Turbo Overkill artwork with the red logo

True to its name, Turbo Overkill is a celebration of over-the-top action, completely unphased by such silly little things like common sense or the laws of physics. Your guns can rip and tear enemies into thousands of tiny pieces, you can barrel through the levels at such insane speeds you might have trouble even seeing what you're trying to hit, and the fact that you can replace all four of your limbs with chainsaws isn't even the best bit!

So if you're curious just how ridiculous Turbo Overkill gets, as well as how the fully completed Version 1.0 looks like compared to the Early Access builds, allow me to share my thoughts after gunning down a couple of gods over the past week.

Gotta go fast

Considering that Turbo Overkill's arsenal contains things like an orbital cannon or a gigantic chaingun that doubles as a flamethrower, it might come as quite a surprise to hear that it's actually the movement that I enjoyed the most. The gunplay is great, don't get me wrong, but nothing can compare with the ability to fly across the map at such a ridiculous speed that you end up discovering all of the areas where the developers forgot to seal off the levels!

To the team's credit they've done a great job of patching up some of the holes I found throughout Early Access, but there's only so much that can be done when the player is capable of combining rocket jumping with wall bouncing, air jumping and multiple fast-charging dashes to build up insane speeds and cover equally insane distances. Don't take any of this as a complaint, however, as I'll happily trade the occasional trip into the void for the ability to feel like a straight up superhero!

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the chaingun that doubles as a flamethrower

Weapons don't get much more awesome than this!

Upgrades and customization

The best part is that the movement mechanics, and pretty much everything else, are highly customizable thanks to the Augment system. You can mess around with the number of jumps you can do, tweak your overall speed and acceleration, or just ponder whether you want extra dashes or more damage while charging at enemies with your chainsaw legs. If your spirit animal is a turtle, you can also ditch all of the speed related Augments and instead focus on making yourself as durable and deadly as possible.

Some of these upgrades can be acquired by purchasing them with coins that drop from enemies, while others you'll need to collect by hunting down secrets within the levels themselves. Don't worry, however, as the treasure hunting is mostly optional since all of the gameplay-altering upgrades are thankfully well signposted and can be secured after a tiny bit of snooping around.

The only issue I have with the Augment system is that some of the most fun upgrades are exclusively available during the later half of the game. For example, there's an upgrade that gives your weapons a massive power boost for the first few shots after you swap to them, thus encouraging you to constantly switch between your weapons and get creative with your strategies. Once I got this Augment my enjoyment of Turbo Overkill's combat rose significantly as experimenting with different weapons also led me to realize that all of them play an important role and that all of them are immensely powerful in the right situation - even the basic pistol!

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the ridiculously powerful starter pistol

Even a single shot from the pistol can result in a shower of giblets

Weapons and gunplay

Not only does the pistol have a lock-on function that lets you clear out sharpshooters from a distance, but it also has a special firing mode that activates when you land many consecutive shots. Once the pistol is fully charged it transforms into a ridiculously overpowered hand cannon that can one-shot just about every enemy, though this power does come with a catch! If you ever miss, even a single shot, your charge will be reset and you'll need to go through the whole process all over again. It's fun, it's tense and it rewards skillful play, which for a weapon that would usually be a throwaway in these types of games really is quite impressive.

Similarly, the automatic shotgun can also be used to electrocute enemies and make them take more damage, the dual machine guns can be 'transformed' into a precision rifle, while the double barreled shotgun comes with a handy grenade launcher mode. So even though I would've liked to see some more outlandish weapons rather than the usual boomer shooter fare, the way the arsenal has been incorporated and balanced feels great. The only weapon I ended up ignoring was the sniper rifle, and that's mostly because the idea of standing still and being precise doesn't exactly gel well with my whole 'gotta go fast' playstyle.

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the shotgun in action

The weapons also leave quite the impact on your enemies!

Unfortunately, while many things have been improved since the start of Early Access, the sound design for a couple of the weapons has not. As such, you have this bizarre situation where 'boring' guns like the SMGs sound spectacularly powerful while high-powered weapons like the rocket launcher have such a pathetic firing sound that you can't even hear them in the middle of combat.

I honestly have no idea how this could've happened because Turbo Overkill's sound design is otherwise great. The chainsaw slide in particular is so incredibly gory and satisfying to use that it borders on disturbing.

Not only does it looks visually visceral, but the sound of the chainsaw tearing through enemies combined with the sound of you sliding through a wet meaty soup really sells how brutal the attack truly is. The rocket launcher's impacts are similarly powerful as smaller enemies get torn into shreds, while the bigger ones get progressively bloodier and damaged until they too decide it's time to separate into a million pieces, so to have it feel so meek really is quite sad.

Presentation and level design

On the positive side, the soundtrack is anything but weak. I know basically nothing about music theory so trying to describe all of this is more or less impossible, but the important thing to note is that it does a good job of providing a blood-pumping backdrop to your rampage while simultaneously building up the whole 'Cyberpunk dystopia' atmosphere. It's good stuff!

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the satisfying chainsaw attack

Chainsaw + face is always a fun combo 

The levels also look good despite the intentionally grainy art style. While I'm personally not the biggest fan of the somewhat muddy look, I can definitely appreciate the effort that went into Turbo Overkill's presentation. There's a lot of details scattered throughout the world and while a lot of the areas are fairly standard Cyberpunk locations, there's enough standouts to keep things interesting, especially towards the end.

When it comes to the level design, it's mostly a series of interconnected arenas and set pieces, with the occasional secret sprinkled throughout to keep you on your toes. It's not so complex that you'll get lost, and also not so simple that it feels like you're just being strung along from one encounter to another. Turbo Overkill strikes a pretty good balance here, though things do get a bit repetitive throughout chapter 2 as you're mostly going through similarly grungy environments fighting similar arrangements of monsters.

As is often the case with Early Access games, you can basically watch the level designers get better and better with each mission, culminating with some absolutely bonkers maps in chapter 3! Not only do they throw more enemies at you than ever before, but those enemies are also placed in trickier positions and require you to use every tool at your disposal in order to deal with them. Combine this with much more exiting set pieces that will even see you grappling your way through space, and you've got yourself a finale that's well worth pushing through some of the duller missions for!

Turbo Overkill flying around in space during a battle screenshot

It's not every day that you get to grapple around in space during a giant battle!

Playtime and performance

In total Turbo Overkill took me around fifteen hours to complete, with each mission usually taking between 30 to 40 minutes to properly explore. Aside from a couple of the aforementioned chapter 2 maps, the missions also didn't feel like they were just going through the motions. There was always something new to unlock, a new gameplay idea to explore, or just new types of enemies to fight against. 

I especially have to commend the enemy variety as Turbo Overkill kept introducing new ones almost all the way until the very end. Some were highly durable mutants that tried to clobber me in melee, some were swarmers that used their numbers to compensate for their lack of durability, and some were simply annoying little douchebags that liked to stand on high grounds and rain plasma onto me. While some of these are obviously trickier than others, I didn't find any to be actually annoying to fight. On the contrary, I really came to appreciate the different types of enemies towards the end as they made the whole weapon-swapping build feel all the more satisfying.

Besides the campaign and its various difficulty settings, there's also an endless mode and even a level editor to mess around with! So if you find yourself particularly enthralled with Turbo Overkill's gameplay, you can very easily find excuses to keep gunning down mutants for a very long time to come.

As for the performance and stability, I'm happy to say that I've had basically no problems with Turbo Overkill. No FPS drops, no crashes, no game-breaking glitches or anything similar.

That isn't to say there aren't any bugs, however, as I've frequently found myself dashing underneath stairs or objects and getting stuck there for a solid ten seconds while the game desperately tried to jiggle me out. It's not the most devastating of problems, but it's still annoying to be occasionally forced to restart from a checkpoint because my character would decide to whip out his contortionist routine in the middle of a firefight.

Turbo Overkill screenshot of some of the lategame enemies

Closing thoughts

With fast-paced movement mechanics, highly satisfying gunplay and a great degree of customization, Turbo Overkill is a ton of fun and an excellent example of what the whole boomer shooter genre is all about. It has a couple of issues like the middle levels dragging on for too long and some of the weapons sounding too weak, but all of that is fairly easy to overlook when the actual moment-to-moment gameplay is this satisfying!

So if you're a fan of going fast and shooting even faster, I think I can heartily recommend Turbo Overkill. Doubly so if you get it during the launch-week sale as the current ~14€ price tag is quite the bargain for the amount and quality of content on offer.

[Note]: I've also taken the opportunity to create a brief beginner's guide covering some of the most important concepts and tricks to help you get started. So if you'd like your first run through Turbo Overkill to be a nice and smooth one, I'd welcome you to give it a look.