Sep 19, 2017 Last Updated 7:38 PM, Sep 19, 2017

BUTCHER Review

Published in Action
Read 928 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

BUTCHER is a brutally violent 2D shooter from developer Transhuman Design.

The lovechild of hyper-violent games like Hotline Miami, Doom, and Broforce, it feels like a tribute to the pixelated shooters of the 90's. In fact, it even has a CRT filter in the options menu.

It's also the most challenging title I’ve had the chance to review so far, as a writer for OpNoobs. As is stated upon booting it up, “hard” mode is the easiest difficulty. From there, it only gets harder.

If you’re squeamish about violence and pixelated gore, you’d best walk away.

Not only has BUTCHER got blood by the buckets, it also boasts incredibly unsettling sound effects. Enemies, for example, don’t always die right away; sometimes they’re reduced to a writhing mess of organs and fluids, moaning and suffering from the wrath of your unforgiving hand. Sure, much of that violence can't be expressed visually due to its retro style, but the sounds of an enemy screaming in pain after you’ve run a chainsaw through its flesh, is a disturbing element that more visually advanced competitors wish they could inflict upon on their player base. Plus, the soundtrack is stellar.

BUTCHER doesn’t want to pull any punches.

And quite frankly, it’s refreshing to play a game that not only embraces violence but manages to build a solid structure around it, without the usual handholding. The game doesn’t explain a whole lot, and there's little time for an intro before it throws you into the action. All you need to know is that you're a dude with a gun (likely the BUTCHER) who's flown his ship into what looks like a derelict space station, and your sole purpose, I guess out of necessity, is wiping out every living being there. You progress through levels and areas spread out over a hub-like world. You jump across gaps, up platforms, all while aiming with the mouse to shoot at enemies. You flip switches to open doors, trigger traps, and call elevators. Level design encourages you to explore, with secret skulls to be collected in every level. There are a few different weapon types, and you’ll always have your trusty (if a little lackluster) chainsaw. Players can also pick up health and armor à la Doom. But be on your toes: the bad guys can come at you from platforms above or take you out from below, and the controls are tight enough that death won't feel cheap. The game does require a certain degree of finesse - you won’t progress otherwise.

The graphics work by the way - though the pixels can look muddy, these environments feel alive.

Mechanisms move with remarkable fluidity, and the blood effects are impressive. There's so much polish; from its menus to its UI, to its visuals.

It's obvious: Transhuman Design was passionate about BUTCHER and the genre it falls into; they’ve created a look that is both an homage to the 90's and one that is entirely their own.

The levels and gameplay seem simple at first. Then you die 10 times in a row. A player’s first thought might be to blame the frustrating flimsiness of the protagonist - why is it so easy to die? Then one begins to realize just how many nods this game makes towards Hotline Miami’s brilliantly challenging mission structure.

Enemies always spawn in the same places at the same times, and it takes multiple attempts to learn the ins and outs of any given stage. Most players will likely go into it expecting a sort of cathartic experience, blasting at enemies and blowing through levels with ease. They'll soon realize enemies wipe you with a couple shotgun blasts, while jetpack-wearing machine-gunners can appear at any moment. Add the little dudes with swords relentlessly chase after you, killing you before you even have a chance to swear at the screen, and you're set for mayhem - against YOU. And much like Hotline Miami, dying repeatedly within a single level eventually has you blowing your way through it, as the well-oiled and technically adept death-machine you've suffered to become. Every time I perished, I jumped back in, a little wiser to the challenges that awaited me.

Then is the tactical approach to weapon-choosing based on contextual need. Hell yeah.

That means certain weapons are best for certain situations. The assault rifle is great for far away enemies, while the shotgun can clear out chaotic rooms a little easier. You’ll remember to jump at this moment specifically, you’ll shoot this bad guy first, then leap over the lava, and kill the other bad guy second. You might even not kill few at all, choosing instead to close the door behind you, leaving them for the fire traps that fill each stage. The game had me immeasurably pissed off at how hard it was, and the next moment amused at just how smart BUTCHER can be.

9

The Verdict

BUTCHER is a polished, extremely well-built 2D shooter that wears its difficulty on its sleeve. It's an absolute blast to play, but players may find difficulty adjusting to the incredible challenges that await them. If you have the patience to withstand this level of gameplay, you’ll be prepared to feel the rush of adrenaline when completing one of BUTCHER’s insanely hard levels. It isn't Dark Soulism, or Hotline Miamian excellence, but it comes darn close. The game looks great and plays great, and I most def recommend it to anyone looking for some brutal, arcade action.

Alec Cudmore

Alec Cudmore loves video games and music, and whenever the two manage to intertwine. Writing is another passion of his, and he enjoys any journalism work he can do regarding either one of the two previously mentioned art forms. His favorite game is Shadow of the Colossus because it changed his entire perspective on what video games can accomplish, on an artistic and emotional level. The soundtrack was dope too. A closet poet and music composer, Alec spends his free time trying to finish at least one artistic project without going insane.

Related items

  • Sine Mora EX Review

    As you familiarize yourself with Sine Mora  EX, difficulty declines: bosses and normal enemies have predetermined flight and attack patterns, the structure of the map doesn’t change. But avoiding a barrage of incoming missiles is nevertheless a tantalizing pursuit. One piece of advice: Know your target and its trajectory, then concentrate on your ship. Concentration and quick reflexes are a must, but if you’re up for a challenge and enjoy this genre, you’ll enjoy Sine Mora EX without a doubt.

  • Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Review

    If you loved the first Cook, Serve, Delicious!, then you'll probably love Cook 2,as well. While there are major bugs for the Mac version right now, there are only minor bugs for Windows. I feel like using a mouse and keyboard will always feel somewhat constraining, however, although improvements to the gameplay could alleviate that feeling somewhat. As Cook 2 stands now, it is compelling, with plenty to enjoy in it, although ultimately the dish feels a bit stale.

  • Blasters of the Universe Review

    Blasters of the Universe is what the 80s thought video games would be like in the future. It's neon-drenched, arcadey, and absolutely addictive; the rare marriage of a great concept and flawless execution. But most importantly: it's a blast.

More in this category: Frog Climbers Review »

Latest Shows

Crumple Intervie…

The OPN Dev Talk with Gabriel Gutierrez from Nascent Games, on their title newly release title "Crumple." A great conversation about what it takes to get a studio on the run, and o...

The Search Inter…

Embark on a journey of discovery and inspiration in The Search - a story-driven puzzle-adventure set in a mysterious world where art comes to life! In an unknown world, you'll sear...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

FIFA 18

Score incredible goals in FIFA 18 as new movement and finishing animations unlock more fluid strikin...

Total War: WARHA…

Sequel to the award-winning Total War: WARHAMMER, Total War: WARHAMMER II introduces a breathtaking ...

Cook, Serve, Del…

If you loved the first Cook, Serve, Delicious!, then you'll probably love Cook 2,as well. While there are major bugs for the Mac version right now, there are only minor bugs for Wi...

XCOM 2: War of t…

War of the Chosen adds so favorably to the original XCOM 2 experience that fans should consider it near-perfect as well as essential. Although some features in XCOM 2: War of the C...

Suicide Guy Revi…

Suicide Guy caters to the underserved demographic of people who enjoy 3D puzzle platformers, except this serving is more of a home-cooked meal from Grandma’s house after she had go...

Sine Mora EX Rev…

As you familiarize yourself with Sine Mora  EX, difficulty declines: bosses and normal enemies have predetermined flight and attack patterns, the structure of the map doesn’t chang...