Never before have I played a game so brutally difficult yet pleasantly violent.
BUTCHER, developed by Transhuman Design, lives to its name through its intense and gory gameplay.
While the game provides no real storyline through its gameplay, its “kill-or-be-killed” style allows BUTCHER to not require a plot to be enjoyable.
The gameplay is deserving of its self-proclaimed statement that “The Easiest Mode is ‘HARD.’” Players traverse through various 2D-scrolling platform worlds, solving puzzles and avoiding traps and lava, killing all enemies (or sign of life really) in sight, as players attempt to each the end of the stage still alive. While the goal sounds simple, the task remains easier said than done.
Controls are straightforward: standard 2D platform left/right movement and jumps, but the enjoyable part is the full control of weapons and aiming using the mouse. Players point-and-click at their targets and shoot them. However, the game’s intense speed makes gameplay more complex, making the slightest mistake to be the cause of your downfall, forcing you to restart that stage. While you start with a chainsaw and a shot gun, you will attain more weapons, like an assault rifle or grenade launcher, throughout the game. The chainsaw is not a ranged weapon, only capable of killing enemies within a short range, however when used correctly, it has the ability to launch the player forward.
The player gets one health bar, one armor bar, and one for ammunition. While there is a limit on the amount of ammo a player can hold on to, there appears to be no limitations on how high your health and armor can be from my experience (my experience being 70 deaths before the end of the 3rd stage). Health and armor are not easily sustained and players will die swift deaths before they even take notice of their declining health status.
Health, ammo and armor are all in limited supply, adding thrill to the gameplay as players will have to scramble to make it through the level to obtain the three and eventually make to the end of the level. All three can be dropped by defeating enemies or can be found available spread throughout each stage.
Enemies wield shotguns, knives or even assault rifles, all targeting the player. There is some variability too, with some enemies flying around in jet packs and some charging in at the player at fast speeds, making it harder to have precise aiming. The enemy pool is not very appealing and feels dull quick; however, a variety of enemies are not of importance in comparison to the style of this game, which will keep players entertained regardless.
Players are given infinite lives for each individual stage, with no save points within the stage. This proves as absolutely necessary, especially for BUTCHER’s difficulty. Stages are not difficult to complete – in concept – it is overwhelmingly easy to die, making completion of a stage a true accomplishment.
BUTCHER’s most appealing aspect is its fast-paced style. The best way to enjoy this game is by moving as fast you can through the stage, killing enemies before they deal any damage to you, and collect all available health and armor found on the stage. Many gamers will be appealed by its speed-run capabilities. Enemies tend to be very nimble after spawning with no real pattern to their movements.
Each 2D stage is individualistic and designed to be a different experience compared to the rest, providing different situations and puzzles to deal with, as well as remaining just as difficult as the last.
The menacing aesthetics of the game combos well with the bloodthirsty gameplay, providing an enjoyable experience – assuming you can handle the gore of blood and guts splattered everywhere or the difficultly of mastering this fine game.
- Enjoyable and intense gameplay (every second counts, moments of rest in-game are few)
- Use of mouse for shooting in a 2D scroller-style is very satisfying
- Infinite lives
- Variety of weapons to choose from
- High difficulty (no joke, unless you have the will power to complete a level after tens of deaths, the continuous dying will discourage players after a while)
- Gameplay on the same level could feel mundane at its 70th run-through.
Reviewed on: PC; Developer: Transhuman Design; Players: Single Player; Released: October 5, 2016; ESRB: NA; MSRP: $9.99; Official Site