Sit On This: A Quick-Fire Impaler Review

Ever-increasing backlog of games? Fed up with hard-to-reach achievements? Give indie FPS Impaler a go for immediate rewards - out now on Steam.

How can a game that candidly states a run takes 30 minutes be so addictive and boast such replayability? That’s what arena shooter Impaler has become for me: one run after the next, no toilet breaks, no interaction with the world, just bona fide run-and-gun tactics.

When a game makes it clear it has a short playtime, it’s fair to assume there’s no story, bells and whistles, or any other bloat irrelevant to the cause. The goal is this: survive some waves, kill the boss, then rinse and repeat. Why on Earth would you replay it after completing it? First, it’s great fun, and second, there’s an incentive to unlock all the skills (42), and beating your score.

So, a quick-fire arena shooter, or rogue-lite, with a fair amount of skills to unlock and that lure of getting a decent score. How about the actual gameplay? Impaler is much like the classic (read: good) 90s FPS types: pixelated graphics, swift movements, and never standing still or you’re dead shenanigans. Unlike all those other shooters (bearing in mind this is exclusively an arena that doesn’t change), you have spikes.

Impaler Review - Skellywags
Skellywags. Source: Steam

Impaler Review

It’s quite a unique mechanic as pressing the right mouse button, as if aiming down a barrel, then pressing the left button will launch an almighty spike out of the ground and, wait for it, impale the enemy. This is a really cool technique as it’s infinite, and should you be aiming for 100% achievements, you’ll want to play a complete run using just this skill. But it also doubles up as a way to activate your starting weapon, one of six, when the game starts.

The usual guns appear in Impaler, from SMGs to shotguns to rocket launchers, but they’re unlocked through feats such as collecting coins, exploding barrels and more. Once you select the gun, you stick with it for the whole run – there’s no swapping out, but considering how short an entire run is, it’s absolutely fine and still offers great variety. A note on those coins: collect 50 per wave, and you’ll be able to unlock a new skill ranging from auto projectiles to having more bullet time or regenerating health during bullet time.

Wait: bullet time? What is this, Max Payne? No, but shoot enough stuff, or jump on enemies like an FPS Mario, and you’ll unlock a window to blast everything in slow motion. Select the right skills for this option, and boom! You may just finish a run. As mentioned, there are many skills to unlock, but earning them makes them available during a run – you still have to buy them, and they’re random. You don’t start with these skills, but you can select your guns if you’ve been awarded them.

Other than that, there’s not much else to say about Impaler, from Retrovibe. It really is an excellent alternative to a lengthy AAA, and due to the vast skills and incentive to beat your score, plenty of replay involved. Even better, it’s super cheap, so if you think I’ve got it wrong and it’s not very good at all, you haven’t spunked loadsa money up the wall. But, I stand by it: Impaler is well worth your time, money, and firstborn child. Recommended.