Project Downfall is a Promising Neon Shooter, But it Needs Work

Project Downfall takes Hotline Miami‘s art style, turns it up to 11, and makes it first person.

It took a few minutes for me to adjust to Project Downfall‘s style. With a giant head bob, unmistakable 80s-inspired visuals, and copious neon, the first few minutes felt like my eyes were bleeding. To say this title from MGP Studios and Solid9 Studio is stylised would be quite the understatement.

Project Downfall is a gory first person shooter with bullet time mechanics. The title came to Steam in early access on 15th March, had its second early access update a couple of weeks ago, and has a third one expected to drop next week. As a concept, it’s promising. But Project Downfall has a long way to go before its as sharp as it needs to be.

During the day you’re a normal citizen, but at night you become a self-proclaimed dealer of justice. It’s here you’ll be shooting, kicking, and stabbing lots of criminals and thugs while popping drugs to enter bullet time. Project Downfall‘s core gameplay loop consists of playing through the same levels levels again and again to get that perfect time without being hit, and clearing rooms as efficiently as possible.

The main issue with Project Downfall currently is that its gameplay needs some work. For a title reliant on replayability, it needs to be more consistent and pixel perfect in its actions. That’s why Hotline Miami works so well; its controls are so tight and responsive, making its gameplay easy to consistently jump back into. More levels will be added to Project Downfall across its early access life, but I hope along the way the gameplay is consistently tweaked, too.

Back to that unmistakable style. If you’re a fan of the 80s neon look, then Project Downfall has it in droves. But those visuals can get in the way; it’s sometimes hard to tell when you’ve hit an enemy when lashings of light obscure your view, and often shots don’t seem to connect with your enemies at all (even though a long distance shotgun fire from an enemy seems to be an instant death for you). Project Downfall wants you to run and gun, using cover and expertly timed shots, but in the game’s current state it’s easier to stay at a distance and shoot from range so you have more time to react when shots do miss for no discernible reason.

It’s always hit and miss for various reasons when it comes to early access games. Some show promise, but are left behind given a lack of players. Others grow a player base but suffer from a lack of updates and communication from the developer. With Project Downfall, the updates so far show that plenty of work is being done by the team, so we can hope that as v1.0 draws closer, this neon shooter is as fun to play as it intends to be.