WASTED on PC
Every so often, we come across a game that blends genres in a way that, while unexpected, seems to just work. WASTED, a first-person roguelike that has echoes of the Fallout and Borderlands series, certainly fills this role. Playing out as a twisted parody of the “post-apocalyptic wasteland” genre, this bizarre and gleefully hamfisted adventure is a profoundly strange and enjoyable experience.
WASTED’s basic premise is simple. During the height of the Cold War, the United States launched a nuclear attack on Russia, sparking a worldwide conflict that left most of the planet a desolate waste. Giant underground bunkers, now called “coolers”, had been constructed to preserve humanity’s best. Unfortunately, they failed completely due to budget restrictions. Now, many years after this cataclysm, it is the toughest, the dumbest, and the most unlikely who are the only survivors.
In addition to failing their primary purpose, the coolers of WASTED’s world have created another unintended byproduct. Potent alcoholic beverages, set aglow by the seeping radiation, have turned into the waste’s most desired substance: booze. This green liquid is sought after not only for its intoxicating bite, but because it induces unpredictable yet powerful mutations that the citizens recognize as the necessary step to surviving and thriving in the new world.
Gameplay in WASTED takes the form of a first-person shooter, complete with most elements players have come to expect. Ammo can be scarce, scavenging for food and equipment is tough, and there aren’t many people left in the wastes who want anything more than to kill you and collect whatever meager supplies you’ve got. The player’s home base is their only safe haven, and any journey outside its walls is a dangerous proposition.
That’s not to say WASTED doesn’t offer some less-lethal NPCs. The Road Couriers, based out of the relatively-civil Suckramento, can transport items for the player from drop-boxes all over the wastes. A certain of these even allows players to participate in daily runs to try and gather some loot at little to no personal risk, along with an online leaderboard to showcase just how good your skills stack up against the unwashed, unintelligible masses. While vising, you can also do some shopping at the Suckramento Maul.
The core of WASTED’s gameplay is the cooler explorations. These randomly-generated dungeons are where players will spend the bulk of their adventure, searching for the next great loot or the best bottles of booze. Each cooler ends with a bottle-stacked room just before the exit, giving players the chance to either grab the green stuff and wake up at home with a new mutation-heavy hangover, or press on to complete the quest in a more traditional fashion.
Death is no stranger in the world of WASTED, either. While any given protagonist is pretty hearty, players are pretty likely to meet an untimely demise at least a few times in their journeys. Not to worry, though; with each fallen freak, a new randomly-generated hero steps up, moving into the now-abandoned homestead left behind by the last. It’s a curious system that puts a lot of importance on keeping the place well-stocked for the next runner up.
All in all, WASTED is a very strange and very fun experience. Its irreverent tone, action-first play style, and 1980s-infused over-the-top themes, there’s a ton to love. Interested parties can pick the game up over on its Steam page for a reasonable $12.99, or $9.87 on sale now through June 14th. Suffice it to say, if you’re a fan of the Fallout and Borderlands series, it’s worth a look even if it may lack the polish of these bigger-name titles.
Score: 4/5 – Great