[Review] BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre – Nintendo Switch

Written by Richard Strachan
  • Developer: Big Way Games
  • Publisher: Big Way Games
  • Release date: 10/10/2019
  • Price: £26.99 / $29.99
  • Review code provided by Big Way Games

Intro

A Big Drunk Satanic Massacre. Sounds like a lot of fun eh (don’t judge)! When I first saw the name it immediately drew my attention. This isn’t the kind of thing we are used to seeing on a Nintendo console! Once I got past the initial surprise of the name, I noticed the logo for the game with the DOOM like font and a reversal of the iconic image of the Marine surrounded by a braying horde of demons. Big Drunk Satanic Massacre (BDSM) flips this on its head, with a horned demon surrounded on all sides by the familiar green Marines. The opportunity to play a reimagining of the classic shooter seemed too good to miss. Unfortunately BDSM turned out to be a slap on the backside rather than a world of pleasure!

Pain For Pleasure

Let’s take it back a step. BDSM sounds like it has all the elements to be a load of daft fun. You play as Lou, the Devil’s son, who is an alcoholic Demon with a penchant for debauchery. Hell has been invaded by Humans who plan on harvesting the Demons for use as meat in the fast food industry. Lou sets out to save Hell in a Big Drunk Satanic Massacre. The premise sounds ridiculous until you remember the US Space Force exists!

BDSM plays like any other twin-stick shooter, with access to a selection of guns including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers and more. Killing enemies builds a rage meter which allows you to unleash a huge laser which kills most enemies instantly. You also have access to a dodge which allows for a few frames of invulnerability and can help you escape danger.

Lou’s rampage takes him through a series of four levels, starting with the Big Wac restaurant and factory, before moving on to a series of increasingly bizarre locations. Each level has a boss to battle, but I found these unremarkable. I actually managed to beat the first one before I realised it was even a boss fight. It wasn’t until I noticed the loading screen said “Chapter 2” that I realised I had just beaten a boss!

Big Disappointing Shooty Mess

The minute to minute gameplay is really lacking. Enemies are bullet sponges and even smaller ones can take 3 or 4 point blank shotgun blasts to kill. When you are fighting a huge wave of enemies the gameplay can descend into you running backwards kiting a big group as you pump round after round into them, with very little feedback. When I think of the best twin stick shooters (Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 in my opinion), the gameplay loop centres around quick kills against a huge horde. BDSM gets this element completely wrong and it suffers badly for it. The battles are slow and lack any excitement. Some light RPG mechanics allow you to unlock perks and upgrade different skills between battles, but these lack any real bite.

The gameplay is really hamstrung by a frame rate that chugs along and graphics which leave a lot to be desired (the trailer above definitely doesn’t sample the Switch version). The performance in the game is poor and it serves to make things even more difficult when you are running around at pace trying to take out a horde of fast moving enemies. Graphically the game looks like a really ugly version of Diablo 3, with enemies which are nondescript and difficult to differentiate. The low level of detail makes it difficult to identify the different types and adapt your approach accordingly. Likewise the audio in the game is badly mixed, with the sound effects and metal soundtrack often overriding one or the other and making it difficult to hear what is going on.

Video(game) Nasty

The overall presentation is clearly intended as a tongue in cheek, crude joke. This kind of thing can work well when done right, as shown by something like GTA, but Big Way Games seem to have missed the fact that the GTA games are presented as a satire. The references to sex and alcohol in BDSM have the subtlety of a 14 year old who has just found a dirty magazine down the local building site.

Lou is presented as an alcoholic, with “Milk” (green booze) bottles found around the levels and acting as health refills. The loading screen shows Lou with a nymph, on her knees in front of him, whilst the end of each level presents a mini game where you perform rhythmic button presses to act out a sex scene with each newly rescued nymph. These elements add nothing to the game and really just come across as cheap and embarrassing rather than adding any titillation or shock value. I may come across as a prude, but the game ends up coming across like an episode of South Park with the funny bits cut out.

Final Thoughts

BDSM initially seemed like it could be a lot of fun and a bit of a guilty pleasure. Instead, I was quickly met by disappointment, as the clunky gameplay, scrappy audio and messy graphics reared their head. The game isn’t cheap, and I wouldn’t recommend it regardless of the price, but Big Way have priced BDSM way above what it should have. Maybe it’s just like the real thing, you come out of the experience having found it painful, disappointing and overpriced (or so I’ve heard!).

Pros

  • The name gave me a laugh

Cons

  • Gunplay is boring and lacks feedback
  • Frame rate chugs along
  • Graphics are muddy and lack detail
  • Attempts at humour miss the mark

Verdict

BDSM is a big disappointment. The moment to moment gameplay is disappointing, the graphics and performance are poor and the attempts at humour fall flat. The DOOM-esque branding draws you in before you realise BDSM has very little in common.

1/5

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