Let me just preface this article by saying I am a big old whiney piss pot and a sore loser, like the sorest of red, raw chaffed inner thighs. And much like those same blistery thighs I just can’t stop rubbing away at this game. And fuck drug addicts with knives.
Shotgun is a NES styled trip down into exploitation town, the violence is over the top, the subject matter is slightly ludicrous and the protagonist has an axe to grind. And the Dev, Jordan King goes by the handle ‘Leggomygiallo’.
Here are the basics, you’re a struggling mother, it’s the late 70’s or early 80’s and your son has fallen into a bad crowd. Typically what you should be doing is calling the cops, reprimanding the child and just generally dealing with the affair in a healthy way.
Did I mention the time frame? The cops are either lazy or corrupt, the drugs are purer and stronger than they’ve ever been and no one is going to help you. Fortunately the gun laws are lax and you’re in an exploitation flick. So don your homemade armour, load up on 12 gauge shells and enact some overly visceral violence on some less than politically correct addicts at the local crack house. There are also nods to the Satanism scare of the late 80’s/ early 90’s.
So let’s start off where the game lives, in the game play. It’s hard and frustrating. I can only really compare it to trying to play a song, except the instrument is surprisingly simple, the tempo is too fast and you get electrocuted and have to start over every time you play the wrong note.
It has an almost Dark Souls-esque feel in that, you can know what an enemy is going to do, how it’s going to do it and when. But a single minor fuck up on your end means that all that knowledge is just coal for the fire they’re going to cook you over.
That said when you get it right it’s so rewarding, like finding out that those raisins in your muffin are chocolate chips. And there’s a little help in the way of blue pills you can pop to get you back in tip top addict slaughtering shape.
Ammo is a commodity that has no counter by the way, and while you almost always have around 3-4 shells, there always a chance for you to Dirty Harry yourself into an accidental death.
Graphically the game is what it sells itself as, Vibrant and gory in an 8 – bit style. The enemies are visually diverse all the while having a distinct sense of unity. A few crazy outriders like the guy in the cat suit and the mostly naked gimp with a gun (I don’t know where he was keeping it either, but I doubt it’s hygienic).
The gore stands out in this little adventure, every enemy has its own death state artwork, that is to say when you kill and enemy, the blood splatter/ dismemberment is unique to each one. That’s speaks volumes I think, seeing as I can’t remember the same enemy appearing twice.
The soundtrack is a little lacking, but the effects really do invoke in your mind the button smashing days of D-pad only controllers. I think we could do with a couple of Wilhelm screams for our shotgun laden murder spree.
In summary, this is ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’, mixed in a little bit of ‘Rampage’ (the 2009 flick, not the video game franchise film with Dwayne Johnson). I loved it for what it was, my partner hated it for the constant rage filled outburst I uttered at the screen (Fuck crackheads with knives). I’m going to recommend this game, it’s simple, it’s addictive and it’s free if you want. But we at popcorn horror want to support this kinda thing, so if you can spare the change, throw a dollar or two Jordan’s way. Keep indie horror devs off drugs and into coding.