Review Report: Bombshell A Fun Yet Repetitive And Humorless Duke Nukem
(Last Updated On: May 6, 2016)

3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment’s Bombshell is an isometric, RPG-lite action shooter. It features Shell “Bombshell” Harrison out to get revenge against the evil Professor Jadus Heskel for taking her arm. Players will kill a variety of space aliens while they take an intergalactic journey across space to dish out justice and dispense some hard-earned revenge.

The game features finishing moves, interactive environments, arcade-style shooting segments in a turret gun, four different planets to conquer, and a variety of side quests and non-linear levels to explore with some light ability and skill point distribution. You can see what the game looks like with a video below from YouTuber Riddikore.

The reviews for the game are interesting. There are a lot of gamers who feel as if the title has a lot of potential and that it’s fun to play, but that they weren’t fond of the lacking humor compared to Duke Nukem. They noted that the one-liners got tiresome after a while and that despite having fun isometric gameplay, the levels became repetitious.

The developers took note of the mixed review score on Steam and actually addressed some of the problems within their means. They offered an explanation of how they plan on further fixing the game, noting in a Steam update that they balanced out the boss fights, lessened the amount of one-liners and executions so that they happen more infrequently and make the player feel special when they happen. They also tweaked some of the textures and squashed some bugs while improving the overall performance of the game. They plan on further updating the game to address the issue of repetitious gameplay that worked as “filler” but for now they wanted to make the game as enjoyable as possible for the people looking for a solid isometric shooter.

Taking The Charm Out Of Duke Nukem

Even still, some people weren’t entirely pleased with Bombshell, with users like DeltaGamer pointing to the writing and story as a bigger culprit for the lack of enjoyment…

“The story feels more like exposition that doesn’t offer much to the overall plot, and the writing is filled with obnoxious one liners. Gameplay-wise, it boils down to keep moving and shooting with tedious backtracking and buggy exploration. It’s boring, tedious, and tries to be Duke Nukem, and failing horribly.

“[…]Recent patch resolved most of the issues I had with the game, so although I still find the game tedious, it’s much more tolerable now.”

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Tarmack also couldn’t recommend the game citing issues with repetition and a lack of capturing Duke Nukem’s charm. On the upside, Tarmack did enjoy the graphics and praised Interceptor Entertainment for the great graphics and “satisfying” weapons, along with the awesome soundtrack. But that still wasn’t enough to recommend the game…

“At the end of it all, this is a top down shooter with RPG elements that has very little story, overused dialog and areas that I got tired of very quickly. Those negatives are mildly offset by exceptional visual effects and some kick ♥♥♥ heavy metal music but that’s simply not enough. Shelly has a similar arrogance and attitude to Duke Nukem but without the funny, and the rest of the title is simply not memorable. I cannot recommend this game.”

Serpentine thought the game was enjoyable but that the environments were too empty and devoid of interaction compared to the kind of solid gameplay mechanics that Interceptor put into Bombshell, writing…

“The gameplay showed it was capable of more than just a brainless slog through, although beautiful, content empty environments, but only in the final hours with its numerous puzzles. The voice acting of some of the characters is extremely jarring due to its poor quality compared to the games main characters, most lacking any personality at all. If you absolutely love Action RPG’s then maybe Bombshell is worth a look otherwise you will most likely find Bombshell lacking.”

SidAlpha was more-so concerned with the AI and bugs, but even forgoing the bugs still found the game lacking, writing…

“The gameplay mechanics themselves are actually quite good, but this is marred by the AI problems and the multiple hard-crashes that were experienced.

 

“All in all, the game is a solid 3/10 (below average) at launch. Once the bugs are fixed I would rate it a 5/10 (Average).”

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Phrakindee also felt the game was below average with a boring character-driven story where they forgot the “character part”…

“ it’s nice to shoot some evil aliens in a 3D Realms game again! But it’s a character-driven action game that seems to have forgotten the character part, and instead just relies on action with no soul. The ten hour campaign was a real slog to get through, with boring levels, standard weapons, weak “role-playing” elements, and an utterly forgettable story.”

Over on Metacritic there are a lot of similar complaints, with Hadzi writing…

“Game looked promising but it was not delivered correctly, it looks like it was rushed out of development. Good idea but bad execution of it. I sadly do not recommend this game because it has a bad acting, repetitive, i barely noticed the RPG aspect of the game.“

Fun For Twin-Stick Shooter Fanatics

Despite all the negative reviews from some users, there are some who do enjoy what the game has to offer. Tharrens notes that not every game can be Planescape Torment or The Witcher and that some games are just there to be fun, writing…

“So sure, jokes are hit and miss. Sometime it will grab you a smile, sometime it will feel a bit cringy. Sure, the whole scenario could pretty much be written on a post-it note and sure, Shelly sometime feel like a cliché character, a bit like Duke, but without the clever satire. But who care? It let you turn alien to bloody gibs with satisfying weapons in various environment with fast-paced action. It got some rpg gimmick, some extra-story arena challenge, it’s chock-full of references, ranging from Duke Nukem to Iron Maiden and the smooth gameplay seal the deal. What’s not to like about it?”

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Atomaweapon felt as if the game was receiving so much hate that he was obligated to buy the game to spite the “snotty” reviews from sites like Gamespot, writing…

“It boggles my mind how some reviewers can be so hateful and negative, especially professional game publications. The gamespot review was so snotty and hateful I immediately bought the game and found myself enjoying it. It surely is not earth shattering but it’s that mindless fun that you can pick up after a long day and just play.”

EmmaGees enjoyed the throwback to the 1990s era of gaming with the one-liners and over-the-top gib, gore and pulp, writing…

“Bombshell is like a love letter to the video games of the 90s, when villains were maniacal, and heroes were equipped with outrageous arsenals and snappy one-liners. It’s a game that remembers when we played games for fun.”

 

“The environments are fantastic and beautifully realized in game. Overall the attention to detail is impressive; look for little touches like the vapor cloud from Shelly’s breath in the ice levels. The soundtrack is a highlight, easily one of the best I’ve heard in a game.”

Yamazaki Hokkaido enjoyed the “vast” environments and liked Shell “Bombshell” Harrison, noting that it was a good enough game…

“Bombshell can be played in 3rd Person Mode as well, which makes it quite different and interesting, and even tho it wasnt made for it, pretty neat. Not to say the standard top-down game isn’t – because it is. It’s quite a good game overall; right now a bit pricey perhaps for what it is, but I recommend it as a game – what you’re willing to pay is up to you.”

Beerandgame seemed to sum up Bombshell with a more evenhanded approach, writing…

“Bombshell has good graphics, a script of absurd action, unrestrained and somewhat repetitive gameplay, however, is quite new and interesting bet, not a masterpiece, but it is an acceptable game.”

Both the negative and positive reviews note that 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment are listening to feedback and offering patches and updates for the game to help turn around any negative perceptions about the title. Consistently, most people have praised the game’s soundtrack and noted that the graphics were either decent or good or what Interceptor was trying to achieve. The RPG-lite features were acceptable to some but ridiculed by others for not being more in-depth. Overall, most agreed that the gameplay was solid, just repetitive at times.

For now, you can get Bombshell for $34.99 from over on the Steam store. For more info feel free to visit the game’s official website.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.