Let’s go back to the days of old for a moment, here. The world was enjoying games like Quake, and Unreal Tournament, etc. Twitch shooters were king because it was all about skill and nothing else. Fast forward to today’s first person shooters’ millions of combinations of guns, attachments, perks, maps, capture points, vehicles, etc.; you get the point. We’re in an interesting position now, though, because there’s just this slow trend taking us back to the twitchy arena shooters of the good ole days, with games like the latest iteration of Unreal Tournament in open pre-alpha, and, of course, Toxikk.

Don't worry; there are plenty of rockets here.
Don’t worry; there are plenty of rockets here.

Toxikk is easy to describe: it’s an arena shooter, plain and simple. You spawn into a deathmatch, team deathmatch, or capture the flag with a single, underpowered (relatively) pistol and must pick up weapons through the weapon pads on the ground which automatically regenerate their arms on a set cycle. Pick up health, ammo and armor whenever is convenient–warning: it never will be. As an arena shooter, Toxikk has small maps and chaotic, explosive gameplay. There’s never a dull moment with the brief spawn times and rocket launchers. And though there’s not a ton to say other than “Goodness gracious this is fast” and “I THINK I ACTUALLY KILLED HIM, HA!” Toxikk does not leave you feeling disatisfied; with the difficulty turned up, it’s challenging and, as previously stated, fast as all hell. Good stuff, even if it’s somewhat shallow–there’s a rank-up system, but as far as I can tell…it does nothing.

I won a free-for-all. That's never gonna happen again.
I won a free-for-all. That’s never gonna happen again.

There’s one major problem: the playerbase. It…doesn’t exist. I’ve never been able to join a server with less than 400 ping (unplayable for twitch shooters) so I’ve been forced to resort to playing against bots. It’s not bad; it’s just lacking the satisfaction of knowing there’s a guy out there who will be royally pissed about your headshot. It lacks the grit of human irritation, essentially. So if this game ever wants to leave the LAN party, we’re gonna need some players. There’s not much developer Reakktor Studios can do about this, I’m aware, but it’s extremely important to note. I sincerely hope that we get more players as the game gets further into development.

Toxikk SteamFirst preview 1
I did a thing, here. Guy died. ‘Nuff said.

 

Fittingly enough, Toxikk uses the Unreal Engine (anything else would have been offensive to the genre). As such, it’s a gorgeous game. Models are pretty, guns all look interesting with nice animations, reflections are beautiful, all the good stuff included in any solid Unreal Engine-powered game. Sound doesn’t play much of a roll here, unsurprisingly. Nothing bad about that, it’s just a note.

 

All in all, Reakktor Studios has something solid here for those longing for a modern implementation of the arena twitch shooter. As long as they’re not fighting (heh) against the new Unreal Tournament at release, they’ve got a surefire product on their hands.

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