One weird demo out of the whole Steam Next Fest has charmed me, and for reasons I rarely get charmed by: It’s delightfully janky, strange, referential, and crude. Apocalypse Party is certainly chasing the roguelike action trend, but it’s so off-beat and willing to let you craft absurd combos to slaughter fantasy zombies and monsters that I ended up charmed instead of repulsed.
There’s not really a plot here. You’re some kind of interdimensional mercenary plucked by an angelic capybara from the brink of death to rescue a fantasy kingdom by defeating three demons. There’s no coherent aesthetic though. Weapons you find are as likely to be an assault rifle or machine gun as throwing knives or lightning spear or magic, returning throwing shield. Characters are like, a Hong Kong cop, a king, a gladiator, or some nerd.
One guy is just a football player whose power is to run into people and deal damage based on his movement speed. It’s the kind of game you’d see many accuse of being an asset store flip except they’ve somehow turned that weird kitchen sink into a playable whole.
But I ended one run as this bargain bin Hong Kong John Wick wielding four guns: A machine gun in my hands, assault rifle hovering over my shoulder using The Force, a sniper rifle possessed by a demon over my other shoulder, and, finally, a shotgun nestled firmly between my butt cheeks. The flavor text implies you pull the trigger with your sphincter. I cannot—nay, will not—explain this.
Apocalypse Party is a bit janky, but when has a bit of jank stopped a game from being great? It’s perhaps far more often that a bit of jank makes a game great. You can find Apocalypse Party on Steam, where it will launch next month complete with co-op play.
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