via 3D Realms, Fulqrum Publishing
A PC code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. Ion Fury: Afteshock will be available on October 2, 2023 for PC.
As someone who usually sidesteps the boomer shooter genre entirely, Ion Fury: Aftershock comes as a pleasant surprise. Despite its futuristic setting, the game drips with nostalgic ’90s vibes, from its punchy graphics to the melodious grunge and rave-pop of its soundtrack. It’s like stepping back into 1996, booting up an eMachines PC, and diving headfirst into a game from yesteryears. Yet, it’s very much set in a neon-tinted future.
Following Shelly Harrison’s previous adventure, we’re immediately thrown into a thrilling chase as she goes after her nemesis, Heskel. Aftershock wastes no time getting down to business.
’90s boomer shootin’ with modern elements
3D Realms, Fulqrum Publishing
From the get-go, Shelly’s revenge quest against Heskel feels enhanced. Sloped sprites, a feature I didn’t know I needed, adds complexity to the visual design. Whether it’s the laser trails or sparks from enemy fire, it’s a delight to the senses. The inventory pocket system, allowing two powerups at a time, offers strategic depth I didn’t expect from this type of game. And the powerups? Chef’s kiss. From the health-regenerating Parasite to the time-slowing Energy Drink, there’s much to explore and exploit against the hordes of enemies you come up against.
Oh, and the weapons? They’re everything you’d expect from a retro FPS. The Homewrecker, with its plasma-homing missiles, is as overpowered as it sounds. The exploding rounds for the shotgun make it feel like a shotgun-grenade launcher hybrid, while the inclusion of Gas Grenades adds a surprising strategic element to the traditional guns a-blazin’ approach. You’re not just bursting into rooms with reckless abandon; you’re planning, adapting, and THEN going in guns a-blazin’.
Along the way, whether you’re chuckling at the ads for fake brands (that seem suspiciously familiar) or getting a laugh from punting the decapitated heads of your enemies (don’t judge me), Ion Fury: Aftershock keeps things light. The retro charm meets modern wit in a perfect marriage of game design and narrative.
Packing plenty of firepower
3D Realms, Fulqrum Publishing
For all its firepower, Ion Fury: Aftershock isn’t shy about ramping up the challenge. The Elite Cultists with their flammable rounds are menacing foes, while the Laser Bots, unapologetically pulled from 1986’s Chopping Mall, will keep you on your toes. Developer Voidpoint manages to keep the challenge curve steep yet rewarding.
Then there’s the hoverbike. Imagine a high-octane chase, wind blowing through your hair, Homewrecker in tow. Sounds thrilling, right? While the bike sequences infuse a much-needed pace change, the controls feel pretty tad loose. Perhaps it’s deliberate — the overall game’s controls feel very loose — adding to the challenge, but I found myself yearning for tighter handling during those high-speed moments.
During my playthrough, I came across a few glitches such as voice lines feeling ubrupt and unfinished, as well as enemies that seemed to be trapped underground with me being unable to escape their damage-inducing hits. That said, it seems that the team is aware of the pre-launch issues, which hopefully means a more refined experience when Aftershock officially launches.