Sgathaich: Warhammer 40000 Shootas, Blood & Teef

I do have an issue for many games based on the Warhammer licenses, namely it’s that I’m not fond of ones that are just the physical game but digitally. I’m not saying they are bad just I prefer seeing in a digital medium a way to bring to life the setting more than something I can do with just playing the table top games. That said this is not one of those, and it’s not from the perspective of the Imperium. So, let’s look at a game that the moment it was announced I went “oh this looks fun” followed by a big grin.

First thing to say is this is a side scrolling shooter with a somewhat cartoonish art style set in the Warhammer 40000 setting. But rather than playing as a member of the Imperium of Man, such as a Space Marine or Imperial Guard/Adeptus Militarum (aka the humans). Instead the player character and lead is an Ork so the story is played and told from the Ork perspective, which instantly allows for the game to be very funny. Over the top violent as you’re gunning down wave after wave of hummies yes… but done with that Orkish humour that makes it all entertaining, heck the plot is set off as your boss nicks your hair squig just because he felt it looked better on him, and it’s up to you to gun your way through battlements then break into a hive city just to find a ship so you can get back your squig.

At the start of the game you make a selection of the kind of Ork you’re playing. Flash Gitz, Storm Boy, Weird Boy or Beast Snagga. These choices don’t change your major gameplay but do tweek certain abilities (well maybe Weird Doy does, not played that one yet). For example while there is a dash button with Storm Boyz that leaves a flame trail that can harm enemies and set them on fire.

The game has you move through the levels. One control stick is used for movement the other is for aiming. As you can work out from that, the game is very fast paced and LOTS AND LOTS OF DAKKA! while you have unlimited ammo you do have to reload. You are armed with multiple guns of different types and the ability to buy different ones for those different types. Originally you start out with just a pistol style weapon and a standard machine gun but as you go on you get a shotgun a missile launcher and a flame thrower. Once you get access to a Big Mech’s shop (a type of Ork I’m sad we didn’t get to play) you can get different versions of these weapons, for example, instead of a flame thrower, you can get a buzzsaw or a laser. you can also give yourself customizable appearance in the form of different hats you can ether buy or unlock through playing the game.

One of the best elements comes from its sense of humour. Orks have always been the mad ladz of the grimdark setting. While a threat and not something you want to face if you lived there, they have this jovial fun to them which makes their outlook on the universe so much more interesting to see. While a human sees a giant daemon looming overhead as a sign of the apocalypse and probably going mad, an Ork will get excited for a big fight possibly enter the battle on an exploding bike and smacking the demons teeth out while strapped to a rocket on his back. This comes through wonderfully in the cutscenes. A prime example is when you get to the ones facing a gene stealer cult, in what should be a chilling scene our lead plays it all for fun.

It’s not without its faults however. I can’t really fault it for being short, it’s a side scrolling shooter, they usually are, you can play it again with a different class or difficulty after all. My main annoyance was switching between guns and the occasional moment I got buttons mixed up, namely dashing and jumping. Since it’s fast and hectic getting these buttons or gun switching in order can get on your nerves. Also while there is  a multiplayer mode I have been unable to get a multiplayer game going so I can’t judge that.

I’m always a fan of bits of the Warhammer lore that focus on non-Imperial perspectives. The Orks are always a fun race to see things from their perspective. Being so fun and mad in such a dark setting allows them to in fact see the absurdity of elements of it in a very enjoyable way. But also getting to fight some absolutely massive things and even Space Marines is great fun. So yeah I recommend this one. Ah what the hell… WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGG!

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