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Nuclear Throne Preview: Arms race

Vlambeer's LUFTRAUSERS is an absolute joy to play. Naturally, I had high expectations going into PAX East with their next outing, Nuclear Throne. It's safe to say those expectations were met.

The game's website describes Nuclear Throne as an "action roguelike-like," though honestly it feels more like an old school shooter that plays smiliar to a twin-stick. Sure, any progress you make will come to a crashing halt when you die, but I never really felt like I had to be super careful with my playthrough like in Rogue Legacy or become a super powered behemoth like in Risk of Rain. I was never a super-powered MVP. Though to be honest, I had to be a super-powered MVP to progress through the game.

My first playthrough was with a chicken. That's a right; a chicken. It looked like a ninja, so the choice was pretty obvious. Sadly, I let the developers down; they had a fondness for the chicken character. They also had a fondess for the puns I made everytime I died, so I guess it's not a total loss. 

My second go-around was with a robot who ate guns to regain health, an ability that seemed to be incredibly handy in a pinch. Things went much better this time. I passed the bullet-hell desert overworld and ventured into the radioactive sewers with rats who want to gnaw my brains out. Sadly, the rats ended up gnawing my brains out. There's no denying the amount of challenge in Nuclear Throne as it stays true to that old-school shooter feeling. The action is fast and the bullets are numerous.

In total, there's 11 playable characters, including the chicken and robot. Each come with their own playstyle and abilities, offering a surprisingly deep experience. It's always a good thing when characters have differences that aren't just cosmetic. It's even better when you can find a character that really calls to you, something that can come in handy given the game's difficutly. Man, I've said that this is a difficult game a lot, haven't I? I can't stress it enough. Nuclear Throne has the abillity to seriously kick your ass if you're not ready. Moreso if you're playing on a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, but that could just be a personal peference. 

You'll gain access to new skills as you progress through the game, but at the end of the day, they felt like subtle enhancements. It's all about you, the player, and how well you perform. Before long, you'll realize that what doens't kill you makes you stronger and stand a little taller.

I can't believe that I just quoted Kelly Clarkson. I guess this is a good time to be on my way.But seriously, Nuclear Throne is pretty fun and cements Vlambeer as a top-tier developer.

You didn't think that I'd come back. I'd come back swinging-- okay, okay, I'm outta here. 

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Jake Valentine
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