Fun in small bursts.
Too slow at first.
Gets repetitive quickly.
Survival game modes have become a standard in the last seven-or-so years. Settting Call of Duty’s Zombies and whatnot aside, games such as Killing Floor have been made successful solely by the notion being extremely enticing to most gamers. It’s a gametype where a bunch of players teams up, prepares accordingly and then attempts to fend-off a host of different AI-controlled mobs. It’s man versus the machine, in essence, and it works wonderfully well when executed correctly. However, you can’t always carry enough processing power to render all of those guts and gore in real time, let alone have access to fast Internet and, well, friends to play with. Hordelicious plays with those notions with relative success, and even though it’s a rather bare-bones experience all in all, the developer’s choices are almost certainly going to reap enough rewards to finance his future projects.
The game’s been created by a single developer over the course of seven months. Therefore, it’s obvious that it’s going to be a simplistic matter, when all is said and done. That doesn’t mean Hordelicious doesn’t have a twist of its own to keep you playing for a while. The gameplay, as one might expect, consists of players taking control over their faceless, character-less ingame avatar and proceed to fire whatever armament they find at the randomly spawning aggressive blob-like beasties. The gameplay is thus kept simple, with only movement keys, an evade option and aiming on offer. Every once in a while you’ll get a potent upgrade to use, but we’ll get to that a tad later. So, WASD and mouse, with ‘space’ for when shit hits the fan.
There’s a backstory here, but it’s so obnoxiously irrelevant that I’ve decided to completely ignore the damned thing and play it for gameplay’s sake. And really, that’s the only way to play Hordelicious, because even though there may not be a whole load of content available, there’s plenty to keep you busy in short bursts. This is such mostly due to the game’s element of randomness, which is vital in gameplay. You begin each level by spawning in the middle of the given arena, armed with nothing but a simple automatic assault rifle, and one of those amorphous blobs running around aimlessly. Obviously, you take a shot and take the bugger down. The one thing I dislike the most about Hordelicious is how slowly it begins. Indeed, it takes a bit before the game turns into a real bullet hell that it is, and that means it’s too slow and boring even for the first couple of minutes. Once you get to wave seven or eight, however, things start moving and even a single mistake may well mean death. That’s when the game’s at its best, really, and its elements of randomness kick in. Namely, it’s the weapon drops that’ll be the bane of your existence here, since there’s truly a tonne of armaments that can spawn, and there’s an off chance you get a rusty SMG instead of that badass bazooka you were hoping for. I’ll argue, however, that this makes for an interesting game due to the RNG being prone to screwing one over just when that’s not supposed to happen. There are also the upgrades you gain access to after completing each wave, all four of which will also be randomly selected from what seemed to be a decent pool of interesting “rewards”. These will often also allow you to upgrade your basic assault rifle, which I wholeheartedly recommend as you’ll find yourself using it quite often further down the line. The visual changes it endures are also nice. To mention some of the more interesting armaments you’ll find in Hordelicious, there are scoped revolvers, sniper rifles, blasters, plasma shotguns and toasters to find, as well as a respectable selection of different melee weapons you’ll either love or hate. Either way, there’s a bunch of stuff to shoot or slice with.
Graphics aren’t something to write home about, as you’ve surely noticed, but there’s a certain charm to the simplistic shapes of mobs and weapons. It’s obvious that effort went into creating the game’s visual identity, and that’s what I appreciated. The same can be said for the game’s sound design, where melodies do improve on the game’s overall feel, but aren’t a necessary element of the actual game. What I’m saying is that you can play this game with sound off without actually losing out on atmosphere and whatnot. This is important, because when you take into account the game’s lightweight system requirements (it’d work on your grandma’s gramophone), its simple gameplay features and the fact that it’s a game you wanna play in small bursts, it becomes clear what niche it’s supposed to fill. Indeed, this is one of those titles that are perfect for playing on a short lunch-break, during a flight or lenghty bus ride, or really whenever you need something to keep you busy but don’t have the system nor time to play something from your usual repertoire.
To wrap the review up, I’d like to point out that the game’s extremely cheap for the amount of potential fun it offers. It’s cheap, it’s easy-on-your-rig, it’s easy to get into and it’s actually pretty damn fun. Hordelicious is then your pocket version of a prototypical singleplayer survival game you can kickstart whenever necessary. If you’re in need of one such game, you can’t go wrong with Hordelicious.
10th of July, 2015