Cultic review

2023-01-30 by Callum Andrews

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms


  • Developer
    Jasozz Games

  • Publisher
    3D Realms

Sure looks familiar

If you've been following this site or have been following indie games for the past 2-5 years, you would have noticed that during this time there have come out quite a few fps shooters during these past few years. Saying even quite a few might feel underwhelming but that's how it's been. Considering the high quality of these games one would be hard-pressed into wanting this to change. This is also the case with Cultic, with high production values, excellent gameplay, and interesting looking visual art style it continues the trend of great boomer shooters that have come out these past few years.

Like the games that came before it, Cultic also takes quite a lot of inspiration from the shooters that came out back in the 90s. There is one game in particular that Cultic emulates more than any other and that is the cult classic Blood by Monolith Productions. Anyone who has played Blood before and plays this one will immediately see the resemblances. From the enemy design to the oppressive setting, this game reminded me so much about Blood while playing it, that I could have sworn on occasion that I was just playing a moded version with new maps. But just like other boomer shooters that have come in recent times Cultic too brings its own set of improvements and tweaks to the shooter formula.

Taking it back to the old school

The game starts off with the player character waking up from the dead (but most probably from being unconscious) and setting out into the woods looking for revenge on the ones that put him in the state that we as players find him in. I'm guessing that our player character is looking for revenge because the exposition in this game is not clear-cut as one might like. You are presented with an intro sequence that shows missing people cases, a person handing in their badge and gun and then someone pulling over outside a house while someone wielding an axe comes out behind them. These are just single intro scenes pieced together to let you as the player try to figure out what might be going on. Throughout the game, you will find various notes telling of different events and occurrences that will somewhat help you piece it all together. It's not the most straightforward presentation but it serves its purpose.

Being an old-school FPS, Cultic finds itself in an oversaturated market in terms of the availability of these types of games. So to turn people's heads for attention these types of FPSes need to stand out in one way or another and Cultic surely does so by at least its visual presentation. With just the right amount of pixelation and the clever play of the colors, brown, black, and grey Cultic visual style is surely something that you won't experience every day. I can understand if this art style might not be for everyone and does take some getting used to. However here it feels just about right, it gives the game quite a distinct feel and personality that will surely have you thinking about it.

Visual presentation is nothing if you don't have the gameplay to back it up and when it comes to FPSes you usually know what to expect, for the most part at least. While many FPSes nowadays can fall into the trap of being simple corridor shooters or just playing on the same type of note for the entirety of the game, Cultic manages to avoid these pitfalls. It doesn't force you into any kind of sneak missions just to mix things up, but every switch-up that the game makes feels seamless and natural. This could be attributed to some clever level design which also feels seamless in the sense that none of the places you find yourself in seem out of order. For instance, you might find yourself making your way through some tight corridors in either an abandoned mine or crypt where close-range combat and clever use of cover is the name of the game for the moment. While in the next you're crouching in some bushes and trying to snipe some cleverly placed enemies that are trying to snipe you back. Some levels are open-ended letting you approach the various obstacles in any way you like while others are more of a linear affair. It is in these kinds of instances that the game switches things up and never gets to the point of being boring.

Guns? No, I prefer the hatchet

Like I said in my Project Warlock 2 preview one staple I consider that a great FPS needs to have is when it makes you feel the need to switch around with your guns in order to progress and that is surely the case here. Almost all of the guns that the game offers are viable and great to shoot with one or two maybe being a bit unnecessary. The Sten-machinegun felt a bit redundant especially when you can upgrade your hand-gun into being fully automatic instead of it just being a single-shot weapon. You aren't just able to upgrade your handgun but all the weapons you come across. Upgrading your weapons will make you able to shoot longer, and make the shots more powerful among other things. Another thing I mentioned in that preview is that I wasn't a particular fan of melee weapons in FPS games which are a far too frequent occurrence. Here however I might just have to bite my tongue because boy was the hatchet fun to use. Not only can it serve as a long-distance weapon since you are able to throw it but slamming it in cultists' faces when hiding behind a corner sure gave some kind of sick satisfaction. Nonetheless, apart from your standard FPS arsenal, some standouts to be had here are the flamethrower, the dynamite, and the FG-42. The flamethrower because it's probably the most powerful weapon and makes short work of almost any type of enemy. The dynamite because there are four different use variations to it and the FG-42 because it's just such a cool weapon and the only other time I've seen it in a game was in Return to Castle Wolfenstein (which is also a great game).

Sadly one area where I feel the game misses the mark is on the bosses and mini-bosses. Especially the mini-bosses are way too overutilized and included if not in almost every level. This adds a sense of cheapness in terms of difficulty but also diminishes the impact of each encounter. The two main bosses are also nothing to brag about and do only present a challenge because there is a constant stream of additional enemies that keep you occupied from dealing with them. The main bosses themselves are just immobile and shoot from the same spot until being destroyed. All-in-all this is a great entry that deserves to be played by fans and non-fans non-fans of this genre and for me is in the top three list of the recent boomer shooter games to come out.


Another great entry in the current sea of boomer shooters. Cultics visual art style, solid shooting and level design will make you remember it long after your experience with it is over.