Nuclear Throne Review


Moving along with the rogue-like reviews, next we have a relatively old game: Nuclear Throne. Released in late 2015, Nuclear Throne is a game that takes place in a nuclear apocalypse, post-humans. The cast of characters includes an eye-covered monster, a walking plant, a doctor that is extremely ripped, a triangular scam artist, and more, as they fight to claim the Nuclear Throne, a walking, robotic throne room filled to its core with radiation.

The gameplay is fairly standard by today’s metrics for the rogue-like genre: it’s a top-down, twin-stick shooter, much as Enter the Gungeon and The Binding of Isaac are. The only difference is the sheer speed at which combat takes place. Typically, upon entering a floor, the player will be in and out in under two minutes, and that’s a generous estimate. Both the characters and the enemies walk quickly and fire on sight, making for a faster paced, reflex-dependent system of combat.

Weapons and Rads are found each floor, with varying degrees of worth. If you trust your skills and your ability to conserve ammunition well enough, you can always choose to ditch the current floor’s chest and rad-container and gain a higher quality drop on the next floor. Managing your resources is crucial in this game, as it always seems to come down to choosing guns based on whatever ammo you haven’t completely run through yet. This factor is so important that different characters specialize in resources, such as the gun-munching robot that gains ammo from unwanted weapons and the walking irradiated slime that uses its rads as ammo for a special attack. However, even that comes with a cost.

Rads are the player’s source of experience points, allowing them to level up and gain a random skill upon entering a new floor after filling a rad container. These perks are random, and may or may not benefit your character’s play-style. Whether or not you wish to skip or spend rads is entirely situational.

The only constant within the game are the enemies and bosses. On each floor, you’re guaranteed to see the same faces you saw there last time, only in different distributions or places than the last time. Each set of floors ends in a boss, starting with Big Bandit in the desert and ending at Nuclear Throne at the Nuclear Throne. (Yes, the boss is essentially the location, as well.)

The music is above-average, and the visuals are nearly perfect for the style of game. The lore is just enough to explain the insane world the player will explore, while never being presented in-game in fear of disrupting the flow of battle. Overall, the game is a solid rogue-like with its own dedicated, albeit small, fan base. Its good to play for quite some time, but it lacks the content required to meet the hundred-hour marker that many of the most notable rogue-likes can claim.