ARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! That sound ringing in my ear after playing the first hour of playing is still prominent in my brain well in to the later stages of the game, but it provides such an adequate one word description of my feelings towards Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour. A game no one really asked for or probably even know about.
Developed by Hammerwatch developer Crackshell and published by indie giant Devolver Digital, Serious Sam: Bogus Detour marks a drastic turn in genre for the franchise, keeping up with it’s insane wave clear madness that it’s known for but dropping it’s FPS routes to a pixel bit top down bullet hell shooter. But to say this game was a bullet hell shooter is in itself a stretch however, the madness is there and so are the mechanics, but it swings more in the way of a A-RPG/Hack n Slash game more often then not.
It’s a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, despite its protagonists name. Overall a great little shooter that sticks to its strengths while implementing some fantastic community systems to allow players to completely overhaul and modulate their game to their desires. My favourite steam workshop item came in the form of a Starcraft mission pack that transformed the main character in to a Terran Marine while gunning down Protoss and Zerg units stylised from the original Starcraft API.
Visually the game is dealt with in a pixillated form that many indie games lean towards these days, the style and animations remind me somewhat of the Brutal Doom mod with clever ways to show reload animations and gunshot trails. Blood and gore is a common norm in Serious Sam games and it’s no exception here, carcasses and blood fill the screen in an obnoxious fashion as you plough through an endless onslaught of enemies solo or with 4 player co-op.
The game’s sounds are full of bass and give off a ring of impact when you connect shots from either shotguns or laser cannons, and even more satisfyingly the Tommy Gun. Each individual immediate danger is well up front in your ears specifically from the mad suicide bombers consistently running at you off screen while screaming ARRGGHHHH!!
Although frustrating in its initial stages due to a classic arcade style death system (in which you must restart should you run out of lives), Serious Sam really hits it’s stride once you unlock most of the weapons available, it’s where the game really lets loose on Sam or any buddies that decide to join the carnage, filling the screen wave upon wave.
There’s not many negatives to talk about here, the performance is solid having no issues with any bugs or FPS drops in hectic sequences, the gameplay is a tried and true formulae similar to predecessors like Enter the Gungeon and Helldivers. The only issue I ever had with the game was in it’s initial stages where I found myself dying close to checkpoints or life ups to have to restart from the beginning. This happened many of times for the first 5-6 hours of gameplay where I struggled to get past the first mission “Knee Deep in Sand,” without having the heart to turn down the difficulty.
Overall a simplistic game for some mindless fun that contains a robust modulation system and completely open source API for the community to use, the developer has even held Modding competitions since it’s release. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this little run n gun shooter and will likely return if any new mod pops up that interests me. However stark from it’s previous games in the franchise, Bogus Detour does little to detract from the original recipe that makes Serious Sam games fantastic and I especially recommend it for anyone who enjoys the retro Pixel Artstyle.