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HROT is a new retro-FPS that looks like Dusk in the mid-80s Soviet Union

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A friend of mine told me today that HROT was about to launch on Steam Early Access, after which I spent several minutes trying to figure out what HROT meant without asking for help. I eventually discovered that it's not an acronym but an all-caps title for a new indie FPS set in a small Eastern Bloc country that's suffered some sort of ill-defined disaster in 1986.

HROT is being made by a solo developer, Spytihněv, who says it uses a custom engine, written in Pascal, that imitates 1990s software rendering, "with unfiltered textures and polygon jitter." There's an obvious Quake aesthetic to the whole thing—it's very brown—but I get a little bit of Kingpin out of it as well, and the setting brings to mind a sense of Stalker crossed with Pathologic. Some Steam commenters have also called out its similarities to the 1997 FPS Chasm: The Rift—I haven't played that one, though, so I can't comment.

In gameplay terms, it feels very much like Dusk, the outstanding retro-FPS from late 2018. Dusk publisher New Blood Interactive isn't involved with HROT, but New Blood CEO Dave Oshry acknowleged the similarities in a Steam user review, writing, "Dusk dude drink too myuch vodka." (I don't know if "myuch" is a typo or an attempt at a regionally-appropriate accent, but I'm leaving it just in case.) He also described it in a separate message as "essentially Slav Dusk."

The initial Early Access release includes one episode, called "Kiss Me Gustav," with eight levels, nine weapons, 17 enemies, four boss fights, a new game+ mode, and a horde map. The full version will have three episodes with "tons of enemies, weapons and cool stuff," and is expected to be out in 9-18 months. If you'd like to check it out without commitment (and having given it a spin myself, I definitely recommend it), there's also a single-level demo you can try out for free.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.