We Are Doomed Review

From indie developer Mobeen Fikree, We Are Doomed is a highly stylish, relaxed take on the shoot em’ up genre. Much like the other twin stick shooters in the genre, We Are Doomed focuses on quick movements and precision to survive and rack up high scores. Not being a typical fan of the genre I was skeptical to begin with. But “Mo” adds a very different look and feel that truly sets We Are Doomed apart.

Superbeam Ready!

Developer: Vertex Pop
Publisher: Vertex Pop
Format: Xbox One
Release Date: April 17th, 2015
Copy provided by publisher

Before getting my hands into We Are Doomed I decided to check out what the game was like, much like you are doing now. I stumbled upon a YouTube video from PAX 2015 in which Mobeen was interviewed on the game. In the interview he gets questioned about his design choices to which he responds,

“Games aren’t bright and colorful and I wanted to fix that… and I wanted to make a game that was kind of, chill.” – Mobeen Fikree

Mo had a goal and he accomplished it. We Are Doomed is one of the most unique games I’ve played in a very long time. The vibrant colors and calming music simply aren’t expected in games of this nature. Even more so, the game isn’t stressful at all. Most twin stick shooters will have you sitting on the edge of your seat as enemy bullets fly by and you narrowly escape death. I never felt that way in the time I spent with the game. That isn’t to say that the game is easy. On the contrary, if you’re trying to obtain all of the achievements/trophies you will have to work for it. Even completing all the waves without starting from a checkpoint is fairly difficult. But it isn’t stressful.

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“When I make video games I focus on mechanics and visual design. I place a great deal of importance on the feel of the player’s movement and actions, paired with responsive controls.” – Mobeen Fikree

We Are Doomed has two similar game modes: Waves and Endless. In Waves you start at Wave 1 and try to survive until Wave 30. You begin with four lives and each hit loses one. You can also restart from Waves 11 and 21 as sort of a “checkpoint” system. Although your score will be dramatically reduced if you continue in this way. Endless is self explanatory. Waves get replaced with Zones which spawn a new set of enemies for you to fight with increasing difficulty as you try to hold out as long as possible.

Endless and Waves both feature the same enemy set. From the yellow perimeter baddies to the little bastard green splitting enemies. The enemies in We Are Doomed constantly keep you on your toes and force you to adjust your style to survive. Even the large, tracking diamonds can be a pain if you aren’t careful!

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One of the core elements of the game is to dodge around and collect Trinkets as they appear. Trinkets are small cubes that add to your score multiplier once you pick them up. This is crucial for building a high score. The other key gameplay element is the Superbeam. After you’ve killed enough enemies you can unleash a Superbeam which extends the strength and reach of your standard beam. And if you keep collecting Trinkets while your Superbeam is active you can keep it going for longer.

The achievements/trophies in We Are Doomed are highly skill dependent. For experts in games like Geometry Wars you might not have a bad time. I personally struggled to get to Wave 15 without dying when I first started, let alone Wave 30. I was however able to reach Wave 28 without dying after about eight hours of playing. Reaching Wave 30 without dying, Reaching Wave 30 without restarting, and reaching Zone 10 in Endless with 450,000 points aren’t going to be easy for most gamers.

We Are Doomed is an homage to the classic “insert-a-quarter” arcade games. There are no cutscenes. There are no tutorials. You simply start up the game and play. And play you will. Most modern games are structured in such a way that you feel you have to keep going before you can stop. Just one more level. Just five more minutes. We Are Doomed doesn’t discourage people who may just want to play a chill game for ten minutes. But it also allows you to get lost in Endless mode for eternity.

The ultra colorful visuals mixed with the relaxing sounds of We Are Doomed are a welcome change in a industry trying to give us all high blood pressure. If you want to relax and just play I can’t oversell We Are Doomed enough. And if you prefer to climb the leaderboards and attempt to finish Wave 30 without dying, you’ll be in for a treat as well. If you can’t get behind that, then maybe we are all doomed.

Summary:
+ Colorful Art Style
+ Great Music
+ Not stressful
+ Accessible
– Only two game modes
– Level variety

Score: 8/10 “Great”

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