Nuclear Throne is an “action roguelike-like”: a top-down shooter with permadeath, set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and starring a cast of mutants who need to hoover up radiation to gain in power. It’s fast, frantic, and made by Vlambeer, the two-man indie development studio behind similarly compulsive shooters Super Crate Box and LUFTRAUSER.
Nuclear Throne (formerly Wasteland Kings) is currently available in Steam Early Access, and like those other games, it already feels great. “Feel” is a poisonous word in games criticism though, and I was unsatisfied with the normal language used to describe games like this: “meaty”, “weighty” and “crunchy” only gets us so far.
I wrote to Vlambeer game designer Jan Willem Nijman about how you make pixels bullets feel powerful, and about finding a better language to talk about videogames. He was gracious enough to do the hard work of explaining why Nuclear Throne feels great for me. (more…)