Game Reviews

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun – A Brutally Brilliant Fusion of 40K and Retro FPS

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun is a masterful fusion of the iconic Warhammer 40,000 universe and the adrenaline-pumping gameplay of classic retro shooters. Developed by Auroch Digital and published by Focus Entertainment, this game has breathed new life into the grim and relentless 40K setting, offering fans and newcomers alike an exhilarating and satisfying experience. Being a massive Warhammer 40,000 fan, I can attest that Boltgun captures the essence of the universe with striking precision while delivering a fast-paced first-person shooter experience that pays homage to classic games like Doom.

GrimDoom and Relentless Carnage

The game plunges you into the boots of a Space Marine Sternguard, seconded to the Inquisition, a role that fits perfectly within the grim and humourless atmosphere of Warhammer 40,000. The 40K universe is a sprawling dystopian future where humanity is beset by countless threats, from xenos to heretics and daemons. Space Marines are the ultimate warriors of the Imperium, genetically enhanced and clad in power armor, devoted to the service of the God-Emperor. They’re tasked with protecting the human-dominated Imperium from these threats. Boltgun sets the stage for unrelenting carnage, pitting you against heretics, cultists, and daemons across three chapters in a dark and hopeless world. The game takes you on a grand tour of a planet, from mountainous deployments to lava-soaked forges and labyrinthine chapels. The Warhammer 40,000 universe is rich in lore, and Boltgun successfully immerses you in this lore, making you feel like a true Space Marine dedicated to the Imperium’s cause.

Tactical Depth with a Chainsword

One of the standout features of Boltgun is its inclusion of a toughness system, adding a layer of tactical depth to the gameplay. In the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game, each unit has stats like toughness and strength, which affect how they interact in combat. Boltgun adopts this system faithfully. Each enemy in the game has a toughness level, displayed alongside their health bar, and your weapons have their own strength stats. This dynamic creates an engaging experience where you must strategise and adapt your weapon choices to effectively dispatch your foes. In the 40K lore, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies is crucial to victory, and Boltgun brings this tactical depth into its gameplay.

Retro Aesthetics and Modern Conveniences

Boltgun successfully marries retro aesthetics with modern conveniences. The visuals are reminiscent of classic shooters, complete with pixelated graphics for a nostalgic feel. However, the game’s UI and text are rendered with smooth, modern visuals, a minor inconsistency that doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The keypresses and buttons are well-implemented, with the only minor quibble being the grenade controls, which could have been more intuitive.

The Glory of Chainsword and Dash

The true highlight of Boltgun lies in its chainsword and dash mechanics. The chainsword is an iconic weapon in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It’s a roaring, close-combat weapon that can tear through enemies with ease. Using it in Boltgun makes you feel like a true Space Marine, capable of dealing death at close quarters. The chainsword also allows you to pull yourself toward enemies, even in mid-air, resulting in exhilarating moments of dashing between weaker foes, all while revving the chainsaw. When combined with a dash attack, shotgun, and grenades, you can clear rooms in a whirlwind of chainsaw-revving bloodshed. These elements make Boltgun a must-play for boomer shooter fans, offering an ideal fusion of retro shooter and the Warhammer franchise.

Suggested read: The Emperor’s Finest: The Top Five Warhammer 40K Strategy Games

Praise for the Emperor

One of the game’s delightful features is a button for praising the Emperor, which adds a humorous and immersive touch to the experience. In the Warhammer 40,000 lore, the God-Emperor of Mankind is a central figure, worshipped as a deity by the Imperium’s citizens. Space Marines, as his ultimate servants, are often depicted as fanatically loyal. Boltgun immerses you in the world of Space Marines, making you feel like an unstoppable force of destruction in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, dedicated to the Emperor’s will.

A Near-Perfect Adaptation

Boltgun is a near-perfect Warhammer 40k game. The developers clearly poured their love and knowledge of the 40K universe into it, making it a true labor of love for Warhammer fans. From the weapon and enemy strength stats to the retro cut scenes, Boltgun pays meticulous attention to detail and authenticity. The game’s faithful recreation of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, along with its satirical tone, sets it apart from many other adaptations.

A Fitting Tribute to the Past

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun achieves what it sets out to do on every front. It offers a fitting tribute to the classic Doom-like shooters of the past while flawlessly integrating the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It captures the raw power and brutality of Space Marines, immersing you in a world where the Emperor’s will reigns supreme. For fans of Doom clones and Warhammer 40,000, Boltgun is an absolute must-play. It’s a time capsule that feels like an obscure MS-DOS game from 1995, a truly masterful experience in the world of Warhammer. The Emperor be praised for this fantastic addition to the 40K gaming universe. Boltgun is a pilgrimage to the heart of Warhammer 40,000’s grimdark and relentless universe, where the God-Emperor’s light shines brightly amidst the darkness of the 41st millennium.

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Wordsmith
Meet Al, the intergalactic wordsmith hailing from the wilds of northeast England. Al is a dedicated father of three adventurous boys, navigating the cosmic chaos of parenthood with style. When he's not busy herding his young padawans, Al dives headfirst into the thrilling worlds of science fiction. When the universe beckons, Al transforms into a strategic mastermind, conquering galaxies in real-time strategy games. Join him on his cosmic journey through words, wonder, wine and the occasional strategic triumph right here on Eat Sleep Game Repeat.

1 Comment

  • Alex 12 November 2023

    Great article! Besides video gaming, I’m into the Warhammer figurines too. We’ve got a local warhammer shop in our town that I make regular visits to.

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