If you dig back through your gaming memories, you’ll probably remember those tense yet thrilling moments in Hotline Miami – brutally taking down rooms of pixelated bad guys with slick style. Well, the mad scientists at MGP Studios snatched up that formula and smashed it into a grimy first-person shooter called Project Downfall.
Instead of a top-down view, you’re planted right inside the shoes of a disgruntled office worker slowly losing his marbles. Set in a neon-soaked, grimey cyberpunk city filled with Russian mobsters and corrupt cops, each level is an intense run ‘n gun gauntlet filled with adrenaline-pumping combat. Whether you blast foes with guns or crack skulls with melee attacks, the goal stays the same – leave no one standing.
To keep you on your toes, death comes swiftly in Project Downfall. A few enemy bullets or shotgun blasts will instantly put you in the ground. Thankfully, levels are short sprints rather than long marathons. And if things get too hairy, you can always pop special “pills” to slow down time and unleash some truly gnarly attacks – just don’t fry your brain.
So if you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into those Hotline Miami shoes for some first-person ultra-violence, Downfall gleefully delivers the goods. Just prepare for a challenging, gruesome ride.
A Confusing Tale of Violence
Now I’ll be real with you – Project Downfall doesn’t dish out an Oscar-worthy narrative. The barebones plot has you controlling a stressed office worker slowly losing his grip on reality. After a train gets cancelled, you end up cracking skulls of a Russian mob to let off steam. And that violent catapult sets off a chain of events leading down a dark path.
Here’s the thing though – Project Downfall doesn’t hold your hand or overexplain itself. The story gets told through subtle background elements like TV news reports or notes scattered around. I actually dig this environmental approach, but it also means plot threads stay confusing. The farther I got, the less I understood the protagonist’s deal or motivation.
Making things even foggier is the choose-your-own-adventure style with over 10 different endings. Certain choices like visiting your therapist or downing pills warp the tale in wild ways. I’ll admit it kept me curious to see where my actions led. But some endings dabble in tasteless shock value rather than meaningful payoff.
And that’s my biggest narrative gripe – the tone-deaf use of edgy stereotypes as shortcuts for “depth.” Women get treated poorly across the board. Having a gay villain named “Cock” with zero subtlety feels lame rather than provocative. Even dropping outright slurs for shock value just makes the writing seem lazy.
So in summary, Downfall tries some ambitious stuff narrative-wise that I dig. The environmental storytelling and branching paths are strong creative choices. But the shallow stereotypes, confusing delivery, and lack of thematic payoff needed more thought put in. If you just want visceral action, it gets the job done. But players seeking a layered, thoughtful experience should look elsewhere.
Brutal Action and Control Quirks
When it comes to gameplay, Project Downfall rips inspiration straight from Hotline Miami’s bloody playbook. Levels throw you into violent gauntlets filled with punching, shooting, and murderous momentum. Despite the shift to first-person perspective, it still delivers that intense, adrenaline-fueled combat loop.
Most stages give you a starting pistol before unleashing swarms of enemies. You’ll blast through rounds while scooping up scattered weapons like shotguns, SMGs, and my personal favorite – dual-wielded miniguns. The gunplay packs a lethal punch, making both you and foes easy to mow down.
Up close, fisticuffs and melee weapons also finish jobs. Landing kicks and combos keeps action smooth during ammo droughts. And when health drops low, special pills trigger bullet time and temporary buffs. I loved blasting entire rooms away, then popping pills and cleaning house with superpowered kung fu kicks.
Now I’ll admit – the fast pace also brings some frustration. Getting cornered or flanked can mean quick death since you lack an overhead view. Finding optimal strategies boils down to trial and error rather than pure tactical smarts. And minor movement quirks like inconsistent melee hits or guns glitching into walls added annoyance.
Speaking of technical issues, playing on Switch often meant wrestling with sluggish inputs. The game clearly favors mouse & keyboard precision – gamepads make pinpoint shooting and survival way tougher. Long load times between areas also disrupted flow just as I built momentum.
So in gameplay terms, Project Downfall nails that gnarly Hotline Miami vibe with radar-quick combat and violence. But imperfect controls, unfair fights, and avoidable technical glitches do sap some enjoyment. At least the short level restarts ease pain – but expect lots of loud grunts alongside the adrenaline highs.
Punchy Neon Aesthetic and Jams
While gameplay has some snags, Downfall absolutely nails the sensory experience – pairing wicked visual attitude with a slamming soundtrack. The art style blends colorful retro pixels with a grimy neon cyberpunk edge that oozes atmosphere.
Character models capture that chunky 90s console vibe, animated with violent exaggeration, while city environments portray an enticing urban hellscape. And the death sequences are a gory treat – watching enemies ragdoll into bloody chunks deservers an ovation. It stylishly captures the rogue’s gallery of mobsters and crooked cops. I only wish for a tad more location variety over time compared to samey color palettes per level.
The true sensory MVP however is the stellar soundtrack. It sets an electrifying mood whether you silently stalk goons or kick open doors guns blazing. The thunderous metal/electronica fusion had me nodding my head as I punched faces in bullet time. The versatile tracklist dynamically reacts to match your chaos level. Even during frustrating fights, I couldn’t stay salty with the artillery of aggressive, industrial tunes.
And while there are slick retro filters to emulate old CRT TVs and such, they are pure visual agony in motion. Stick to default view unless you enjoy migraines. Thankfully you can toggle these off if desired.
So while Downfall’s gameplay has some tuning woes at launch, it nails the preem atmosphere and aural ass-kicking that fans deserve. Hotline Miami proved indie games can confidently flex premium style, and this impressively follows suit.
Fine-tuning Needed for Controls
If I’m nitpicking though, controls and technical performance do show Project Downfall’s freshman flaws. Don’t get me wrong – it runs decently on Switch, handling hectic combat at a smooth clip. But the inputs, polish, and feel lack that fine-tuned mastery of older genre titans.
Movement and melee feels stiff, especially in handheld mode where analogue sticks hamper precision. Trying to line up kicks or dodge gunfire has an awkwardness that leads to cheap hits. Shooting also lacks pinpoint accuracy – aiming down sights helps, but wonky aim assist more than hinders.
I know keyboard & mouse would feel tighter – gamepads push the imprecise feel over the edge. And even visually, longer load times between quick story beats broke immersion as I’d stand waiting to re-enter the action.
Downfall clearly rides high on its testosterone-fueled style over substance. But underneath the over-the-top gore lies obvious room for controls and technical polish. The developers hopefully take note for a sequel that lives up to that batshit crazy potential. For now, it’s a bumpy yet memorable ride.
Brutality Over Brains, But Nails the Vibe
At the end of my whirlwind tour through Project Downfall’s filthy dystopia, I walked away with mixed thoughts, rattled neurons, and a hankering for more chaotic violence. It successfully channels the tense, adrenaline-pumping formula of Hotline Miami into a fresh, if technically shaky, first-person perspective.
There’s no doubt – Downfall nails the savage momentum that makes these reflex-driven shooters so addictive. When controls click and you string together slick combos, it reaches glorious levels of hyperkinetic fun. But uneven difficulty, imprecise inputs, and lack of tactical finesse show its indie restraints.
And frankly, the offensive writing and lack of narrative payoff feel outdated and unnecessary. I still had a blast, but it waters down the experience. Unless you truly don’t care about outdated stereotypes, it’s hard to fully recommend.
So in summary – if you have a high tolerance for difficulty and an itchy trigger finger, by all means enlist. Server browsers keep multiplayer alive for cooperative chaos. Just don’t walk in expecting AAA polish or cultural sensitivity – the grimy low-budget jank is part of its grindhouse appeal. For me, those glimpses of frenetic shooter heaven balance out the frustrating hell. But for many, those cons may be too bitter of a pill.
Project Downfall is a gnarly, reflex-driven FPS cocktail mixing Hotline Miami, Falling Down, and a grimy cyberpunk aesthetic into an brutal, challenging experience. Technical quirks and offensive writing choices taint the ride, but adrenaline-junkies with high frustration tolerance may still get their quick fix of hyperviolence.
- Satisfying run-and-gun shooter gameplay
- Impressive visual style and soundtrack
- Replayability from branching paths
- Intense action when gameplay clicks
- Frustrating and imprecise controls
- Uneven difficulty spikes
- Offensive stereotypes in narrative
- Lack of variety between environments