This Doom-powered, nautical shooter boldly asks 'what if Spongebob was on Adult Swim in 2006'

Captain Wayne posing reloading his shotgun arm with open ocean and tropical island visible in background
(Image credit: Ciaran Games)

People are doing so many cool things in Doom modding these days, it takes a lot to stand out. First spotted by Alpha Beta Gamer, Captain Wayne - Vacation Desperation does so with aplomb, boasting a grungy "smart people doing dumb guy," Duke Nukem-y sense of humor and the colorful, nautical fun of Spongebob Squarepants⁠—just with like, swears and stuff.

The presentation and graphics really is where Captain Wayne knocks it out of the park⁠—character sprites have a perfect '90s animation look in a similar vein to Pizza Tower, and the whole thing's awash in this groovy, Tequila Sunrise color palette. Seriously, I love the environments both here in the free demo and hinted at in screenshots of later levels on Steam, it's like "Florida retirement village nautical-themed steakhouse" crossed with "'80s lounge glam."

Cheap nautical gags abound, with some of my favorites including a women's restroom labeled "No Man's Head," and omnipresent ads for "Melville Whale Oil." The soundtrack's mostly a very fitting heavy metal joint that propels the action along, but I was really tickled by the proggy organ lines developer Ciaran Games threw in⁠—more of that, please. The whole thing's just got this very cheeky, madcap sensibility, and it extends to the gameplay as well.

Your weapons are classic boomer shooter staples but they all feel great (I mean, it's built on Doom) and have a fun Captain Wayne twist. Most of them are presented as different "modes" for the good skipper's robot arm, with the lone exception being a fully classico big ass pirate cannon as your rocket launcher. My favorite is easily the humble melee though, here augmented with a sick instagib charge up function like the broadsword in Dusk. An instakill windup melee power attack is possibly one of the most slept-on things you can just chuck in a shooter to make it instantly more fun, and it never got old winding one up to go all "Pow! Right in the kisser."

The demo's lone level does a great job balancing twisty, switchback level design with "this feels like a real place," and there were some real standout encounters. My favorite is a classic boomer shooter arena swarm set in and around a hotel pool, complete with enemies taking pot shots at you from the water as you zoom around poolside. Captain Wayne is fun as hell, and I'm now eagerly awaiting the full game. For now, you can wishlist it on Steam and check out its free demo for yourself over on

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.