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Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun

Presenting Gameffine's Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun review. Play a battle-hardened Space Marine on a perilous mission across the galaxy, as they battle against the Chaos Space Marines and daemons of Chaos.

Product Brand: Auroch Digital

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $21.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

Warhammer 40K and First Person Shooters always seemed like the perfect fit to me. The dopamine-inducing power fantasy of controlling a 300kg armor-wearing genetic freak in a no-nonsense FPS, and purging heretics in the name of the blessed emperor was a pipedream. That is until Auroch Digital, surprise-bombed Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun, a self-proclaimed ‘Boomer Shooter’ set in the grim darkness of the far future where war is everyone’s favorite pastime. As a Boomer Shooter aficionado and an ex-contributor to the E1M1 magazine, I called dibs the moment I was done with the reveal trailer. Almost a year later, I’ve completed the entire game, and here’s what I have to say. Consider this the ravings of a madman. Presenting Gameffine’s Boltgun review.

Just Another Day in the Field

Much like 99% of 90’s style FPS, the story is an afterthought in Boltgun. I mean, do you really need a fleshed-out narrative to give an Ultramarine a motive to go on a purging spree? That’s basically a day in the life of a faithful servant of the Emperor. The story is basically this – the forces of chaos are doing some nasty experiments on an unfortunate planet called Graia. You assist the Inquisition to find the source of the foul energy and clean the mess up. There’s some stuff about a rogue element within Adeptus Mechanicus and a powerful McGuffin thrown in. You crashland on the planet and the rest is self-explanatory.


Boltgun won’t bore the player with 40-minute-long cutscenes and discourses regarding the nature of humanity. It’s a balls-to-the-walls, no-nonsense shooter from start to the very end. You do get a Servo Skull as a companion who pinpoints resources and makes unassuming morbid remarks from time to time. Everything else is purely retro-inspired carnage. The way it’s meant to be.

Confused Unga Bunga

For a change, let’s get the negatives out of the way first. By far, the biggest one – there is no automap! I have no idea which designer thought it’d be a good idea to not include an automap when making a game with a shitload of color-coded doors and key-finding objectives. Thanks to this, I legit spent 20 minutes more than I should have in a “particular level” in Chapter 3. Then there’s the fact that you can only see level stats after finishing a level. Not being able to see level stats during gameplay is a bummer but not something I can’t live without. The inclusion of such a feature would have made secret hunting far smoother.

One another nitpick is the presence of color-coded ledges in the game. It’s a strange design choice, especially for a game labeled as a Boomer Shooter. Do the developers not trust the player to figure out which ledges are climbable on their own? Moreover, not all climbable surfaces are color-coded, making this decision all the more baffling.


Then there’s the matter of visibility. The game, with its crispy spritework and extreme attention to environmental detail, is a sight to behold. Watching enemies explode into chonky gibblets and how the levels get drenched in gore is orgasmic. At the same time, the game can be quite hard on the eyes at times. There are a lot of striking reds and intense blacks in the color palette and enemies seem to blend in with the environment a lot. The particle effects also make it hard to make out stuff. Thankfully, the hitboxes are rather generous and there are no hitscanners in the game.

Then there’s the performance. The game does hit a solid 144 fps while using an RTX 3070 at 1080p most of the time. Yet, there are times when the fps would tank to the low 100s and even 70s. This fluctuation is easily noticeable on a high refresh rate monitor. I don’t think the visuals of the game are that demanding. On the plus side, the game runs decently on the Steam Deck despite it being officially unsupported. The intro videos do not play on it but a different Proton layer can fix that issue.


Now, this one is a personal thing. I felt that Boltgun empties its load prematurely. What you see in the first chapter is exactly what the rest of the game is like. Sure, levels get more complex, you get more weapons and enemy waves become more relentless but the pacing and flow remain the same. The ways in which games like DUSK and CULTIC manage to surprise players after the initial few levels by opening up the game are missing in Boltgun. It’s a very by-the-book type of game and does not take any risks to deviate from the basic gameplay loop. The game becomes extremely predictable after the first chapter. To be clear, it’s an issue that’s quite common in a lot of Boomer Shooters and it’s a nitpick rather than anything else and the gameplay loop in Boltgun itself is highly satisfying. Speaking of satisfying:

Glorious Gibs

Boltgun has nailed the fundamentals of a Boomer Shooter just right, with the gunplay being the highlight. There are 8 powerful weapons (excluding the Chainsword) ranging from the titular Boltgun to the mighty Grav-Canon. The guns feel extremely good to use and they all pack a punch. While you pick up progressively powerful guns along the way, even the most basic guns remain viable thanks to power-ups that modify their attributes and ammo types. The excellent gunplay is supplemented by a wide variety of heretics to shoot at, including cultists, Chaos Marines, and followers of Nurgle and Tzeentch. There are also 3 powerful (almost too powerful) bosses to take on and two of them reappear as elite enemies later on. Some of the enemy types are a bit of bullet sponges but that might just be because I played on Hard difficulty. Boltgun is pure Ultramarine power fantasy.


The levels, while nothing to write home about, are all competently made. The levels in the first chapter are a bit too linear for my taste but they eventually become complex from the second chapter onwards and feature more verticality. Speaking of chapters, the game has 3, with each of them containing 8 levels. Each level culminates in a boss fight and you start the next chapter and have to reacquire all the more powerful guns. Each level takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes to complete and by the time the credits rolled, I had clocked over 11 hours of gameplay, longer than the average Boomer Shooter. The game is exclusively single player and not having multiplayer components seems like a missed opportunity. But hey, at least we got a good 40K FPS. I’m okay with that.


Another aspect Boltgun does right is the player movement. Malum Caedo (voiced by Rahul Kohli) has gotta be the most agile Ultramarine ever to serve the Emperor. He runs and climbs like a mutated rabbit and his controls are perfect to a T. This makes for combat encounters that are fast, frantic, and precise. The few platforming sections present in the game are also pretty good thanks to the tight controls. The game expects you to master the controls and the final boss fight is a prime example of that. It has got to be the most challenging boss fight I’ve ever experienced in a game of this type. Aside from that, the difficulty is perfectly balanced for people familiar with genre-heavy hitters. I died a few times during my hard playthrough and 99% of the time, it was due to my lack of tactical awareness. It’s definitely the difficulty I’d recommend to veterans FPS players.

Real Talk

Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun is a competently made FPS that’s exactly what it’s advertised to be – a no-nonsense, Boomer Shooter with tight controls and satisfying combat loop. The fact that it looks amazing is the Daggerfruit on top. While the game plays it safe and doesn’t deviate from the established formula, it nevertheless offers over 10 hours of entertaining gameplay. At the same time, there is plenty of room for improvement. Even though multiplayer is out of the question, the addition of an endless mode, extra challenges, and even a map editor will go a long way in ensuring that the game is replayable. Boltgun is a purchase retro FPS fans won’t regret.


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