Warhammer 40,000: Bolt gun is an attractive combination: what if you took the gritty setting of Warhammer 40K and viewed it through the lens of a classic boomer shooter à la Demise? Boltgun is named after the weapon Space Marines and Sisters of Battle use in war, a .75 caliber rifle that fires huge bolts that explode into their target. That kind of over-the-top, metallic, slightly goofy lore is what gives the Warhammer 40K setting its charm, and so far, Bolt gun deploy it masterfully.
I played a preview demo of Bolt gun, including the tutorial and the first three levels. The Space Marine crash lands, his team dead and he must navigate the mountains and factories of Graia, a world that produces Titan mechs for the Imperium. Of course, he almost immediately encounters heresy – cultists, Chaos Space Marines, daemons, etc. Fortunately, he also discovers a sacred relic that allows him to hit them: the titular boltgun.
Bolt gun feels like it was made by 40,000 nerds; there are many links to the greater lore. The game begins with a cutscene in which an Inquisitor, an agent of the Imperium of Man’s secret superpolice, briefs the Space Marines on what to expect. Boltgun follows the events of 2011 Space marine, where the Ultramarine Captain Titus stopped an Orc WAAAGH! (that’s how the big green boys refer to an ongoing war campaign) and a Chaos raid. The Inquisitor thinks there are loose ends left after that campaign and that they need to be investigated.
Boltgun does a great job of crossing the line between two potentially divergent directions for the game. On the one hand, it’s wonderfully stupid. There’s a special taunt button, where the protagonist Space Marine shakes his fist and yells something like “For the Emperor!” or “Purify the heretic!” to enemies (or to no one in particular, if you’re feeling feisty). When the player is idle, the protagonist pulls out his trusty Codex Astartes and flips through the pages.
On the other hand, Boltgun faithfully captures some of the best parts about its inspiration for 90s shooters. There are plenty of secrets hidden in the levels, like vortex grenades that drag enemies into oblivion, or powerful upgrades to the Ultramarine’s arsenal. It’s kind of fun blasting through the levels to the nearest enemy, but I felt rewarded when I took my time and slowed down to shoot at walls and gawk at the surreal and visceral pixelated landscape left behind by a Chaos game. raid.
The enemy design is also charming. Chaos, as a faction, risks feeling a bit the same. Dark tide has fantastic combat, but there are only a limited number of Nurgle cultists you can kill before they get monotonous. Bolt gun draws from the full range of Chaos forces, from the Pink and Blue Tzeentch Terrors Unpleasant Chaos Space Marines decked out in armor exploding monster frogs.
If you want, you can play on an easier difficulty setting, or use the accessibility options to become invulnerable, or unlock the entire library of levels. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved. BoltgunThe game’s higher difficulty levels will feel quite challenging for fans of a good solid shooter, but it’s also possible for a 40K fan to tour a lovingly built game in the grim universe of war alone.