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Welcome to the deserted wasteland that is now known as the Western Wastes. After nuclear fallout rendered those who once called themselves citizens of California into radiation-imbued maniacs, many have risen from the metaphorical ashes to form gangs of raiders and killers. Though various factions spawned from the rubble, they have all come to share a common goal: get wasted. Naturally resources are few and far between. What remains of the once steady supply of alcohol quickly turns to gold for the survivors who seek it and its newly radiated side-effects. Your mission is to venture through scientific preservation compounds known as CoolAir Coolers in order to loot, kill, and indulge in the best beer bullets can buy. These compounds are scattered all across the Western Wastes in different parodical locales based on cities of real-life California. See the "sights" in places like Suckrimento, Vague Ass, Anjuless, and many other aptly named locations.
Right off the bat you are thrust into a long-winded yet gripping introduction to not only the basic backstory of the game, but also the beginning of your character through enjoyable animations and even a character creator. Immediately after you decide your terribly dated haircut among other features, the Tutorial begins. In the tutorial, you are faced with three bandits who steal your scant items and leave you to die as they head down to the first cooler that you start right outside of. Naturally, they attempt to bar you from following them, but end up failing miserably due to their outright incompetence. After learning the ropes and defeating your muggers, you move on to the main part of the game by exploring further into the depths of the cooler. As far as tutorials go, it's very talkative. The points of action you as the player get to experience are very easy and somewhat compelling from an entertainment standpoint. Despite all the text boxes you are required to click through, the tutorial doesn't stain the game with annoying information that you could have done with or without.
The Main Game
If you are someone who is accustomed to first-person shooters (or even third-person shooters), the initial handling shouldn't veer too far off from what you are comfortable with. You get gun, you aim gun at enemies, you shoot enemies. 1-2-3 easy, right? Well there's a catch: a time-limit. Now before you drop your interested smiles, the time-limit isn't going to end your whole run abruptly if you take too long. The timer given is in actuality a warning of a greater, more threatening enemy that is borderline impossible to defeat without excellent amounts of experience or a semi-well known glitch. This enemy is called the S.O.B. Purifier, who wields nothing but a gigantic minigun and a passionate disposition towards your mere existence. He is one of the slower enemies in the game and only appears after 3-5 minutes spent on the floor (plenty of time to explore most of the floor and get out). As long as you can travel at a decent speed, you will likely escape to the next floor of the cooler with your life. That is, if you can handle the regular enemies that inhabit these coolers. They're easy once you can trace their movements, but you may have a hard time if you're just starting out. I know I did.
You may be asking yourself at this point how this really constitutes as a game deserving of the title rogue-like. For fans of the genre, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed with this game. It fills in most every bubble on the Rogue-like test sheet with a lot of fan-favorite components. In the game, you get plenty of opportunities to save loot for future runs in courier boxes (over-glorified mailboxes) that are generated randomly on each floor after the third floor of the first dungeon. There are other ways to save your gear too. There are the occasional bottles of bright green booze that will knock you unconscious and teleport you back to your home where you may then store your items. Keep in mind, however, that drinking these will always give you what is known as a "hangover effect" that will more often hurt you than help you. If you're a risk-taker, you can always completely finish a cooler, wherein you will leave with whatever loot you decided to keep, as long as you were able to defeat the boss that resides in whichever cooler you explored through. Speaking of completing coolers, you also get a pretty neat bonus kit from each one. You will have to choose from a selection of three different kits for the one that you feel will best compliment the rest of your game. They can be as useless as a few mannequins that you can dress up in gear at your house, or as great as a permanent money printer. The game also works similar to Rogue Legacy with a functioning permadeath feature. Whilst this feature isn't as transformative to your character, it definitely provides more incentive to staying alive.
Graphics and Audio
This game is full to the brim with 80s references and allusions to the Fallout series, as you will notice almost immediately upon booting up the game. From the decent voicing of 80s vernacular, to the cold hard truth of radiation and wasteland surrounding you in most every setting, those familiar with either of this games major reference sources will be able to appreciate the effort exerted on this game's end. The overall look of the game isn't quite as enjoyable to look at as other games in similar genres (hell, The Binding of Isaac is borderline grotesque in nature yet maintained a cutesy and attractive look to it just the same). The character design reminds me of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker but with shotty color jobs, comparatively blockier character models, and an even more drastically disproportionate head-to-body ratio.
Not to say this game is the ugliest I've seen/played/etc. I quite enjoy certain aspects about this game graphically, such as its comic book-esque faces, the general environmental context-pieces that provide you with a better atmosphere and feel as to what the world has become, and so on. If you get crafty enough at the game, I'd definitely recommend taking in the game's surroundings for yourself to get a real grasp on things. Just don't grind up against corners or walls, as you may find yourself seeing through walls at the edges of your screen. Definitely not optimal for a game that isn't even in Early Access.
The game's music heard via radios scattered across the cooler rooms portrays a silly and somewhat satirical take on 80s tunes, with at least 3 different [and surprisingly well-made] tracks that hearken back to the times of Footloose and the general feel of love songs that come from the era. Obviously they're no match for the songs they mock, but I have come to find myself hanging around in a room a little too long at times just to hear what was playing on the radio. The sound effects of the game in general are well executed, at times even satisfying. Honestly, WASTED is one of the few games I don't mute the music to when playing it in my free time.
WASTED: A Post-Apocalyptic Pub Crawler is a wonderfully smooth time-killer in the first-person roguelike genre. Veteran fans as well as newbies can easily find something they like about this game to pick up and enjoy. Though it can start out very difficult for newer players, the learning curve and variety this game displays provides the player with plenty of hours of entertainment whether through victory or failure. Graphically speaking, WASTED is definitely lacking in several categories. It possesses delightful sound effects and music as well as plenty of references to pop culture, 80s and present-time. This game is definitely a must-buy for the everyday roguelike fan, or just anybody actively searching for something new from the genre.
|+ Rich comedic storytelling||– Several noticeable graphical errors|
|+ Great atmosphere||– Lacking character designs|
|+ Smooth gameplay||– Tacky and sometimes dull color|
|+ Seemingly endless replayability|