Nuclear Throne is a game developed by Valmbeer, the Dutch developers behind Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, Super Crate Box and Gun Godz. Their mission statement is clear: “Vlambeer – Bringing back arcade since 1985”, and they are doing this quite well. Their games may be different, but they are all fun to play. Where an industry titan like Ubisoft or EA develops its franchises and publishes every two years a title which reproduces the same gameplay and adds some new concepts, Vlambeer is interested in producing very different kinds of games.
For instance the shoot-them-up Luftrausers and the rogue-like action game Nuclear Throne do not have much in common, if not the excitement they provide and their irreverent universe.
The nuclear throne is the goal of the mutants you play in Nuclear Throne. You have to choose between several adorable monsters who will attempt to reach this mythical goal. Each mutant has specific abilities: the carnivorous plant moves faster and can generate roots that entangle enemies. The Crystal colossus has more hit points from the beginning of the game and can generate an energy shield that blocks attacks for a few moments. As your adventures unfold, you will unlock new characters.
Without doubt you will die and start again. Nuclear Throne is a rogue-like with randomly generated levels which still follow a precise sequence. The first three levels take place in a Mad Max-like desert where bandits, giant scorpions and voracious larvae await you. After a short trip through the sewers and their resident rats, weaponized crocodiles and irascible frogs you’ll emerge into the fresh air of a scrapyard where crows will try to beak you to death.
To beat the levels, you will rely on the many weapons you find. Revolver, crossbow, heavy rifle, gatling machine gun, laser… each weapon has a different type of bullet type and firing rate.
In addition to these weapons you will evolve, like any good mutant. By collecting radiation (small green pads that you find by killing monsters or demolishing containers) you will unlock mutations to improve your character. More hit points, more melee strength, resurrection ability, resistance to explosive or incendiary damage and so on.
Nuclear Throne’s a cool action game that will entertain you for a while. The rogue-like format will encourage you to start over and try the unlocked characters. The visuals are cute and colorful, the enemies well designed and sufficiently varied, with the presence of big bosses that appear randomly on the map. The quirky humor of the game will offer a change of pace from bleak and desperate post-apocalyptic worlds.
Why play this game: for its
humor, visuals, sound design and energy. To growl whilst shooting creatures. To be surprised by the randomness of the levels that differentiates each playthrough.
Why not play this game: if you hate mutants and hope to see them all burn for the glory of the Emperor. If the idea of restarting a game, having lost all your brilliant weapons and mutations, frustrates you too much.