We’ve uncovered Santa a few times in media; he isn’t all that he appears. In indie shooter/beat ’em up Enraged, he’s at the helm of a sweatshop that needs to be destroyed! There’s no diplomacy here; head to the North Pole and pick up a flamethrower: it’s time to roast some elves.
Our hero arrives at the Christmas office party, and the feeling’s mutual from Santa’s entourage as they’ll be hostile from the start. There’s no real story, but it’s not needed as the intent is clear, and that’s to cause as much damage as possible but be advised that the character has a bit of a glass jaw and can only take a handful of hits.
The elves are evil bastards and will rage at you in a New York minute, throwing their egg nog to the floor. It’s pretty easy to die in Enraged, but after a few frustrations, I found that spamming kick would deal with them as 1 in 10 hits would connect, and the hero will regenerate half their health when standing still.
However… though you can re-heal, the character only takes a few hits and dies. There are no checkpoints, so you have to start from the beginning of the stage once more, no doubt repeating the same thing and dying too young.
The controls for Enraged encourage using the keyboard and mouse, which is pretty accurate, but as I’ve become quite accustomed to using a controller and was a bit gutted it wasn’t configured. Moving it to one side to bring the keyboard closer, it became clear that a controller could be used, so, erm… I used that.
It’s a side-scrolling game that feels like it’s on a treadmill with the speed set to 11. It’s pretty damn quick. Other than rolling and taking cover (that doesn’t offer enough protection), there are no other movements such as jumping – all interactions are automated when in place. So, that leaves the combat.
The art style in the game is unique. It’s not the run of the mill pixel art we’re all used to, and that’s a good thing. Ignoring the treadmill movement, the punch and kick movements were good, but the guns were much better with an on-screen recital; you can control with the mouse or right stick. It’s not needed though. As long as you shoot in the direction of the enemy, you’ll hit them. Unless they get you first.
And that was the thing that was getting me enraged: the difficulty. The dark elves can shoot at you when they’re off-screen. Before you can hide behind a crate, a bullet’s hit you in the face, and just as you recover, another one of these bastards dive at you unleash a flurry of attacks. Press R to restart…
A game shouldn’t be deemed as poor just because it’s hard. Challenge is good, but from my experience, this game was a tad too hard for me to get on with. Fellow gamers may lap this up – especially the achievements list that includes playing through without dying, or getting 1000s of headshots. The latter isn’t as hard to do if you have the patience, more than the skill, as blasting the enemies is precise.
Enraged wasn’t for me, but objectively, it’s something I’d suggest you look into – especially if you’re one of these organic indie developer fans – this was all done by one developer, FictumLudos. Sounds like a Christmas to remember? Take a look at the Steam page and see for yourself.