Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita (reviewed), Windows, and Xbox One
We Are Doomed is a chaotic twin-stick arena style shooter. It’s a game all about using a giant laser beam to take out a variety of polygon enemies. It’s all about the gameplay and chasing high scores as there’s no story, no cutscenes, and no nonsense to get in between you and the action. While the aesthetic differences are apparent, I couldn’t help but compare it to a game like Geometry Wars because the core gameplay feels so similar. This is both a bit of a gift and a curse as We Are Doomed competently imitates one of the best at times, but it also doesn’t quite fill those hefty shoes.
We Are Doomed dumps you right into the gameplay at the start and your only goal is to stay alive and kill as many enemies as you can. There are a number of different enemy types, each with their own set of patterns and attacks. While you’re battling these various creatures you’ll also need to traverse the level to pick up items known as trinkets. For each of these you pick up, you’ll get closer to increasing your score multiplier. They drop randomly and disappear in a short amount of time, so vigilance is key. As you battle through enemies, you’ll also be working toward building up your Super Beam, which can be unleashed for a devastating attack to help you get out of sticky situations. Overall, gameplay is pretty solid thanks to sound controls and can be rather enjoyable in the early stages.
We Are Doomed has a couple of modes that you can play in, giving you a slight bit of variation to the experience. The first mode is called Waves where you’ll be tasked with surviving 30 waves of enemy encounters with just a handful of lives. The other mode is known as Endless and will have you taking on, you guessed it, an endless number of enemies. Both modes are all about chasing high scores on the leaderboards and offer a good deal of replayability if you can get past some of the game’s bigger issues.
Where things start going off the rails for me with We Are Doomed is with certain design choices. The game isn’t very easy on the eyes or the ears. When you kill an enemy they explode into crazy geometric shapes and colors. At first this isn’t a big deal, but as you get deeper in and enemies become more numerous it becomes a bit much to handle. With explosions going off everywhere it becomes hard to comprehend just what is happening and keeping track of everything going on is nearly impossible at times, which can lead to some frustrating deaths. Even worse is the grating soundtrack that does nothing to help improve the experience.
We Are Doomed can be fun at times and feels good to play when things are a little more chill, but once the difficulty starts ramping up it becomes a little too hard to follow. Half the fun of these types of games is improving and besting your high score, but when your senses are being overloaded with a barrage of color, shapes, and sounds, it quickly becomes apparent that making progress isn’t worth the (literal) headache as there are better options out there to scratch your twin-stick shooter itch.