Which each passing year, it’s harder to remember a time when Games Workshop was so averse to video game adaptations of its beloved IP. These days it seems there’s such a glut of projects – of highly variable quality – that many indie or mid-tier adaptations fly below the radar. Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef (developed and published by Rogueside) was another that arrived with minimal fanfare and it’s a mixed bag when it comes to quality. How much fun you have is going to depend on whether you have some reliable coop partners on hand.
WAAAGH! with everyone
The plot is perfect Warhammer 40,000 greenskin fare. You take control of a Nob serving under Warboss Gutrekka, who’s leading a WAAAGH against an Imperium-held Hive world, “Luteus Alpha”, in the Armageddon Sector – a familiar enough location for existing fans of the IP. The Warboss decides to claim the Nob’s hair squig during the assault and boots them out of the dropship. After crashing down on the outskirts of a massive hive city, you set out to ascend the spire and find transport back to the Warboss’ ship.
It’s a simple but smart setup that has you pushing from the scrapyards on the outskirts, through orc camps and imperial fortresses, through sewer systems and manufactoriums, to the elite residences at the top of the hive and orbiting starships. This structure also provides ample excuse to take on other Orcs, the Imperial Guard, Tyranids, and even Space Marines as you butcher your way, stage by stage, towards your former Warboss and beloved hair accessory.
Rogueside previously developed the enjoyable Guns, Gore & Cannoli games, and Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef is functionally a reskin – with similar pros and cons. It’s a retro-inspired, 2D, twin-stick, run-and-gun shooter that truly shines when played with friends. You run, jump, and dash around dense environments, dodging bullets and hazards; hoover up health squigs and teef caches; all the while dealing with foes that come at you from every angle, often bursting forth in waves from doors and hatches.
As expected in the genre, you’ll periodically face off against massive, screen-filling bosses that’ll test your ability to platform and aim simultaneously. It’s chaotic fun with friends as the difficulty scales up – though it can get difficult to track where you are on screen at times. In contrast, playing solo is a much less intense and repetitive experience that quickly loses steam.
The shooting is traditional but still enjoyable, with five weapon slots – the classic pistol, rifle, shotgun, explosive, and special spread – that you can customize further by purchasing new variants (and some cosmetic items) from the “Mek” shop with accumulated teef. There’s no ammunition limit for your firearms, so your load-out can be tailored to suit your playstyle, preferences, or enemy type. In general, you’ll typically be considering projectile type and damage vs. clip size and reload speeds.
A few examples include a devastating plasma pistol that recharges slowly; an incendiary shotgun that sends lesser mobs running ablaze but is useless on tougher foes; a bolter that removes heads with ease but has a sluggish fire rate; a guided rocket launcher that lets you fire-and-forget, albeit dealing reduced explosive damage; and a flamethrower that can clear a screen but also set you alight when it overheats. When you add in basic melee attacks, squig grenades, and a few single-use heavy weapons, there’s a ton of variety on offer that introduces a tactical element to coop play, allowing players to pick a role.
Unfortunately, Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef has issues beyond a lacklustre solo experience. Checkpoints occasionally don’t work setting you back a few minutes, sound effects sporadically disappeared for explosive weapons, coop sessions frequently disconnected, and simply finding an online game – or getting someone to join my own – was challenging (at least on Xbox hardware). My biggest gripe, however, was the twin-stick control scheme that – even with complete button remapping, several tweakable parameters, and auto-aim – never felt as precise or natural as playing with mouse-and-keyboard. Just like the Guns, Gore & Cannoli games, Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef was clearly designed for PC first.
Fifty shades of grey-brown
On the whole, Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef is an attractive game thanks to its exaggerated and stylised character models befitting the squat and chunky tabletop figurines. The lightly animated cutscenes between stages are entertaining thanks to writing and voice work that rely on oft-repeated lines from prior Warhammer 40,000 games – making for an accessible experience for casual fans. Firearms and explosions sound suitably impactful; enemies explode in showers of gore or crumple to the ground with missing limbs; while the metal soundtrack – with some distinctly Orc-ish climaxes – is perfect for chaotic gunfights and boss battles. My biggest issue, and one probably beholden to the setting, is an over-reliance on industrial and utilitarian grey-brown backdrops that blur together.
WAAAGH! with friends (or not at all)
So wrapping up, my feelings about Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef are mixed. During extremely rare coop sessions – assuming I could stay connected – it played like a chaotic, loud, violent, and entertaining throwback 2D shooter. However, the bulk of my playtime was solo, an experience lacking the intensity of coop and not helped by the fact you can only unlock the hardest difficulty after completing the campaign once. If you’ve played and enjoyed Rogueside’s prior 2D shooter and have a reliable set of coop partners, Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef probably won’t disappoint – especially given the indie pricing. If you’re planning on playing solo, maybe hold out for some balance and technical patches as it’s currently a bland experience that gives you far too much time to pick out the other flaws.
A review code for Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef was provided to gameblur by the publisher.
Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef (Xbox Series) ReviewWarhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef (Xbox Series) Review
- An amusing tale of greenskin vengeance
- Tons of guns and gore
- Chaotic fun in coop
- Stylish enemy designs
- Great soundtrack
- Playing solo is dull
- Gamepad controls feel off
- Too many grey-brown levels
- It’s easy to lose track of your orc in big battles