Over-the-top retro shooter Turbo Overkill's second act adopted a "more is more" approach to following up its fantastic first impression—new movement tech like a snappy grappling hook, more enemies, fresh upgrades, and new weapons filling out the number row all the way to the zero key. I initially wasn't sure how developer Trigger Happy could keep building on that in the game's third and final episode, but a two-level preview has me confident that they'll stick the landing.
In the wide world of throwback FPSes, Turbo Overkill isn't actually throwing it back too far. Though its creators have roots in the Doom modding scene, Turbo Overkill feels like a successor to Doom Eternal in a similar way to New Blood's Ultrakill. Its high-flying combat is bolstered by a bevy of movement options, with the star of the show being a tacticool FPS crouch slide you can drop into at any time with Ctrl—oh, and protagonist Johnny Turbo's chainsaw leg will launch you at Mach speed and instagib everything in front of you. It feels phenomenal, and always leaves the control key my main way of interacting with this world.
Episode 3: Part 1's preview didn't surprise me with any new mechanics like Episode 2's smorgasbord of new toys, but it's shaping up to be a nice final exam for everything we've learned—a protracted final level where every one of these mechanics is in play at all times. I found a marked, but not overwhelming increase in difficulty, and I was using every one of these weapons to its fullest. I was getting into a groove of selecting the weapons on keys seven, eight, and nine by muscle memory, I never do that in an FPS! In other games it's always more of a deliberate "oh bother, which button is the Thagomizer Multi-Plas Uber Launcher again?"
The first level of the preview, Scrapyard, is above average for the broader field of FPSes but just par for Turbo Overkill—the fights were great, and the level just twisty and surprising enough. Turbo Overkill trades in overwhelming sci-fi vistas, with most of Episode 1 having a permanent skybox that looked like Ilium from Mass Effect 2, so hanging out in a dump didn't immediately light my world on fire in the same way.
Still, those fights won me over, with the highlights being a particularly massive arena that hosted a multipart wave battle featuring nearly every enemy type introduced in Turbo Overkill so far, as well as a smaller battle in a more constrained, complicated space. You have to duck and weave around spinning blade traps in this claustrophobic room while limited to only your two different flavors of machine gun—Episode 2 introduced "corruption zones" where your entire arsenal gets locked down save for one or two guns, and I think this is a great way to change up the pace of play. But maybe I was just grateful to not have to stretch my index finger all the way to the seven key for my plasma rifle for a few minutes.
If Scrapyard was just a pretty good level, the second I previewed, Infestation, was a real heater. The best Turbo Overkill levels run long, changing things up multiple times throughout and making you constantly question just how much more level there could be. Infestation starts with some linear shooting and platforming over a massive sci-fi battle set piece in the background before transitioning to a mini collectathon in a semi-open destroyed city.
Next, you hop into your hovercar/AI butler for one of Turbo Overkill's Descent-style six degrees of freedom sections, descending into the bowels of the city to destroy the Shoggoth-style critter infesting it. The level concludes with a final on-foot section deep underground, complete with a tricky, delightful bastard of a wave battle on the ledges surrounding a bottomless pit. I found it fun and surprising, and I loved how it just kept going. I figured finding all the glowing purple eyeballs in the destroyed, Doom 2 Hell on Earth hell city had me close to the end, but nope, just the halfway point: time for a womb level in the guts of a great leviathan.
Infestation rocks, and this vision of Episode 3-as-final exam—throwing everything at me in a single 30 minute level—represents everything I've come to love about Turbo Overkill. Episode 3 has the makings of a killer conclusion for this standout FPS, and you can play its first half right now: Apogee and Trigger Happy have shadow dropped Episode 3: Part 1, and you can grab Turbo Overkill in early access for $20 on Steam and GOG.