If you're already familiar with Cyanide & Happiness then the chances are that Rapture Rejects is already on your radar, but if you're not, allow us to set the scene... C&H is a webcomic created by Rob DenBleyker, Kris Wilson, and Dave McElfatrick that started over a decade ago and that explores all manner of controversial subjects, often to darkly comedic effect.
In terms of how this translates to the world of gaming, Galvanic Games and Explosm Games (under the guidance of indie label tinyBuild) have worked with the team behind the comics to craft a quirky isometric post-apocalyptic battle royale shooter that walks a very different path to those more established names on the scene (the likes of Fortnite, PUBG, and COD: Blackout).
The isometric view is perhaps the biggest difference, and apart from the battle royale mode we saw added for Battlerite, the vast majority of last player standing games seem to focus on first and third-person perspectives. Here you have a lofty vantage point that gives you a better overview of the battlefield, meaning you - and your opponents - can spot a threat from quite a distance away (you can see even further if you access one of many terminals in the game that zoom the camera out even further, extending your overview).
Another neat twist (pardon the pun) is the fact that you can flip the perspective of the camera, rotating the action 90 degrees with the push of a button. This might not seem like a big deal but it is, as you'll have to flip the view in order to access buildings and see what's happening outside of your line of sight. It takes a little getting used to, but once you've got the knack of shifting the camera around as you explore, it makes things easier as you scavenge for supplies out in the wider world.
That search for gear isn't a huge distance away from the genre standard with houses littered with gear in a playing space that shrinks over time, but what sets Rapture Rejects apart is the quirky weapon types that feed into the overall setting. You're not wielding pistols and uzis here, rather you're firing toasters filled with deadly cutlery (a blunderbuss of domestic proportions if you will), and other seemingly outlandish firearms. The arsenal is rather limited in terms of its scope, but each gun is just as bonkers as the next; if you're after a serious isometric battle royale shooter, you should probably look elsewhere.
The projectiles that spew forth from your quirky weapons are clearly visualised so you get an idea as to their range and effect. We thought it was a little tricky gauging how effect we were being and how much damage we were dealing at times, but the rest of the information you need to know is clearly visualised for you on the screen, and we thought that the pixel art was generally very illustrative.
This is a good time to segue into the overall aesthetic of the game, which as you can no doubt imagine given its heritage, is extremely characterful. It looks great and all the visual charm of the source material is there to see. The avatar animations are very simple as you'd expect from a comic that revels in its generic characters, but there's a great deal of customisation for players to tinker with, whether that be an outrageous moustache or a giant shark hat that covers your whole head, and you really can take your style in some absurd directions (we've not played for long and we've already got a couple of cool outfits).
Moreover, the level design is rather interesting in a decorative sense, and there's a ton of detail embedded into the world, and if you're a fan of the comic then we daresay you'll take pleasure in exploring this wrecked place and picking out the little nods that are strewn all over. It's irreverent and silly and darkly comic, and we reckon fans of C&H will probably enjoy it.
In terms of the controls, you move around with WASD and adjust your aim by using your mouse cursor to change the direction you're facing. You can use Q and E to flip the camera, and holding down F had us rummaging through crates and picking up ammo from the ground. You can carry different weapons (which have alt-fire options) and complement them with in-game abilities, the most obvious being the delightfully named F-bomb that causes area of effect damage, but you can do other things as well such as throw up temporary barriers or put on a disguise that hides you from nearby enemies, giving you a range of tactical options to supplement the nailgun or whatever it is you're rocking at the time.
Whether you're alone or in a game of duos, player numbers are relatively limited so you won't be running into hundreds of people, rather these are small skirmishes. The different weapon types mean that the exchanges can be quite tactical and often your positioning and use of cover can make all the difference. Similarly, reloading your ammo (which is made of either trash or scrap) sees your character temporarily slowdown and therefore become momentarily vulnerable, so it's important to use the landscape all around you to your advantage, picking your moments to make sure that you don't become an easy target, especially when a bunch of people are fighting in the same area.
Rapture Rejects is certainly a fun take on the battle royale genre, and if you love the last player standing setup but you're bored of the more traditional games, there could be something here for you. That said, it's still early days and the devs need to add more content to really expand on the gameplay possibilities because at the moment it feels a little thin in this area. With more even more ridiculous/spectacular weapons feeding into the theme and changing up the combat dynamic in the months ahead, this one could have legs. Really skinny legs at that.