We Are Doomed could be described as a dual joystick shooter. But there is no shooting. Which might seem weird. Instead there is just a giant laser beam. We Are Doomed is also a strange name. It implies a terrible future. It feels like an oddly pessimistic name for such a colorful and trance inducing game. But this game doesn’t feel gloomy or depressing.
No, not depressing at all. As I played, I felt like I was dancing around the level. As the hypnotic music pulsed in the background, I darted my little white dot around. Dodging rocks and enemies, while also shooting a giant laser beam. The feeling I got while I played We Are Doomed was similar to other dual joystick shooters. But like I said, I wasn’t shooting. I was dancing. With a laser beam. A laser beam that feels more like a flamethrower than a laser cannon.
The basic idea of We Are Doomed is simple. You are a white dot. You control the dot with the left stick and aim and shoot with the right stick. There are strange shapes, each possessing different patterns and behaviors. They come at you, sometimes in large groups, and you destroy them. Throughout the levels you can collect purple boxes, which grant you bonus points. But they also charge up your super laser beam. Popping this creates a large, blinding beam of energy that destroys basically anything it touches. Hopefully you kill enough of the shapes that you make it to the next wave. If you do take enough hits and die We Are Doomed is super quick to restart. It feels almost too cliched to say, but this is very much a “one more try” type of game.
At one point I was playing and looked at the clock. It was 11 PM. I died and decided to have one more go. I looked up and it was 3 AM. We Are Doomed can easily suck you away. I know I had moments where I lost track of time and was instead focused on smoothly dancing around. All the while blowing up enemy shapes with my sweet laser beam.
It might sound like We Are Doomed is a Geometry Wars clone, but after a few seconds with the game it’s apparent this is a different experience. Your white dot swims around the level and your focus is more on swiping groups of enemies with your laser. In Geometry Wars I felt like I was shooting enemies. In We Are Doomed I feel like I’m fighting with a flamethrower. Holding it on tougher enemies for a bit longer and using it to push through a group of enemy shapes. It’s a different feel. I feel more like I’m painting enemies with a laser than accurately sniping them with a gun.
If you don’t like the feel of the laser beam, well there isn’t any other option. There are no power ups or new weapons to pick up. We Are Doomed does feel more stripped down than other dual joystick shooters. But I actually like how focused We Are Doomed feels. Like Wolfentstein: The New Order, this is a game that knows what it is and does it well. There is no online multiplayer, no story or cutscenes. Instead the game focuses on the moving, the “shooting”, the art and the music. And all of it is, for the most part, fantastic.
The music of We Are Doomed is great. The songs feel like they were ripped out of broken, glitched out computer. Everything sounds haunting and slightly strange. But in a good way. Strange digital chanting and noises filled my room and helped suck me into the game. The art is good, simple, but good. My favorite shape in the game were the triangles. These blue triangles have a little eye, just one, stuck on them.They almost look defenseless, until they surround you and kill you.
I did have issues with telling the difference between energy boxes, which you want to collect, and enemies. In the heat of battle I would sometimes avoid a box that looked like an enemy. Other times I had issues with the explosion effects, they could get in the way a bit and cause me to lose my white dot in the colorful mess. These issues didn’t happen often enough to cause me too many headaches and I felt like the more I played the less they happened.
More annoying issues I ran into was with the menus and suspend/resume on the PS4. Sometimes menus felt...laggy, for lack of a better term. I would hit down or up and it would take too long and I would hit X and open up a different menu or almost restart a game. I checked if it was my controller or my TV and no other game had issues. I also suspended the game to watch a YouTube video and when I came back it had crashed. The music was still playing, but I couldn’t do anything. I had to back out using the PS button and close it. Hopefully these issues are patched at some point.
We Are Doomed is a simple but, really fun to play dual joystick shooter. It’s a game that has you dancing around enemies while using a flamethrower-like laser beam. We Are Doomed has great music and feels smaller, but focused. Some might want more modes or features and We Are Doomed, at least at launch, doesn’t have that. For me that wasn’t a problem though. The core gameplay is strong and addictive.It feels responsive and fast paced. It felt great to play. My biggest problems were a few technical issues. But nothing that would stop me from recommending this game, or continuing to play it.
Of course, maybe I’m just a sucker for cute triangles and laser beams.