The Cold War ended with the nuclear annihilation of Earth. The few survivors make the most of their post-apocalyptic lives in the only way they know how, by getting wasted! Some survivors prefer the quaint ramshackle bars of ruined communities while others brave the wasteland in search of an irradiated drink called ‘booze’. This drink is popular for its advanced mutated properties, although it packs one hell of a hangover.
Wasted is a rogue-like first person shooter brewed in the mind of Arthur ‘Mr. Podunkian’ Lee who’s known for spoofing popular games with his creations Enough Plumbers and Merry Gear Solid. Wasted should be taken with the same sense of mockery. Before the opening cutscene has played out, it’s obvious that Wasted is a parody of the Fallout series.
The Fallout comparisons go far beyond the wasteland setting and first person perspective. Wasted has versions of vaults called ‘coolers’ which house the ‘booze’. Beyond that, each cooler is lined with traps and even has computers that store random info about the coolers and its residents. Sound familiar? Although several significant design choices separate the two games. While Fallout takes place in a strange retro future, Wasted is set smack-bang in the middle of the big hair, muscle car, synth music decade of the 1980s.
Wasted is filled with a rich sense of 80s culture doused with loads of toilet humour and I mean that literally. The in-game currency is TP and just one visit to a shop, and it’s apparent they mean toilet paper. Several comedic highlights include a meeting with Richard Nixon, who’s sprouted Henry Kissinger’s face where his genitals should be. The Vegas inspired town is known as Vague Ass. There’s an outfit called the Denim Disasterpiece and endless enemy encounters that result in cell-shaded blood baths while parodies of 80s songs play from boom boxes appropriately placed around the landscape.
When I think of a parody game, I imagine something that will generate a few laughs then ultimately wears thin because of the cheap gameplay. This is certainly not the case for Wasted as its gameplay is quite good. It’s no triple A title, but the combat and exploration are tight and in most ways I would consider them to be on par with Fallout.
Each weapon possesses its own rate of fire, damage and recoil. Some melee weapons swing faster than others. One issue I had was that the aiming system feels outdated. It feels like the system used before looking down iron sights was a thing. On the plus side, weapons don’t break down over time. There is no EXP system. Instead, experience points are replaced with TP, and it’s automatically added to your wallet. The character upgrades come from drinking the booze. Looting corpses and raiding crates offer weapons, outfits and supplies. Like Fallout and other RPGs, gameplay operates on a hit-point system. You will see the hit-points represented by red pixelated numbers bouncing around the screen.
As it’s a rogue-like, death comes often in Wasted. The progression mechanics can be tricky to wrap your head around. It works like this. You explore, murder and scavenge your way through the randomly generated coolers for anything of value and gain as much TP as possible. Then you either store the valuables in a mailbox or locate a bottle of booze. The booze grants you a permanent upgrade (+5 sneak, exploding enemies, etc.) and leaves you with such a hangover that you are transported to your safe house for some recovery time. If you die, all your possessions are forfeited, and you return as a new character.
The safe house features plenty of storage space for your valuables, including a money box (for toilet paper). Each cooler run is a risk vs. reward scenario. Do you drink the booze and secure your items or risk another floor of the cooler hoping to score even better items? Retreating is not an option, as the enemy force the S.O.B. is constantly on your trail. Those guys are incredibly tough. As you progress further into the cooler, you begin to encounter characters that grant access to new towns to explore full of shops and quests.
Wasted is a long and challenging game. It will likely take several hours before you have even progressed far enough through the first cooler to unlock any new areas. This may turn some people away from the game, but the humour and tight gameplay mean that it’s totally worth it. There is a story, although it’s very minimal. Courier run mode is an additional competitive mode which pits you through a new cooler each day with online leaderboards.
The bottom line is that Wasted is worth your time and money. I came for the wasteland and stayed for the humour and gameplay. It’s excellent. And what better way to wait out the apocalypse than with a few bottles of irradiated booze.
Published by Adult Swim Games, Wasted is available now. You can check it out here.
Michael Vane is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2. Go say Hi @DrVane