Turbo Overkill Review – Half-metal, Half-human, & Totally Fun

Turbo Overkill Review

Turbo Overkill is the new kid in the FPS town. The hero of the game goes by the name of Johnny Turbo. As touted by developer – Trigger Happy Interactive – Johnny Turbo is half-metal, half-human and half-crazy. Turbo cybernetic enhancements include hidden arm rockets, and a concealed chainsaw in your leg – called the Cheg – that can kick slice your enemies into pieces. Turbo Overkill is published by Apogee Entertainment, a company with a strong pedigree of indie FPS games like Duke Nukem, Raptor, and Rise of the Triad.

This shooter wears its 16 bit graphically styled heart on its sleeve. Turbo borrows and evokes imagery from Blade Runner mashed with Doom, with tongue firmly planted in its Duke Nuke’em cheek. Get a load of the storyline – Johnny has returned to his hometown of Paradise. Of course, Paradise is no longer a paradise, and an evil AI called Syn is in control. Johnny is a gun for hire deeply in debt and the prize for ridding Paradise of Syn will clear his debts.

Paradise Lost

The challenge will be tough, as not only will Johnny have to contend with rival bounty hunters but the Syn-controlled citizens of Paradise too. Johnny’s augmentations may be up to the task, though. You have many tools at your disposal that allow for a variety of tactics. There’s the aforementioned arm missiles and leg chainsaw – called the cheg. The fun doesn’t stop there. You have your trusty Twin Magnums which lock-on and instagib enemies. That’s only the beginning of your offensive options.

You also have your Boomer Shotgun and a teleporting sniper rifle called the Telefragger. Besides sniping enemies, the Telefragger lets you explode targets by teleporting inside them. Also, there is the familiar Hero Time ability, which is the game’s version of Max Payne Bullet Time. You can use Hero Time to build up incredible speed by wall running and dashing. Each weapon has an alternate fire option.

Other nifty gameplay elements include collecting augments from bosses you kill. Another way to pick up augments is through good old cold, hard cash. Kills earn cash and with it you can also upgrade your weapons and add new abilities from the talent tree. The augments go into slots on your arms and legs. Unfortunately, most of these come later in the game.

New, Gory Ways To Kill

The fun doesn’t stop there. You can swing Spidey style around levels with your grappling hook, become a ghost while wall running, and drop on enemies below by hood surfing off your air car.
Turbo Overkill uses a retro-inspired graphical look that depicts Paradise city as a Blade Runner-esque urban landscape. The devs give the 16 bit textures a modern look by using Unreal Engine 5 for lighting. The Blade Runner look is further enhanced with rain and wet surfaces to reflect the neon night scape. There are some extra flourishes too – the holographic palm trees make for a nice touch.

Also done well are the weapon sounds. Guns boom with authority and that authority is emphasized with the graphic gore, which turns enemies into piles of red pixels. This also applies to the cheg and beam weapons that electrify opponents.

The action in Turbo Overkill is fast. Very fast. You have to keep on the move or enemies will chew you up. It’s all very Quake-like, including the hunt for colour-coded keys to open up new areas. There are two dozen stages to battle through and search for collectibles, secrets, combat puzzles, and bonus area stages. Some may find all of this a tad overwhelming.

Gamepad support is flakey and given the frantic pace of the game, the optimal way to play is with a mouse and keyboard. The game needs the precision of mouse and keyboard because of the platforming sections. You must approach them in a specific way, otherwise, you will fall all the way back to the ground level. Plus, some walls have electrical plates that you must avoid. The necessity of platforming in FPS shooters is controversial. Look no further than the reception to them in Doom Eternal.

Lots of Action and Laughs

Turbo Overkill has a lot going for it, the least of which is the humour. Not only does it mock our predictions of what the future is going to be, but it also takes some hard shots at social concerns. They throw a lot of material at the wall and, more often than not, it lands. There’s also character-based humour such as your cheg stalling and needing to be started up again.

Speaking of the cheg, level design may frustrate player on several fronts. From the cheg perspective, there are too many flat areas which diminish its effectiveness. Like a crazed Tony Hawk skater, there is a need for ramps and slopes to fully pull off cheg tricks. Also, the architecture is less based on any sort of realistic layouts. It carries a much more video game derived with rooms and hallways and platforms that you can get easily get lost in.


Music is always important in an FPS. The proper mix can really get the blood pumping and elevate the primal urge to seek and destroy. Turbo Overkill uses a two genres of music to great effect. Beyond the expected hard-driving synth sounds, it uses heavy metal tracks to give an extra kick during various battles, most notably during boss fights.

Trigger Happy Interactive has named the game well. They push everything in Turbo Overkill to the limits. Everything is frantic, fast-paced, and depicted with excessive amounts of graphical and auditory flair.

If you enjoyed the fast and frantic pace of Doom Eternal, this game will scratch the very same FPS itch.

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The Good

Fast paced gameplay
Great nods to other classic FPS
Fun and funny premise


The Bad

Video game based level design
Gamepad support is flaky
Augments don’t change gameplay enough