Developer: Red Square Games
Released: 28th June 2023
Available on: Steam
Engine: Unreal Engine
- Quality environmental design, with high attention to detail and solid visuals.
- Most voice acting is good, and the hand-drawn cutscenes are excellent.
- Fair amount of weapon upgrades, that in some cases change the gun significantly.
- Unbelievable amount of bugs and technical issues, ranging from mild to game-breaking.
- Only three enemy types, one fixed turret, and no other unique variants. Gets stale, fast.
- Clichèd storyline that feels lazy, generic and doesn’t hook the player at any point.
- Disastrous optimization that will give indigestion to even the mightiest PC builds.
- Absence of any side-quest or other optional content to vary the gameplay loop.
Bugs & Issues
- From mentally-impaired AI to crashes and horrendous optimization, passing through disappearing upgrades/items, foes popping out of thin air and MUCH more, SlavicPunk Oldtimer truly has it all…
- Achievements are completely broken and simply don’t unlock at all.
• 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
I played SlavicPunk Old Timer for 5.5 hours, and reached a total completion rate of 70%, on Hard difficulty, taking extra time to explore all locations. I couldn’t finish it due to bugs; the total duration estimate is 7 hours. There’s no reason to replay, as all the content is linear.
Is It Worth Buying?
Absolutely not. Not only is the price of 22,49€ is rather steep for this (low tier) Indie production value and quality, but the overwhelming amount of bugs, issues and game design problems completely annihilate any fun, as well. Steer clear of this one for good.
SlavicJunk BugSpammer would be a more apt title, for a game that plays out more like an early-alpha in all fields; while it does have some good aspects, they’re buried under a mountain of problems that will unlikely be solved.
SlavicPunk Oldtimer – In-Depth Analysis
Writing & Worldbuilding
Set in a crumbling, dystopic, crime-ridden metropolis only dubbed as “The City” (or Naples, depending on who you ask), SlavicPunk will put you in the grime-encrusted boots, smog-laden lungs of Janus; the aptly-named, anti-heroical and mercurial protagonist of this futuristic top-down shooter.
The old, grizzled, but augmented mercenary, as anyone in his line of work, is as jaded as they come, desperately trying to find solace in the fleeting, hedonist pleasures of life when he’s not gunning down heaps of deadbeats or gangsters – composing the majority of The City’s population, unsurprisingly. That puts him in a vicious cycle of use and abuse, both towards and from himself. The story coming out of such a premise is, however, generic and underwhelming, as it has a predictable turnaround, no mystery or cliffhangers, and forgettable characters part of a world where nothing is elaborated upon quite enough.
It’s a shame, really, as the visuals and effects really do their part in manifesting a gloomy, burnt-out world where the only embers of hope are the neon of kielbasa kiosks, or the headlights of an oncoming train. Looks don’t make substance – if there was a game that can convey this principle in full, it would be this one.
Exploration & Secrets
Your meanderings through the Slav dystopia will be split between the open-world, snowy city streets and overly-cramped, moldy interiors of various buildings, inhabited by both gangs and regular citizens. In both cases, the compulsion to explore these locales will be finding Loot Crates and Spider Robots, that respectively award you with supplies (ammo, medkits, consumables, rarely new weapons) and well… some components of sorts, the game never explains what those are about. My guess? Money to trade. These spider-drones also act as the only “secret” of sorts, quoted, because they ain’t really any hidden or particularly difficult to find.
Sometimes you’ll stumble on locked doors, broken PCs, and other such obstacles. These lead to some classic “find the key” or “the contraption” scenarios that you’ll solve by going around or following the often-present objective indicator. None of them is complex, and while the few minigames do vary the pace a bit, they’re too easy and short to be of any significance to the gameplay loop at all. Most locations are one-way trips, standalone levels you’ll not go back to. Overall, exploration isn’t interesting and doesn’t reward careful searching. There are no side activities, hidden NPCs or optional areas, at all, ever. The cyber-dystopia was never this dull.
Firefights are the norm in The City, and while the police may intervene if you get spotted by a random patrol drone, most of the time it will just be you and whatever random gang you’re facing. Your arsenal includes a variety of guns, from your trusty six-shooter to high-tech railguns, all of which are upgradeable with modules you’ll buy from shady, rusted-out trading kiosks in-between missions. Too bad these upgrades reset on every map transition, due to a bug likely, as do ammo and in some cases equipment. The entire progression system is useless, right here! Thanos snap!
Fights will have you rely on your roll and dodge – and of course cover – to evade bullets and stay alive, since the TTK is very low for both you and most enemies, except bigger ones. Health kits do restore HP instantly, but they’re limited to three, and they’ll burn out fast. The challenge level is good, and the shootouts would be even great fun – if it wasn’t for the braindead AI that gets stuck half the time, the enemies spawning behind you from thin air, your character automatically switching to melee when enemies are nearby – which is pitifully weak by the way.
This system is designed to promote mobility and dynamically opening loot crates (when, if they work) to keep supplies high – but the truth is that funneling everyone in a door is the best strategy most of the time. Your Battlehacks, capable of staggering enemies or damaging them for an energy cost, will be the counter to heavy foes, enabling attacks from their less-protected areas.
There are no skills, offensive/defensive consumables or other mechanics to add depth to a combat system that feels responsive and enjoyable when it works, but it rarely ever does. Don’t you love a two-second screen freeze each time you kill an enemy, due to the jury-rigged, rusted contraption these devs used as engine? Yay! All of this will eventually get stale, as there are very few enemy archetypes all acting the same, with no memorable variant, unique fight or epic boss at any point. The first fight you’ll play will be exactly the same as any other one. There’s simply no evolution.
Janus can’t improve his cybernetic body, which feels like a missed opportunity, but can indeed improve his gear for hard-earned cash. This system enables some form of progression between missions, and uses a modular system where you can allocate upgrades to each gun – with a limit; there won’t be any “god gun”. Scrap all of it, though: the system is bugged, as is mostly everything else in this early-alpha disguised as “””full release””” (three layers of quotes, one isn’t enough).