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 have a chainsaw leg isn't even the best bit!

So if you're curious just how ridiculous Turbo Overkill can get, as well as what's the state of its Early Access version, allow me to share my thoughts after spending quite a few hours diligently repainting its Cyberpunk levels.

Video version of this review (~10 minutes)

Gotta go fast

Considering that Turbo Overkill's arsenal contains things like the gigantic chaingun that doubles as a flamethrower, it might come as quite a surprise to hear that it's actually the movement that made me so enamored with it. 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 level!

Once you get all of the relevant upgrades you'll not only be able to run faster than a horse, but also dash multiple times in any direction, propel yourself forward thanks to your chainsaw leg, and even do a bunch of jumps while in mid-air thanks to wall-bouncing! Combine that with wall-running spots and boost pads found throughout the world, and you'll be able to move so rapidly the poor enemies just won't know what to do with you.

The only issue I had with the movement mechanics was the slippery acceleration that made every surface feel like it was made of buttered ice. However, in a refreshing little twist, that turned out to be an upgrade I could turn on and off! So depending on if I was platforming across skyscrapers or dueling hordes of enemies in close quarters where stopping for even a second means certain death, I could just switch to the appropriate mode and thus end up with the best of both worlds.

I just wish the upgrade came earlier in the campaign and at a cheaper price tag. After all, I appreciate there being an option to tailor the movement mechanics to your preference, but I'd rather not have to choose between that and a grenade launcher!

Turbo Overkill screenshot of easily jumpable yet giant gaps

Even giant gaps are nothing but a mild inconvenience

Upgrades and secrets

Speaking of upgrades, some of them you need to purchase with coins that drop from enemies, and others you need to collect by hunting down secrets within the levels themselves. While there are the usual assortment of absurdly hidden secrets to uncover, pretty much all of the gameplay-altering upgrades are signposted and can be secured after a tiny bit of snooping around.

Aside from a couple of really impactful ones that change up how your abilities work, most of the upgrades are also fairly minor and completely interchangeable. As such, the whole system is currently a bit underwhelming as each category only offers a couple of meaningful choices. That said, many of the slots are still locked as this is only the first act, so I'm fully expecting the upgrade system to get a lot more interesting as Turbo Overkill gets closer to launch.

What I'm very happy with, however, is that none of the collectibles or secrets are pointless padding. They'll either give you powerful weapons and pick-ups, or if you collect a set of special cassettes or tech-chips, access to bonus content! This includes things like modifiers to make your subsequent run through a level more interesting, as well as a horde mode to really test your skills. While the full list of unlockables is still shrouded in mystery so I don't know how exciting all of them will be, I'm definitely in favor of the idea since it encourages exploration without being too heavy-handed about it.

In other words all of this stuff is entirely optional, so if you don't like hunting for secrets and trying death-defying jumps in the vain hope they might lead to a bunch of goodies, free free to simply focus on slicing through hordes of enemies and getting the occasional upgrade as you run across it. You really won't miss out on much for your first playthrough.

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the fancy chest key

Keys are generally easy to find, so just snoop around a bit

Gunplay and weapon feedback

On the topic of slicing, I believe it's finally time we get into the meat of things - the combat. Like I mentioned earlier you do indeed have a leg that doubles as a chainsaw, and yes, it's just as awesome as it sounds! Using it launches you into a slide, and the faster you move the more damage you'll do and the further you'll be able to carve through hordes. So if you've picked up some solid speed and have a bunch of baddies positioned directly in front, you can magically transform all of them into pools of blood and glorious pixelated giblets! It's delightful!

The actual weapons are a pretty good time as well, because despite this only being the Early Access version, Turbo Overkill has a rather large assortment of high-powered toys. Best of all, besides the primary fire on the beginner pistol, every single weapon and alternate firing mode is useful in the right situation.

The automatic shotgun can also be used to electrocute enemies and make them take more damage, the dual machine guns can be combined to create a precision rifle, while even the basic pistol can be used to lock-on to enemy heads and take out a swarm of distant weaklings without stopping for even a second. 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.

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the flamethrower in use

Get the flamethrower as soon as you can - it's good fun!

Another thing that feels great, and this probably reflects badly upon my psyche, is the way the enemies fall apart and explode as you unload obscene levels of firepower into them. Smaller enemies get torn into shreds when hit by a shotgun, while bigger ones get progressively bloodier until they too decide it's time to separate into a million pieces. The chainsaw slide is probably the most satisfying one out of the bunch here as 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 brutally powerful the attack is.

Unfortunately, the sound design for a couple of the weapons still needs a fair bit of work. Some like the chaingun sound punchy and make you feel like you're really unleashing your entire paycheck in bullets upon some hapless foe, while both of the shotguns just kind of go 'bang'. The impact they have on the enemies is great, but the shotguns just don't have that bassy quality to truly make them feel like they're capable of tearing a hole straight through someone's face.

Turbo Overkill screenshot of a shotgun blast

The effects are great, so I can only hope the sound will eventually match them

Presentation and soundtrack

The levels also look good despite the intentionally dated art style. While I'm personally not the biggest fan of the somewhat muddy look, even though I grew up alongside the FPS classics of old, I can at least appreciate the effort that went into Turbo Overkill's appereance. There's a lot of details scattered throughout the world, and while the textures may be grimy, the dreary and neon-lit Cyberpunk aesthetic shines all the way through.

As for 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 it's also not so simple that it feels like you're just being strung from along from one encounter to another. Turbo Overkill strikes a pretty good balance, and outside of some intended paths being a bit too obtuse, it does a great job of keeping the pace up and letting you make the best use out of the magnificent movement mechanics.

The soundtrack also does a lot of the heavy lifting here since it both provides a blood-pumping backdrop to your senseless slaughter, and simultaneously helps build the whole Cyberpunk atmosphere. I know absolutely nothing about music theory so describing all of this is basically impossible, but let's just say that most of the soundtrack kicks ass and leave it at that.

Turbo Overkill screenshot of the Cyberpunk visuals

While not my style, a lot of effort was definitely put into the visuals

Content and polish

Since this is Turbo Overkill's Early Access launch, the final thing worth talking about is the amount and quality of content on offer. Well, without wasting too much time, I'm happy to say that Turbo Overkill is pretty solid on both fronts.

The first chapter took me some 5 hours to complete, and if you're willing to hunt for secrets and engage with many of the bonus levels and difficulty modifiers, you can stretch that playtime for quite a few more. So for the very first Early Access version, I'd say this is a very respectable amount of stuff to mess around with.

Similarly, if someone had told me this was actually a demo for the full version of Turbo Overkill, I would've believed them on the spot because it's a very polished shooter. Besides breaking free from the confines of the map a couple of times because I was searching for secrets a bit too diligently, I've ran across only one bug in my entire playthrough - a door wouldn't open so I had to reload a checkpoint.

So if this is the sort of polish Turbo Overkill has prepared for its beta version, I can't wait to see what it'll look like once we're closer to its full release!

Turbo Overkill screenshot of a bunch of baddies

Closing Thoughts

With fast-paced movement mechanics and some highly satisfying gunplay, Turbo Overkill is an excellent example of what the whole 'boomer shooter' genre is all about. Despite some of its minor issues, it's also a game I already want to play more of, which for an Early Access shooter really does say a lot!

So whether you're planning to dive in yourself or just wait and see what happens, I'd definitely recommend keeping an eye on Turbo Overkill moving forward. It really does have a lot of potential!

[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.