The problem with most goofy first-person shooters is they put being goofy first, and being an FPS second. The results tend to be tryhard slogs. To demonstrate how it should be done comes along Super Buff HD. This is a shooter that acts dumb as rocks, looks incredibly silly, but is an absolute blast to play.
Super Buff HD feels like the game Homestar Runner‘s Strong Bad would have made, if only he had a more powerful Lappy. In fact, I’m pretty certain that H*R has to be an inspiration here, given some of the daft voice-work and animation style. The other big, clear source of ideas is Duke Nukem 3D, and the two combined result in a game that feels like something completely other.
This is super-fast, super-violent (although with words instead of blood!), and super-silly. Serious Sam-numbers of enemies bombard you from all around, as you circle-strafe and leap around, mowing them all down. But in an added twist, there’s a dose of parkour thrown in, with most the objects in the game proving mysteriously bouncy, letting you propel yourself about, aided by a double-jump and mid-air dash.
Further to the movement antics, you can also jump on top of many of the enemies, and then surf them around the arenas as you fight. Literally surfing on them, using your dash to change direction, and even being able to wall-ride when stood upon a peculiar body. In the moments when you run out of ammo, this proves especially welcome, as it affords you the ability to smash into enemies and send them flying.
And wow, it just keeps delivering. The environments keep changing, from a mall to a Western to a mushroom forest. Enemy types are continuously added to the roster, while new weapons arrive at a slow-but-tempting pace. I’m especially taken with the staple guns. There are boss fights, but even a dumbo like me has managed to defeat all of them first time (so far – I’ve been playing for ages and this game just keeps going), and then crazed arenas where multiple versions of previous bosses all turn up at once.
But more than anything else, more importantly than all its deliberately scruffy art, cascading comic book words, and utterly weird enemy design, is that it’s just a really good FPS. It’s so fast, so well-controlled, and never makes you wait for anything. Death means an instantaneous respawn, run out of lives and the level will start over before you’ve blinked, meaning the pace never falters.
Its hand-drawn Strong Baddish art will likely put many off at the thumbnail, given it looks too much like too many games that look like this because they can’t not. This is different, however, and enormously worth your time. I’ve had so much fun playing Super Buff HD, and I suspect you will too.
- Buffcorp / Digerati