Apogee, the house that built titles such as Duke Nukem, Rise of the Triad, and Monster Bash is now ready to unleash its latest foray into the world of First Person Shooters. It’s time to talk about Turbo Overkill.
Go Johnny Go!
You’re placed in the Cyberpunk future that is more and more commonplace in gaming. In Turbo Overkill, you play a bounty hunter contracted to hunt down a rogue A.I. called Syn in an area ironically called Paradise.
Johnny Turbo is your name and overly killing everyone is your game. You have a talking, flying car called S.A.M and a Chainsaw attached to your leg. it’s not exactly Cyberpunk 2077‘s engrossing world-building and deep lore. It’s more Demolition Man meets Universal Solider, but with even more gore.
Turbo Overkill is currently in Early Access, with only Episode 1 of 3 available. While there isn’t a whole lot of story so far, it does hint at a much bigger picture. Towards the end, there seem to be more ghosts in the shell than initially thought, certainly more than previous Apogee titles of yesteryear.
Turbo Overkill is billed as a throwback shooter or as the community lovingly call them a “Boomer Shooter”. I would say this ticks all the boxes to qualify pretty much from the get-go.
The controls are buttery smooth and give you complete movement on the floor and in the air from the off. The only ability you still need to unlock is wall-run, and that is only available on certain platforms.
Turbo Overkill is a very kinetic shooter which seems to be falling into its subgenre as of late. A healthy mix of platforming and a reliance on keeping on the move gives this game a very similar feel to titles such as Doom Eternal, Shadow Warrior 3, and Ultrakill.
To aid you in your mobile endeavors, as previously mentioned Mr Turbo has a Chainsaw accessory which reveals itself whenever you slide. The idea is to build up some speed, hit a slope, and Tony Hawk your way through the hordes with ease.
The movement is fantastic. Double-jumps married with slides and quick dodges just feed into the chaos of being bombarded with missiles and bullets dispensed by the corrupted citizens of Paradise. You may not be able to take much damage, but if you get the movement down you won’t be taking any!
I Call Shotgun
A good measure of a Boomer shooter is how fun and unique its arsenal is. Turbo Overkill has a fun and functional approach to being a lord of war but nothing unique.
You’re met with your usuals. There are Pistols, SMGs, Shotguns, and a Rocket Launcher. All come with Alternative Fire which turns your sawn-off shotgun into a grenade launcher, mini-gun into a flamethrower, and your pistol into a headshot machine with shades of the Lawgiver from Judge Dredd. It’s a fairly standard armory that’s raised a little higher with your leg chainsaw and the ability to fire rockets from your hands later on.
The weapons all handle well and there is a good amount of feedback. The pump-action shotgun isn’t terrible but is made up for by the sawn-off.
As Johnny Turbo already has the chainsaw modification it’d be a waste to just stop there. You find money from enemies killed to buy augments or even keys to unlock hidden chests with augments in. Find one of the in-game vending machines and you’ll be making “improvements” in no time.
The augments you can get in-game can be applied to either leg, arm, or head and tend to change variables within the game, such as damage amounts.
Turbo Overkill goes the old school route with its health and armor system being pickups rather than automatically regenerating. You can buy health as well as finding it. Want to change things up? You can get augments that spawn pickups from chainsaw use and enemy kills which furthers that kinetic gameplay and makes you play much more aggressively than you would in a traditional shooter like Call of Duty or Gears of War.
Welcome to Paradise City
As mentioned earlier you get access to Episode 1 in his Early Access preview. This sees you exploring the streets of Paradise, wall running across rooftops, and even a section where you control S.A.M and fly through some sewer works.
The whole run took me around 5 hours my first time and this was partially me exploring the massive levels, taking screenshots, or dying over and over again as the game took the training wheels off in the later levels.
What stuck with me throughout my playtime with Turbo Overkill was both how great the game feels, and that it felt more akin to classic shooters with well-designed levels. It doesn’t just feel like arenas held together with corridors.
Anyone who’s played Duke Nukem 3D or any of the “Build Engine” games know that it’s very possible to create amazing levels with fantastic boomer shooting action and Turbo Overkill is now the 5th title I feel manages to capture that mix; The others being Dusk, Ion Fury, Amid Evil, and HROT.
Visually Turbo Overkill pulls something that I can only describe as wizardry with its Quake 2 inspired character models and textures. Somehow it manages to make them some of the most visually appealing you’ll find in the whole genre.
It’s so tough to describe when the character models and textures are distinctly generations ago but linked with lighting effects and other visual tweaks, it produces something that stands up quite well with other titles of a more AAA lineage. Heck, I’d even go on record to say this is frankly THE best-looking throwback shooter bar none.
The enemy design ranges from non-descript zombie-like runners to more grotesque machine/man hybrids. The further into Paradise you go, the more you see the reaches of Syn’s corruption.
Each enemy is distinct from each other and all have audio and visual prompts for appearance and incoming attacks. While not the most expansive roster currently, what they have here works well for the current product.
What little voice acting there is works and the soundtrack is mostly upbeat “techno music” mixed with the roaring sounds of heavy metal. It’s a great soundtrack and one that I enjoy listening to while commuting. This is something very rare when there isn’t any sign of Andrew Hulshult or Mick Gordon involved.
Turbo Overkill may be in Early Access but what is on offer already outdoes a lot of throwback boomer shooters with the future looking even brighter than the neon lights that soak the streets.
Taking the best aspects from Doom Eternal, putting them into brilliantly designed, organic feeling levels, and wrapping it in a Cyberpunk presentation makes Turbo Overkill quite an appealing offer. The fact that the game is $19.99/£15.49 is insane when games double the price can’t match the fun or quality on offer here.
It’s great to be able to say Apogee is back. While the Duke is locked away in the Gearbox Mines, the team at Apogee has managed to recreate that attitude in a modern setting with one of the most satisfying first-person shooters on the market. The best part is that this is only the beginning!
TURBO OVERKILL IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Apogee Entertainment for a PC review code for this title.
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