Ordinarily, my twin-stick shooter skills are through the roof. At PlayStation Experience, however, I was limp as a noodle. My fingers weren’t responding to my brain, and my eyes were too focused on the half-naked elf lady strolling around the booth area. So when I Played We Are Doomed, a brilliantly simple and beautifully smooth shoot ’em up from Vertex Pop, I embarrassed myself — face full of spaghetti, drooling into a shiny red helmet embarrassment.
In lieu of stringing words together to describe how I feel that aren’t typed to the melody of a great sitcom theme song, I wrote about it to the tune of the greatest sitcom intro of the 90’s (and one of our Editor and Chief’s favorite jams).
What ever happened to my slick abilities?
My quick hands, with laser blows, clearing half-a-screen
I’m missing every single hit, but
taking just another spin.
Every square that shoots (every square)
There’s a shot (there’s a shot)
I can’t seem to speed through.
Every square that loops (every square)
There are shapes, and I need to careen, dude.
Being watched I’m scared, by a ‘dev’ that knows
there’s a laser beam ready to make me lose hope
Every square that shoots.
Hold your applause. Remember: I was terrible. The game’s a blast, though. Get it? Pew pew.
If you’re unfamiliar with We Are Doomed (shame on you), it’s — as described by developer Mobeen Fikree — a “twin-stick shooter where you zap polygon baddies with an insanely overpowered laserbeam.” And boy is it. It all starts with a short range, high-powered blaster. Then, dazzling splashes of neon drape vibrant, minimalist backdrops.
With a sword of blinding brightness, you’ll end the incessant looping and spiraling of vectorized nuisances like a spaceship-flyswatter, and in the process charge a screen-shattering explosion of dazzling destruction. Sounds a bit intense, huh? You can unclench your buttocks; We Are Doomed is as casual as it is hardcore, and you can read all about it in our review. Not much has changed since, other than its fabulous transition to consoles, so take that spankin’ score to heart.
On paper, it’s a bare-bones shoot ’em up. Online is limited to leaderboard battles between buddies, but Fikree — creator-and-everything-in-betweener — believes keeping things simple is best. It’s all about eye-level competition. Friend kill your score? Kill his. Can’t? Kill said friend. Point is: there’s no pressure (other than the hundreds of dangerous shapes parading the screen).
In practice, everything stands. Sure, it lacks Resogun’s flash and some of Geometry Wars’ pizzazz but, even as a standalone title against the odds of a crowded market, We Are Doomed offers a frantic, explosive and ridiculously addictive experience. In some cases, its polish and finesse make for something better; something that’s both a reminder of past glory and a doorway to a newfound joy. Yes, I take video games that seriously.
Conclusion: if you like risk/reward gameplay, fast-paced, action-packed [insert additional bunch of words that look like something you’d see on the back of a Tom Cruise DVD case], you won’t be disappointed. And naturally, it’s coming in glorious 1080p, 60 frames-per-second on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2015. Fikree says a Vita version will follow shortly thereafter, but there’s no hard or soft date yet. As Bert Lance once blurted enthusiastically: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Instead, buy it again. And if you haven’t played it, buy it now and then again after it releases on consoles. From what I’ve played, it’s the PlayStation 4’s next Resogun. It’s that good.