Nuclear throne in test - Who rests, votes
Backstory? Pfft. Cutscenes? Pfft. High-tech look? Pfft. Nuclear Throne could technically be from the nineties, but it still looks better in motion than on screenshots - but that doesn't matter when playing. Because as soon as the first enemy projectiles seek physical contact and boss opponents fire a lot of these cuddly balls, the ancient graphics are forgotten. Because then all that counts is dodging, shooting back, using the best weapon, being faster.
Nuclear Throne is nasty: There is nothing to save here; if you die, you start all over again , with a crappy pistol. After all, after a few sections we gradually unlock new characters who look just as absurd as the opponents. Because all twelve pawns are mutants, each with different advantages and a special ability.
Only the first two characters are on their feet from the start. Or with Flosse: "Fish" can carry more ammunition (for whatever reason) and, with the right mouse button, lay a pike roll with the right mouse button. “Crystal”, on the other hand, has more hitpoints on its account, its special ability is a short-term crystalline protective shield. Later, a plant, a robot and a chicken are added. A chicken? Yes, the flutterman mutant can continue to play headlessly for five seconds after its death and panic trying to collect enough hitpoints for resuscitation.
Now you know roughly how wacky Nuclear Throne actually is. But not so crazy that you stand like the ox in front of the mountain, because behind the crude figures there is a very classic top-down shooter.
As reflex-controlled as Nuclear Throne is: blunt shooting is not enough. The choice of the right weapon alone is decisive in the fight, after all there are 120 of them. It is nasty that we are only allowed to drag two at a time, and which ones we find in sporadically distributed red boxes is absolutely random. If you are unlucky, you will find an old close combat screwdriver twice in a row - only to then bag a grenade launcher or the triple pump gun. Many weapons, in turn, have special advantages: a laser pistol crushes several monsters positioned one behind the other, the crossbow fires massive bolts and has a laser beam as a target aid, the disc gun fires saw blades that bounce off several times - also right inside us.
We had dozen of such accidents with our own weapons during testing: The grenade launcher grenades, for example, either explode on physical contact or, if they do not make contact, after a few seconds. If you forget that in the heat of the moment, you will walk past such a firecracker just when it is exploding in frustration. Other causes of death without direct enemy influence: exploding car wrecks and oil barrels that catch a ricochet at the worst possible moment. It's logical that both the fun and chaos factor in local co-op mode together with a buddy increase again.
With the head through the wall
The more than 15 levels, spread over seven varied worlds (desert, junkyard, ice city and so on), are bursting with opponents who all behave differently. Giant maggots burst into small maggots that immediately regard us as their new mom and become attached. From cowboy-like snipers somewhere behind the edge of the screen, we first notice a red laser aiming beam, then the bullet comes along.
Every few levels we come across boss opponents who sometimes speed their way across walls to mill towards us or distribute dozen projectiles in a spiral before they chase us target-seeking missiles. Again and again we catch ourselves running away from approaching projectiles like in old Roadrunner cartoons instead of dodging - but it's different when we play ourselves instead of sitting in front of the television shaking our heads.
Killed enemies leave behind radioactive waste. By collecting these green sticks, we will go up level by level. With each advancement we can choose one of four mutations, i.e. improve our character. But here, too, the following applies: After our screen death, the upgrades are completely rogue-like as well as the weapons.
The quality of the 29 mutations is very different: We think everyone is great, for example, who somehow fill our puny hit pop bar, or even better, lengthen it. "Rhino skin" is one of those, because it permanently gives us four extra hit points ad hoc - which is a hell of a lot with the eight or ten hit points of the two starting characters.
On the other hand, we can forget about mutations like "Trigger Fingers", because they only reduce the reload time, which is minimal for most weapons anyway. At most, the really big guns like Nuke Launcher, heavy crossbow or plasma cannon benefit from it. But with the four mutations offered there is almost always something that we can use at the moment. Nevertheless, the chance factor is very high, as with the weapons found. But hey, how else are we supposed to talk our way out of it when we're embarrassingly nibbling off in level two again?