Neon boomer shooter Reaver lets you sail through the air with weapon recoil


I had plenty of fun with the demo for the indie shooter, Reaver, but I knew it was special when I tried to load up Ghostwire: Tokyo immediately afterward and found it painfully, glacially slow. Speed isn't everything, but I found myself craving the unlimited wall jumps and recoil-fueled propulsion of this neon shooter.

The indie boomer shooter wave of recent years shows no signs of slowing down, and Reaver looks to contribute to this mini renaissance ¬†with its own brand of fast-paced, movement-heavy FPS action. Reaver owes the most to Arsi “Hakita” Patala's Ultrakill, but there are some key differences. Reaver is even more arcade-like, with firefights more strictly broken up into discrete arenas, and its weapons adhere to a more rigid “rock-paper-scissors” formula for balance. Reaver also commits more fully to freedom of movement, trading a certain weightiness present in Ultrakill for gleefully unrestricted vertical traversal.

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reaver gameplay showing player flying over map with smg recoil

(Image credit: Marat Nugmanov, Amir Mustafin, Dmitry Kardashevsky)
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player view of massive skull floating over gameplay arena

(Image credit: Marat Nugmanov, Amir Mustafin, Dmitry Kardashevsky)
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player view of infinitely high tower floating in void

(Image credit: Marat Nugmanov, Amir Mustafin, Dmitry Kardashevsky)
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player looking toward ramp and flames ingame

(Image credit: Marat Nugmanov, Amir Mustafin, Dmitry Kardashevsky)
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view of a cavernous room in Reaver

(Image credit: Marat Nugmanov, Amir Mustafin, Dmitry Kardashevsky)

Fellow retro-revival shooter Turbo Overkill made a splash recently with its lightning-fast chainsaw slide, but Reaver focuses its traversal in the opposite direction: its double jump and dash abilities are joined by a ground pound super jump and a wall hop that can be chained into itself infinitely. With additional movement options like a suspiciously Doom Eternal-like shotgun-mounted grappling hook and recoil-based propulsion on the dual SMGs, Reaver ends up being a game best enjoyed flying around the rafters of its cavernous levels.

Those guns really bring the gameplay experience home. The arsenal is undergirded by an organic and easy-to-grasp rock-paper-scissors balancing, with the Deagle-esque magnum being the perfect answer to slow-moving snipers, while the SMGs and shotgun help thin herds of swarming melee enemies and get DPS in against bosses. All the guns have infinite ammo, but Reaver's Quake-style rocket launcher is balanced by having a slow recharge between volleys of four heavy burst damage missiles. This tool-assisted speedrun by wao_destroyer on YouTube offers a great presentation of the theoretical skill ceiling these guns and movement options offer.

A free demo with four full levels and a horde mode is available now on Steam, while Reaver's development progress can be followed from its creators' Twitter and YouTube.