Tripping over my own feet
The boomer shooter genre has a very specific fluidity that allow us to move fast and shoot fast. That usually involves opening up the proverbial game mechanics wallet to let us jump further and keep our inertia going. SPRAWL wants us to do all that, but its intentional constraints don’t let us do either well enough.
The game itself doesn’t necessarily feel bad to play — the weapons have cool mods like affecting time, and the environments carry both a cool Japanese Cyberpunk aesthetic and are open for a little bit of exploration — but self-imposed locks slow down the experience.
The game is centered around parkour, guns, and jumping between walls, but those jumps are limited, and movement on those walls sometimes requires eating our second jump just to retain speed. This forces us to break our movement type just to keep going. It can feel a little too finicky and constrained at times, which goes against the general genres that it’s trying to pay homage to.
When I play boomer shooters I want to move as fast as I can and kill anything in my way, but the density of the “sprawl” concept here gets in the way of itself. This may be a personal preference of how I like to play this style of game, but it separates me from what I was expecting this game to feel like.
This review is based on a Steam code sent to SideQuesting by the publisher. This video first appeared on The SideQuest Live! for September 15th, 2023.