than 20 seconds without shooting at a crowd of people to the sound of explosions, metal rock, and screams of pain – except for when you’re stuck in a level after killing everyone and don’t know how to progress, which does happen far more often than I’d like. Too much action ends up boring the player. Without a few seconds to just chill the hell out, shooting, dodging, screaming, and dying all the time become monotonous, and that’s not helped by the checkpoint system chosen by the game.

Prodeus - Gunplay

Saving and Scoring

Saving the game is possible when you reach a certain checkpoint on the map and, from there, you can die as many times as you want and just respawn at the same location with everyone you’ve killed already dead and all the progress you’ve made, saved. So you have this intense and fun combat that gets boring over time and a save system that takes away the punishment from dying. What happens is that, after some time, you kind of dissociate from the game and start playing just for the sake of finishing the level. I caught myself actually yawning during firefights, and that was in the highest difficulty. As a matter of fact, I played the same level on Ultra Easy, Medium, and Ultra Hard difficulties and it had very little impact on my enjoyment of the game. The difference between the lower and higher difficulties is that in one of them you occasionally have to go back to a specific spot on the map and run back to where you died to continue fighting. 

Normally, I’d question the developer’s decision not to add a conventional save slot system like most classic and retro shooters similar to this, but it seems that the reason is that Prodeus, as much as it is a retro FPS, wants to be a game focused on high scores. My guess is that it’s supposed to encourage players to perform well in the game and get a higher score by getting fewer deaths, more enemies killed, secrets found, and so on, but it just didn’t make me care! I doubt most players of this type of game care too much about their high score, just playing the game without worrying about a vague number at the end of every level. Sure this might be some people’s cup of tea, but I feel like, in its desire to have global ranks, Prodeus forgets that it could be experienced like a regular game of the genre too.

And look, at least if it had a fun combo counter that compensates you for doing stylish moves, I’d understand. As is, it just feels like the high score system is executed rather poorly, and because of it, the entire game suffers. Not just the checkpoint system used to accommodate it, but the rest of the level design too. Since Prodeus is so focused on shaping its levels in a way for players to be constantly replaying it, seeking the highest score, they don’t offer anything to give you a break from all the action, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Other frantic games often give us a few moments of silence before being thrown into the next arena, be it a hallway with only a few enemies, quiet areas that lead to the next combat scene, or even separate stages where all you have to do is talk to someone. Prodeus just constantly shoots wave after wave of enemies at you without ever giving the player a moment to breathe. It’s a pity because Prodeus does have some very interesting and creative level design choices. The level “Descent”, for example, is amazing at progressively building tension that is relieved with an epic battle at the end. I could never truly appreciate the levels though since I was bored to death of the combat most of the time. The lack of decent pacing is frustratingly annoying because Prodeus is a really, really damn good game under the aneurysm-inducing chaos brought by it.

With all of that said, however, I believe the game can, indeed, be enjoyed thoroughly if you play it sparingly. Personally, spending more than 40 minutes with it is enough to get bored, so try playing maybe one level or two at a time, and then come back after a while. That way, you can get the most out of Prodeus. If I didn’t have a deadline to finish the game and write a review about it, I’d have taken twice as long to complete it. It is still, however, a problem, since I can play other similar games for hours without getting bored.

Prodeus - Chaingun

Bloody Murder

A good thing about combat is that you’ll be killing all types of enemies with every type of gun. From space zombies to gigantic dogs and blue gooey flying creatures that spawn more blue gooey creatures, the huge array of options will never underwhelm you. And everything looks very nice too, especially the details. Enemies will have their limbs falling off if you shoot them, projectiles have all kinds of different particle effects tied to them and blood will paint the walls dynamically. It’s all just great. It’s evident that the developers worked on every single tiny detail to make everything as impactful and visually engaging as possible. The 3D models converted into 2D pixelated sprites work beautifully in the purely 3D world with reflections, shadows, and light beams. The game is visually unique and brings the best of classical shooters’ art style and modern graphics. The areas all look distinct but follow the same gritty art style the game has going for it, alongside probably the most blood and guts I’ve seen in an FPS so far. Prodeus is probably what your granny thinks when she hears about violent video games.

Rip and Tear to the Beat

The music is amazing. Seriously. Delightful violent metal rock coupled with electronic sounds and even what feels like industrial instrumentals at some points. Just brilliant. Guess who worked on the soundtrack? Andrew Hulshult (alongside James Paddock). This is the guy who composed the music for, Dusk, Amid Evil, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, Quake Champions, Nightmare Reaper, and DOOM Eternal’s most recent DLC: The Ancient Gods Part 1. The man’s a goddamn legend. No wonder he nailed the OST. It fits so well with the overall aesthetic of the game that only someone as experienced as he could have done it so perfectly.

Speaking of audio design, non-musically, this game sounds nasty. And I mean that in a good way. Guns all sound beefy and you can feel the impact of everything around you, really contributing to the gritty atmosphere the game possesses. As strong as the guns feel, though, the enemies can be a bit bullet-spongy. Sometimes a giant dog will go down in a single shotgun blast, other times, it takes three or four shells to kill it. It feels arbitrary in a sense, especially in higher difficulties, where you’re more vulnerable than ever. Maybe it’s because the game won’t stop throwing shit at you, massive groups of enemies can prove to be quite the ammo dump.

Killing Options

The good thing is that you have more than enough tools to rip them all up. There are about 10 different weapons currently in the game and they all have their different uses. In some situations, you just might need a sniper rifle that’s also a DPS gun when not aiming, in others, maybe a minigun will do just fine. From a plasma machine gun that can tag and autoshoot enemies to a remote-detonated rocket launcher, Prodeus’ guns are some of the most interesting I’ve seen in a while. In the first few levels, you’re probably going to use the shotgun more than anything, both because it’s the weapon with most ammo scattered around, and because the four-barreled shotgun (you heard it right, four, how cool is that?) is unlocked much later in the available portion of the game. The other options are there, but the ammo is too scarce to use abundantly. That’s not a bad thing, as the shotgun is probably the best for most situations anyway. It does good damage, can be charged to fire a shot that will set enemies ablaze, and judging by the range of that thing, it might as well be called a sniper rifle. It’s good to see inspiration from classic titles, if there’s one thing the original DOOM taught me is that any range is shotgun range.

The one thing I have to complain about the weapons, however, is the selection UI. It sucks. It’s a blocky selection grid that’s annoyingly clunky to use. Moving your mouse to select the preferred gun is awkward and takes more time than it should. I feel that the developers should really just add a selection wheel like in most games anyway. I don’t understand the decision to make this particular aspect so odd.

Community Content

Oh, and I just can’t finish this review without mentioning Prodeus’ community-created maps! The main menu has an “online” option that leads you to a map browser and gives you access to all kinds of levels done by many different people in the community. For an indie game, it has one of the most advanced levels editors I’ve seen in a while. Intricate and complicated maps, like Truck Surfers 2 that takes place on moving trucks and comes complete with all types of fancy scripted events and sequences just go to show the extent that the level editor can be used.

From a recreation of DOOM’s E1M1 and its zigzagging bridge over toxic sludge to SquareSpace, a clever spin on the gameplay, that turns Prodeus into a puzzle by using kill triggers inside a cube, (referencing the classic movie “The Cube”), this powerful editor can be used for nearly anything. Also, the developers seem incredibly supportive of community-created content, as seen in the tutorials available on their Youtube Channel and mapping challenges promoted in the Steam Community hub.

Prodeus - Burning


All in all, it’s safe to say Prodeus is a great game on a good path. Despite having some pacing problems and questionable design choices, it’s clear that the developers have put much love and attention into every aspect of it. And if you finish the campaign and still yearn for more, there is always a huge array of creative community created maps and a powerful built-in level editor tool, supported by people who seem to truly care about the community.


Platforms: PC
Purchase Link: Humble (Steam/PC)

Looking for more FPS games? How about checking out BPM: Bullets Per Minute?

Many thanks go to Bounding Box Software Inc and Humble Games for a PC review code for this title.

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