ReviewsReview: Butcher

Review: Butcher

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Can you imagine having to run for your life as a demented cyborg hunts down mankind? No matter what you do, death is all but certain, and fighting back is futile! This dank and grimy future isn’t a world I want to exist in, but if you play Butcher, this is exactly what you’ll encounter.

Developed by Transhuman Design and published by Crunching Koalas, this fast-paced 2D twin-stick shooter will make you wince throughout. A violent blood bath from the very beginning. This isn’t a game for the squeamish. You control the deranged human destroying cyborg, and your only aim is to stay alive, and kill everything that moves.

Butcher is brutal!

I was shocked at the brutality experienced when playing Butcher. Its hardcore levels of violence shock you from the off. Armed with a shotgun and chainsaw to start with, you must shoot, hack and disembody any human that you see. This is the key concept of the game, and the bloodbath gets more extreme as you progress.

Circular saw traps roll behind you, slashing anyone that is unfortunate enough to stray into its path. Hooks are used to hang up your victims, and pools of lava will melt away any evidence. The traps get more gruesome as you work through each of the zones. It quickly strays from a twin-stick shooter, to a freerunning platform agility test.

So much fire and lava.

When “Hard” mode is the easiest setting, you know there is an issue.

With “Tough” games being the in thing, it didn’t surprise me when I saw the level of difficulty. You can select between four options, the lowest being Hard, and the highest, “Impossible” which is not even worth considering. With limited ammo, a small amount of health, and rock hard enemies to kill, this isn’t the easiest game to complete. You must explore five zones, each comprising four levels of hellish gameplay, and you’ll finish with an epic guardian battle.

In theory, it should be a walk in the park, but in reality the game’s difficulty increases gradually the further you get into its plot. Luckily, new weapons are drip fed to you at regular intervals. These quickly become overpowered and a joy to use, but these are countered by ridiculous superhuman’s who fly at you, explode in balls of flames, and launch at you like Kamikaze warriors. It’s hectic, headache inducing, but it is super addictive to play.

Club Fort looks a bit of a hot spot!

Rough pixelated presentation.

Before I got this to review, I did not know what it was about. So when I loaded into it, I was shocked by its appearance. I’m not a gamer who is obsessed with graphics, but this is rough as hell! Looking closer to a game I’d have played on the Master System or NES, it’s ridiculous on a large screened TV. The dark tones and ominous look do wonders at enhancing the murderous theme. Bodies swing from chains, and blood splatters stain the landscape. It’s horrific to observe, painful on the eyes, and won’t win any awards for its style. Yet, I loved it once I became accustomed to it!

An aggressive game needs an angry soundtrack, and Butcher delivers just that. Its drum and bass soundtrack matches the ultra violent scenes that are unfolding on the screen. Its high adrenaline tempo pushes you to take risks, and to increase your pace. You throw caution to the wind, and jump into each area without a care in the world. There are then the thunderous sounds of the shotgun blaring, the chainsaw roaring, and the many other explosions that sound as you continue your murderous spree. The audio did brilliantly to enhance the horrendously dark atmosphere, and I loved it.

Being hit by that will make you sore.

Remarkably easy to control.

When I read the phrases; Twin-stick shooter and fast-paced action, I came out in a cold sweat. My ability to play these types of games is far from its peak, but fortunately, it was remarkably easy to control. An assisted aim allows you easy targeting to take down your foes. Flicking through your list of weapons is responsive, as is the command to jump or fall through platforms. The controls are smooth, and though it was hectic from the first level, it was a joy to play.

A platform game would feel hollow if it didn’t have one form of collectable. Luckily Butcher allows you to collect Skulls (how morbid), thirty five must be searched for across each of the twenty stages. They hide beyond fake walls, along darkened paths, and behind locked doors. You must look high and low to find them, and only the most observant will collect them all.

As well as the skull hunt, you have a speedrun to focus on, and you will die repeatedly! These elements force you to replay most levels, searching for secret paths, and trying to knock off valuable seconds. It’s heartbreaking, infuriating, and annoying, but nothing will stop you from wanting to finish each stage. A brutal achievement list will only be completed by the most foolhardy gamers. I’ve already resigned myself to not completing this, I neither have the skill nor the patience to beat it quickly, or on the toughest setting.

Butcher proves looks can be deceiving.

The moment Butcher loads in, you’ll believe that you’ve time travelled back to the early 90s. Its simplistic design and rough look won’t be to everyone’s liking, but I urge you to not run a mile. You quickly become accustomed to its appearance, and concentrate on moving quickly, and killing everything that moves. You’ll be shocked at the ultra violence, the levels of gore, and the array of weapons. The difficulty will push you, and you’ll scream with anger many times. I recommend you try this, so buy it here! You have one task, murder everyone that stands in your way. Sadly, the humans won’t lie down and take it! Grab your guns, it’s time to go on a killing spree.

SUMMARY

Butcher is a gory, ultra violent twin-stick shooter that'll make you rage quit. Brutal to play, horrific to look at, and addictive as hell. Don't be put off by the dated graphics, this is one game you should have in your library.

+ Excellent aggressive audio.
+ Fast-paced gory gameplay.
+ Challenging to play.
+ Plenty of replay value.
+ Lots of weapons to use.
- Dated graphics.
- It'll be too difficult for many gamers.
- A tough ask to hit the 100% status.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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