Prodeus was a kickstarter project that is now in early access from Bounding Box Software, which looks to offer a modern take on the boomer shooter sub genre. Sporting work from industry FPS veterans, Does Prodeus have what it takes or is just kid gloves & finger pistols? Let’s find out…
Disclaimer: This review was originally from the Early Access release of Prodeus on PC, at the bottom of the review I’ll be discussing the Nintendo Switch version of the game which was sent to us. The content for all versions remains the same and my opinion of the game so the bulk of the review remains unchanged.
Prodeus takes place in a world of the same name, with the player taking up the role of a corruption within this world that just seeks to destroy its creator and all those poor souls that get in the way. Protagonists in boomer shooters don’t need to pontificate as to what or why they’re in the situation they are, they just need pointing to the direction of the nearest antagonist. So as expected, there isn’t really a sweeping narrative to distract you from what needs to be done.
The games games campaign does offer more than a simple linear route, with the shards collected during stages occasionally opening new areas in previous sections or alternate paths that can offer new challenges to play. The main addition to longevity would be the level editor. This allows the community to build & share levels with other users, requires a sign up to access levels from others, which will no doubt offer some hand picked by the developers too. It’s not an easy toolset to get to grips with, but is complex enough to allow to allow for stages as good as the main game.
This game goes the route of an old school shooter visually, to match up with the rest of the package, yet manages to pack in enough modern techniques that it doesn’t look out of place at all. The stages are 3D with some retro inspired texture work, with the enemies and special effects generally 2D based. Sounds 90’s enough, but what really gives it a modern edge is the lighting. The way it casts through hilariously low res smoke or reflects to your gun and onto enemies gives the game a modern sheen, also creates some nice ambience in the quieter sections. It is up to you tho, there are options to tweak the look of the game if you want less, or even more, of a retro look.
Once the shooting starts the game goes OTT visually, with a ridiculous amount of gore & effects. You really can paint a room red as enemies are ripped to shreds by gunfire, blood will even drip from the ceiling if you manage to get some up there. This action complimented by a rocking soundtrack that kicks in at the right time before shuffling away once all your enemies are vanquished. Thankfully performance seems good so far. On my system (R51600/16GB/RTX 2080ti) 4K/60 was easy enough to get done, but there’s plenty of options to tweak if you do need to nab some extra performance for a smoother or faster framerate.
As with the graphics, the gameplay here is decidedly old school. For the most part your mission will be find a relic and reach the exit whilst blasting the crap out of everything else that moves in the stage. There isn’t much else to the game, side challenges aside, other than the tight shooting gameplay. Thankfully there’s plenty of guns from pistols to the obligatory shotguns to chaos weapons, with most guns sharing ammo with those of the same type (Pistol, dual SMG & Chaingun share bullets for example) – best keep an eye on that ammo! There’s also no regen etc. So be sure to keep that health & armour topped up too.
Variety comes in the form of a little platforming or in the encounters from the various enemies and the numerous guns available with multiple firing modes – the occasional boss will chew through plenty of your arsenal as well. Exploration is also something you’ll to do. Some areas of stages can only be accessed via a colour coded door that requires to find the matching key-card in that typically old school fashion. The exploration can also be rewarding if you find a secret, usually this can nab you a weapon earlier than usual or a large cache of health/ammo. To be honest, Prodeus is pretty much how you would have expected Doom 3 to have been back in 2004, if it had followed on from Doom 1 & 2 that is.
Nintendo Switch Version + Full Game Additions.
So first off, Prodeus is now the full version so includes cross-progression via Prodeus Net, online multiplayer competitive and cooperative and the full campaign making this even more of 5* title, PC even has custom map building which you can then save and transfer to the console versions.
To say Prodeus is an impressive product is an understatement, the developer has gone above and beyond with community support and game modes, the crossplay and progression is also very unexpected but also very appreciated.
The Nintendo Switch version of the game seems to have had a slight downgrade in texture definition, animations seem to have been cut and while still a great looking title, isn’t quite the spectacle that it is elsewhere, though from its conception this is the usual trade-off when it comes to Nintendo Switch ports.
The main issue I had with the port of Prodeus on the Nintendo Switch lies solely with the erratic frame rate, initially it isn’t too bad but a few stages in it seems to jump around from 60fps to 30fps with wild abandon, hopefully a patch is in the works to cap the framerate to either 30 or push the console to run it at 60.
The major plus for the Switch version lies not only in the portability of the console but also Gyro controls which at this point are becoming the closest you can get to Keyboard and Mouse with responsiveness and make the game an utter joy to control.
If the Nintendo Switch is the only platform you can play this version on, you’re still going to have an amazingly bloody time, if on the other hand you have options make this version the last option or a curiosity sale pick up as naturally the PC and current gen versions reign supreme.
Prodeus is upfront about what it is exactly, a modern take on the boomer shooter. It looks fantastic, sounds fantastic and plays fantastic with some tight gunplay – there’s even a level editor thrown in to give the game some legs. Very minor quibbles & no multiplayer aside, this is a 21st century 20th century Doom clone that anyone who sampled 90’s shooters should be able to wholeheartedly enjoy.