Outer Terror, created by Salt & Pixel Studios, pays homage to pulp horror, from movies to comics, with an arcade bullet hell gameplay style with great aspects to review. Endless hordes of disturbing creatures, and sometimes toasters, hunt you down. Fortunately, you have a huge arsenal of weapons to decimate any threats. You can also bring a friend to the apocalypse for great co-op fun.
Whilst there are many things to love about this game, especially if the genre appeals, there are some problems. The gameplay and maps can feel a bit bland at times, and whilst the story and side missions add much needed depth, it doesn’t quite put enough flesh on the bones to make this a masterpiece.
Outer Terror is available on Steam and The Epic Games Store.
Story – An Awesome Anthology
Outer Terror is a delightful anthology, with 5 unique maps and settings to enjoy and review. Each is a love letter to horror comics, movies, and games such as 30 Days of Night, Terminator, and The Evil Dead.
The Gray Death has you defend a small town from a cosmic entity seeking to absorb all life. FrostBite sees you fight vampires in the tundra. Otherside is the tale of a sister saving her sisters soul from a maze dimension. Kill Switch takes place in the war between humans and AI, with toasters and fridges for warriors. Lastly Incident Report is set in the S.C.P world with an alien abduction.
Each story is introduced with a short comic establishing what is going on before launching you right into the action. Whilst the stories aren’t extensive or particularly complicated, they are still great at adding flavour to the game. The stories worlds are well realised and provide purpose and agency to your actions, especially with the simple but likable cast of 10 unique characters. You won’t be drowning in lore, but there’s enough there.
There are also side missions to be found which help bulk out the missions, but they were a bit too few and far between. In Outer Terror, Gray Death seemed to be the one you could most engage with in review, which really aided in giving more to bite into.
All in all, each chapter is a great, but simple, horror concept to engage with. They range from silly to serious, but none are uninteresting. Perhaps more stories will be added to Outer Terror as time goes on.
Gameplay – Lots of Monsters, Lots of Guns
Outer Terror is a horde survival game. On each map progressively harder hordes will beeline towards you. Each character starts with a dodge skill, a different weapon and special ability, with options ranging from dynamite or magic spells. Upgrades can be acquired . Levelling up will give you a choice of 3 random cards. These cards will give you a new weapon or perk (up to 8) or improve one you have already by increasing fire rate or damage. You can also find equipment on bodies such as health packs and crowd control items. Coins can purchase upgrades from the main menu to further improve your killing power.
The game is a passive shooter, with attacks being automated. You can use Shift to aim yourself, but this is largely only useful in boss fights. This can be considered a blessing or a curse. On the one hand it makes the game more accessible, allowing you to focus on movement. However, it can feel unengaging, especially when repeating levels. This is compounded by the absence of a restart button. When you die you must go back to the main menu. It’s frustrating, but not game breaking by any stretch.
The other aspect of Outer Terror worth mentioning for review is each level has a gimmick. This helps flesh out the gameplay. FrostBite requires you to find fuel to keep a generator running for survivors. KillSwitch has an EMP to build with parts across the map. Outer Terror’s core gameplay is strong, and even better when boosted by the missions and level design. There is a 2-player option which helps take the pressure of you and is a blast to play.
Graphics and Audio – Arcade Extravaganza
If you enjoy the retro roguelike genre, and if you are reading an Outer Terror review, I suspect you do, then you will no doubt love the graphics. The games pixelated characters, monsters, bosses, and environments, are for the most part, fantastic. They maps can get a little bland, with large stretches of empty space to traverse if you go off the paths. Outer Terror encapsulate a lot of what there is to love about the genre, and the graphics are no exception. The monster designs especially stood out, with comic horrors and evil appliances all getting great sprites. The comic designs as well are phenomenal, with some really great opening visuals that really set the scene.
The audio was largely passable. The music is fitting for the worlds but can get a bit repetitive, and the weapon and special attack sounds are fairly basic. It’s a shame there wasn’t any voice acted lines for the characters. The audio is functional for the game, but it doesn’t stand out.
Overall, the quality was good, although it may depend on your affinity for the retro stylisation.
Outer Terror was played for review on Steam (PC) with a key provided by Reverb Inc.