Bootleg Systems is a brand new physics based first person shooter game from the new game developer Neonable, and the fresh company certainly put their money where their name is. Have you ever wanted to play a game that boils down Tron and mixes in 3 tablespoons Portal to give a colourful, puzzle-shooter stew? Well, Bootleg Systems might just be your game.
The world is a fantastical plethora of lights and various objects ranging from coconuts to huge TV’s. This game takes player vs. environment to the next level, using these objects as your ammunition to fight and puzzle your way through each level. Combining the great combat system with infinite ammo and a choice as to the size and damage of said ammo, you end up feeling invincible. But don’t be deceived – you are absolutely not invincible, as you start with a whopping 9 whole health points!! Yes, that’s 9. No, I don’t know why it’s 9. Perhaps it’s some sort of reverse Spinal Tap reference.
This game looks great. Neon is great. But there is such a thing as a bit too much neon, and Neonable (understandably) tread the line. ‘How much purple would it take to kill a man simulator 2016’ comes to mind. The lighting also needs a bit of a fine tune in combat as it tends to blind you a bit. That aside, the graphics are great and I didn’t even notice a difference when lowering the quality. The game runs very smoothly, assuming you have an up-to-date PC (this isn’t really playable on a mac or lower end PC unless you enjoy stuttering) and the movement is as intuitive and plays as well as any AAA-rated fps. The great physics and character movement is all down to the impressive ‘Unity Engine’, which runs half of all the games you’ve probably heard of in the past few years.
The gameplay itself is fine, albeit a little difficult and unintuitive to navigate and figure out what to do in certain areas (but we’ll let Neonable off since the game is in a pre-alpha state). The puzzle mechanics are a little complex to figure out at first and a little difficult to execute once you know what to do, but maybe that’s just from my want to progress faster in this new exciting game. One of the reasons this game is great for me is that it gives you a choice as to whether you want to know about the story, or run along and shoot anything in sight. The characters you pass talk to you about the predicament you find yourself in, so you can stick around and hear what they have to say or hurt their robot feelings and run away!
Half the allure of this game is the soundtrack. It whisks you back to the sounds of the techno 80s and threatens an appearance of Jeff Bridges at every moment, in all his 80s glory. Characters are well voiced and the ambient sounds give a good contributing vibe to the finalised feel of the play-through. One gripe I do have is that the combat (active combat and dumb-firing) changes the output on the music, background noises and character speech a bit too much, making it hard to hear what is going on.
Final thoughts – I want to put hours into this game. I can’t wait for the alpha/beta tests so I can play a bit more and see what they do to improve the gameplay. I’d like to see them introduce stronger and more formidable enemies, and I’d also love to see a more interesting height dynamic to the gameplay. If the game this good in pre-alpha, who knows what it’ll be like upon release! Neonable are definitely a developer to watch out for in the coming years if every title is as fresh and fun to play as Bootleg Systems.
Bootleg Systems is available currently as a demo only, and will be released in 2017