Big Drunk Satanic Massacre, or BDSM for short, is a twin-stick shooter game. With that sentence alone, you can probably already tell whether this is a game for you. But since I don’t think our dear review editor would be satisfied with a one-sentence review, I’ll elaborate. BDSM is indeed a twin-stick shooter, but it’s also a dungeon crawler of sorts. Players control Satan’s brother, Lou, through various stages set mostly in hell. The game has a strong focus on humor, but is it funny enough to be worthwhile?
If you want to get an idea of what the humor in BDSM is like, just think about Duke Nukem. Outside of the looks, Lou is basically Duke if he was a demon. He regains health by drinking what the game calls “milk” (but is clearly meant to be an alcoholic beverage), spends “quality time” with random women, and trades in pithy one-liners regularly. I won’t jump into the debate about whether that sort of character is appropriate in this day and age, but I will say that it does get stale after a while.
The comedy, for better or worse, also takes advantage of pop culture references. The game’s cover art parodies Doom, and that ties directly into BDSM’s backstory. That part is actually clever; the basic setup of the game’s plot is that humans (represented by Doom-esque space marines) have colonized Hell and turned it into a tourist spot. That’s entertaining, but a lot of the pop culture references just seem like they’re there to be there. For me, the humor was definitely a mixed bag, but it may be different for you.
The bigger issue for me was that the gameplay was very repetitive. I appreciate the decorative backdrops of the different levels, and the variety of guns available, but the core twin-stick shooter gameplay just gets boring quickly. I personally feel that this style of gameplay works best how it was introduced: as a type of quick arcade-style game. Without more to break up the action, and with levels that are definitely longer than they should be, it just isn’t that compelling in terms of gameplay.
Where BDSM gets some points back, though, is in its character designs. Fitting within the humorous aesthetic, the character and monster designs are very clever. It’s a shame you can’t see them better in game, given the top-down perspective, but I still hope that the artists involved go on to bigger and better things.
BDSM isn’t just another mediocre title floating around the eShop, like some of the other games I’ve reviewed. There was clearly a lot of work put into it, and it can be fun to play. If you like this style of humor, then it will keep you entertained, but even if you don’t, the gameplay works well enough. It’s just too repetitive for me to fully recommend it. Take a look at the trailers for yourself, and see if they do it for you. If so, well, Lou and I will see you in Hell.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Heaven or hell?
Gameplay - 5/10
Visuals - 7/10
Writing - 6/10
+ Inventive idea
+ Good character designs
– Repetitive gameplay