Kickback is cross between Doom: Eternal and the bouncing DVD logo

2 weeks ago 45

Dude we've been watching this thing for four hours I think it's working

An upgrade screen in top-down shooter Kickback Image credit: Dot blood

Readers, I appear to have locked myself in self-referential language matrix trying to describe the feeling of playing top-down action shooter Kickback. You can only move through the recoil from shooting, you see, which means facing the opposite way to where you want to go. It’s both very counterintuitive and very fun. To call something both counterintuitive and fun seems, well, counterintuitive. But also: fun. Which, as a concept is very fun to think about. But, also, quite counterintuitive. Writing such a incredibly redundant paragraph is quite fun, even though I’m just repeating myself. Counterintuitive, right? I’m going to try to escape this paragraph now. If I manage it, I’ll see you in the one below.

Phew, that was close. The last time something like that happened, I had to stop watching Lamb Chop for good. So, Kickback. The clue’s in the name you see. That kickback, caused when you fire either the shotgun or pistol you start with in its demo, is your only method of locomotion, or more accurately, propulsion. Oh, you may be driven forward internally by the banging Mick Gordon-esque soundtrack, all power chords and chunky electro pads. But we can’t run a horrific biopunk economy on vibes now, can we? Vibes won’t keep me in shell casings and supplementary limbs. Nor will they help me avoid the horrible spiked corners, like a bouncing DVD logo afeared for its, uh, life?

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A few extra twists keep things spicy. You do damage on colliding with an enemy, but if they survive, they do damage back. But! You can get some of that health back by doing a kill. To aid you on your secret mission to fire a very loud shotgun continuously, you can hold down the button after shooting to ride the wave of recoil like a murder surfer. Google just told me there’s a surfer named Brendan Gibbens, which means I can write Brendan GIBbens and feel clever. Does this whip-smart wit extend to my Kickback skills? Not in the slightest. But I would like to get better. Thank you, Kickback, for inspiring me to something tentatively orbiting competency. You can grab the free steam demo here.

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