Developed by Apptivus and published by Retrovibe (publishers of Project Warlock 1&2), Impaler is a first person minimalist arena shooter with some rogue like elements, in the vein of Devil Daggers. Is it a cheap and cheerful title or should you just save your money? Let’s check Impaler out.
Impaler starts as a relatively easy time, you’re given a weapon and an arena then you’re let loose on waves upon waves of enemies. However the first spin here is your alternative weapon, impaler pretty much lets you impale your enemies with an infinite amount of spikes. You can summon these spikes from the floor and these will damage or finish off your enemy.
Within your arsenal you get the usual fps tropes, you start with the basic SMG, the further you progress with kills and waves of enemies the better chances you have to unlock the rest of your arsenal most of these will be unlocked within a couple of hours of playing, being unlocked via different methods of kills and progression in the game. Luckily each weapon doesn’t have its own distinct clip size, however you do have a weapon heat bar, if you just hold attack you’ll overheat the weapon and be unable to use it for a while making you be a bit more tactile in offense. The only negative here is that there’s only 7 weapons (including your spikes), these are all your usual standard fare, 2 automatic weapons, a shotgun, plasma rifle and a few more. I would have liked a bit more variety or something a bit more unusual within the setting of the game.
Speaking of which you’re only in one area for the entire game, which is a dimly lit hall. However the more waves we encounter in the game we get some changes in how you can manoeuvre the area, at times some additional jumping hotspots will appear, which will let you navigate higher to get some extra kills in, and sometimes you’ll be blocked by large pillars, and you’ll occasionally be put up against circular saw blades tearing up the floor. You’ll have to have your wits about you the further you progress as these will come thick and fast.
Movement feels pretty nice with a decent double jump added in for some extra sleek skill moves, because of the movement you never really feel too overwhelmed, a tactical jump or bounce on a pad can take you out of danger with some ease, there’s also a bullet time mechanism which will increase your damage and get a good few focus kills, and if you fall from a greater height you’ll automatically do a ground pound attack which will beat a few nearby enemies. Your usual boomer tricks are here with both rocket and spike jumps also giving you that extra air you need.
Enemies come in a good few varieties again these get more difficult and frequent the further you progress, with evil angels and grub looking things among the foes, you’ll need eyes in the back of your head if you want to see the end, however their doesn’t seem to be a massive array in tactics dispatching these enemies however, some might just need a bit of a spike before some unloading your weapon into them. Most of these enemies are pretty well designed with some Quake and Hexen vibes being a huge influence here, if this was your gaming era this aesthetic will definitely draw you in.
Each time you defeat an enemy you’ll gain some coins, coins as per most games mean you’ll be able to purchase or use these in your further quest. You’d be right in thinking this, at the end of each wave you’re given an option between 2 power ups to keep for your entire run, these can be added onto an array of things, your health, damage/weapon output, spike buffs. There’s a decent amount too, with a nice table showing what you’ve unlocked previously and what still evades you.
Visually it’s nothing remarkable but again if you’re into your boomer shooters this will fit right in with a common aesthetic and a good few lighting effects, and audio sounds pretty meaty when you’re tearing through the waves of enemies, and the soundtrack is remnant of some nice gothic synth jams, almost to a point of Castlevania but not quite at them levels.
Impaler might not hit the highs of Devil Daggers, but it’s pocket money, and for a good few hours you’ll find yourself lost in this gothic world impaling everything in your way