Homicidal All-Stars Preview: Kill or Be Killed

Coming later this year, Homicidal All-Stars invites you to take part in a deadly gameshow where even murder is on the cards.

The action centres around Scarlett Martillo, a bounty hunter out for revenge. Entering Homicidal All-Stars in order to settle a score with the Omega Corporation, who not only owns a majority stake in the show but is also its primary sponsor, she enlists the help of a previous champion. Though she’ll also need some additional help to survive everything that brutal show throws at her.

What makes Homicidal All-Stars truly unique is its mix of exploration and turn-based battles. During each show you’ll navigate though dangerous environments, watching out for deadly traps and the chance to get the upper hand along the way. Thing like tripwires will cut your time short in the show if you don’t spot them, and you’ll to approach their explosive devices carefully and disarm them before progressing. Other hazards, like blade and flame traps, require you to time your movement. Thankfully you can run, which helps a lot.

Not every interaction within a show needs to revolve around violence, however. Sometimes you’ll encounter kiosks where the money you’ve earned can be spent on useful items and pieces of gear. You can interact with fans as you progress, too, with your responses determining your personality. Play your cards right and you might grow your fame. Though it’s your combat performance that’s mostly going to have an effect on how many spectators have your name on their lips.

Homicidal All-Stars Preview: Kill or Be Killed

Forget about the traps and fan interactions, though; the best thing about Homicidal All-Stars is its combat encounters. As you make your way through each show you’ll be ambushed from time to time, and the only way to proceed is to slaughter your opponents. Battles are turn based, and the mechanics are familiar but very solid. You can enter overwatch, for example, and every turn each combatant can only perform a limited number of actions.

Move a little and you can perform an attack on an enemy as well. Move a lot and you might have to wait until your next turn. To succeed, you’ll need to nail the basics, like effectively using cover, but you’ll also need to capitalise on the skills and items available to you. One of Scarlet’s skills, for example, allows her to move a great distance and still attack. While a well thrown grenade can take down a whole group of adversaries.

When it comes to your opponents, they’re seemingly a varied bunch. The most common we’ve encountered so far are simply called Scum, and they’re pretty easy to take down. More advanced foes such as Ronin can be tricky, however; let them get close with their sharp swords and you’re going to be in for a bad day. But it’s not only the enemies in front of you that you need to worry about.

Sometimes the director of the show will attempt to make things more interesting, often to your detriment. He may add explosive barrels to the arena in the middle of the fight, or allocate more opponents. And so, you need to keep on your toes and be prepared for anything. Thankfully there are healing stations dotted around for you keep your health topped up if needs be.

Homicidal All-Stars Preview: Kill or Be Killed

Between shows, you can put your feet up, talk to your teammates and make use of other services before getting in your healing pod to prepare for the next event. Also, any skill points you’ve earned can be used to unlock new abilities and increase your stats. New weapons and items can also be acquired and equipped, too. Needless to say, you’ll need to develop your team effectively to succeed.

Homicidal All-Stars needn’t be a hardcore experience, though. Multiple difficulty settings are available, and the game autosaves often. You’re free to make the game as challenging – and gory – as you wish. There’s even a permadeath mode available for those who really want to raise the stakes.

From what we’ve played so far, it seems like Homicidal All-Stars might be a surprise hit when it launches. And while there’s no launch date announced just yet, it’s supposedly “coming soon”. With an interesting story, likeable characters, impressive production values and an engaging mix of exploration and turn-based combat, it’s safe to say that Homicidal All-Stars firmly has our attention.

Homicidal All-Stars launches on PC later this year. Add it to your Steam wishlist.

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