Publisher Devolver Digital is having one heck of a good 2017 so far, not only with all the buzz surrounding its borderline surreal E3 presentation, but also by releasing lots of good games such as Strafe and Shadow Warrior 2. Initially shown at that mental bomb that was their mock conference, Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour is a new entry in the decades-old Serious Sam franchise, this time being a 2D twin-stick shooter instead of a first-person shooter. The franchise has already seen previous decent spin-offs in other genres, such as platformers and even RPGs, so does Bogus Detour maintain this mean streak?
Gentlemen, can’t we just talk?
Bogus Detour looks like a retro-inspired twin-stick shooter, and plays like one, but don’t you worry, this is as much a Serious Sam game as any other previous FPS iteration. The gameplay is different, but at the same time similar: levels are still the same labyrinths filled with literal hundreds of enemies, there are lots of health power-ups and ammo scattered all around, key cards are still necessary to open certain doors, the amount of bullets being shot from both sides is still as over the top as ever, and so on. This game is very easy to pick up and play both for Serious Sam fans and non-fans, aside from the aiming speed, which you have to get used to. That doesn’t mean this game is actually easy, though. Bogus Detour is a very challenging game, the type of game that’ll make you consider changing to Easy Mode in later stages due to its insane difficulty. The first couple of levels are beatable without breaking a sweat, but later levels, including the pretty much impossible-to-beat final boss, are some of the most infuriating levels this side of Dark Souls. Although that can be quite a downer for some people, others will love the level of challenge Bogus Detour offers, especially when playing on co-op.
Yes, Bogus Detour features not only co-op support in the main campaign, but also a cool horde mode that’s playable with friends, if you thought the main game was too easy for your pro hands. If you’re still not satisfied, the game also features a very engaging map editor, complete with Steam Workshop support. In theory, that gives Bogus Detour an infinite amount of levels, drastically improving its replayability.
Visually-speaking, it does its job pretty well. Just like loads and loads of indie PC games out there, Bogus Detour features pixel art visuals. I have to be honest with you guys and confess that I’m starting to get completely exhausted with the ton of pixel art games coming out pretty much on a weekly basis, but Bogus Detour did a good job by being slightly more detailed than the rest and by managing to maintain a very constant framerate even when dozens of enemies were onscreen at the same time. The visuals aren’t just another clichéed 8-bit or 16-bit coat of paint. With the exception of the low-quality characters, which are quite small and less detailed in comparison to the rest of the map, the game is very detailed and colorful.
Bogus Detour‘s main offender is its sound design. It’s not exactly “bad” in the literal sense of the word, but if there’s something I’d point out as completely forgettable in this game it’s easily the soundtrack. It’s just one of those collections of tunes that are “just there” in the game, not being essentially bad but definitely not good enough to stand out. The game also features some lines of dialogue spoken by Sam himself, which are amusing in the beginning, but get boring quite quickly.
Thankfully enough, Bogus Detour plays completely fine and it’s fun to play, and that’s what we’re here for.
It must suck to be this place’s janitor
Bogus Detour might look completely different to the classic Serious Sam games, but it’s still a Serious Sam by all intents and purposes. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but I can’t deny I had a lot of fun with it. It’s one of the most enjoyable twin-stick shooters I’ve played in recent times.