Serious Sam's Bogus Detour Review

The Serious Sam series has never been particularly complicated. It’s a first person shooter, you play as Sam “Serious” Stone, you’re thrown into levels with a huge arsenal of weapons, and you take on numerous forces sent by the extraterrestrial Mental. Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour by Crackshell doesn’t deviate from this idea. But this time around, it takes form as a top-down twin stick shooter, which manages to be a breath of fresh air, but not without a couple of problems.

If you’ve played any Serious Sam game, you already know exactly what to expect. Prepare to collect numerous weapons and take on massive amounts of enemies, including but not limited to soldiers, biomechs, headless kamikaze warriors, werebulls, and skeletons. Between all the combat, you can explore and discover secret areas. Once in a while, you’ll need to solve a simple puzzle or two. There are health and armor pickups, and there are also a number of powerups you can receive that will temporarily give you an edge in combat.

Due to the new camera perspective, you can no longer jump. But you do have a dodge roll, which allows you to not only easily evade attacks, but it also helps in moving around much faster. It’s accompanied by a stamina meter that recharges when the dodge roll isn’t being used, so it can’t be abused. It’s a simple mechanic, but it adds an impressive layer of depth to the combat, as you can reload while dodging and form strategies around it.

While things are simple to pick up, this is by no means an easy game. On the higher difficulties, you can expect to be slaughtered if you’re not careful. While the difficulty is mostly welcomed, the later levels can get a bit too chaotic for their own good. The final boss in particular is downright awful, requiring you to multitask far too often, making for a frustrating experience, rather than a fun one.

To make things a little easier, however, there is an upgrade system that allows you to put points into different skills, improving Sam’s weapons, combat ability, and survivability. To gain points, you have to fight enemies and find secret stars lying around the levels. Stars will give you one point at a time, while fighting enemies and filling up your XP bar will give you five points at a time. You can also find sunglasses lying around in secret areas, which will grant you extra lives. All of this encourages exploration and combat, as you can benefit greatly from it in the long run.

Speaking of exploration, the levels are all gigantic. There are only eight levels, but each one can potentially take over 30 minutes to complete if you take your time to explore. While this is impressive, the top-down camera perspective begins to show its weaknesses here. Levels are, for the most part, well-designed, but there are points where everything looks very familiar. It can be fairly easy to get lost, and the lack of a minimap doesn’t do this game any favors. There are, thankfully, markers that will appear on the edges of the screen, indicating which direction you have to go to progress.

Outside of the single player campaign, there are some multiplayer modes. The campaign can be played with up to 4 players, and there are also Survival and Deathmatch modes that can be played with up to 12 players. However, there was no local multiplayer at the time of this review, and I was not able to play anything online since there were no lobbies available. There are workshop maps that can be downloaded, allowing you access to tons of fanmade content to increase replayability. I haven’t tried making any of my own maps yet, but this is still a very welcome addition, especially since the main campaign offers so few levels.

One last thing that deserves mentioning is that the game looks absolutely gorgeous. The pixel art is beautiful and detailed, and whenever you kill an enemy or blow up a bunch of barrels, the remains stay on the map, showing the chaos you left in your wake. I absolutely loved some of the aesthetics as well, especially in the final two levels.

Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour is a seriously fun game bogged down by a couple of serious problems. If you’re a big Serious Sam fan, have online friends to play with, or you’re just looking for a challenging twin stick shooter, then this game is worth its $15 price tag. Just be aware that the multiplayer is pretty much dead, some of the game design needs a bit of polish, and there’s not much content outside of workshop maps.

Hi, I'm James. I like to play video games and then scream at people's faces about them. I started getting into gaming around the PS1 and N64 days, and I've been addicted ever since.