I Blame Society: Bunker Punks, An FPS-RPG-Manage-o-sim

The problem with Vault Dwellers, yeah, is that they’re dweebs. The world as we know it is gone and they hunker down in their nuclear bunkers like squares, following their little rules as pawns in someone else’s experiments. I want to stick it to The Man behind our little apocalypse. I want to join the Bunker Punks [official site].

Bunker Punks is a roguelikelike old-school FPS with splashes of RPG and management sim. I’ve had an eye on it for a while, but wanted to see more before I yelled at you about it. Now, a trailer:

The Bunker Punks are revolutionaries raiding The Man’s facilities for loot and resources. That side plays out in zipping, zooming, circle-strafing 3D first-person face-shooting on procedurally-generated levels. They’re also a movement. Between missions, you have a base to build and upgrade, XCOM-style. Your punks are distinct characters with their own traits and gear, and level up too, and you can recruit more for the cause.

Bunker Punks is made by Ninja Robot Dinosaur Entertainment, a horribly-named studio founded by Shane Neville. As I said, I’ve been following it for a while; its dev blog will regularly drop cool pictures of cool punks into your feeds. I normally wouldn’t mention pre-orders, but a zine is a cute little on-brand bonus.

No word on a release date yet, but it looks like it’ll cost $14.99 (£10).


  1. Kaeoschassis says:

    It’s been a long time since a trailer actually increased my desire to own a game, but that one managed it. Very Danger Days. I had actually forgot this existed, too.
    If the shooting feels as good as it LOOKS like it feels (if that made sense) then it’s gonna be terrific.

  2. hollowroom says:

    Love the concept, not a fan of the graphics.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Are we talking technically here or is it just not your style? Because I think it’s one of the nicest examples of its kind that I’ve seen.

      • Arathorn says:

        Speaking just for myself, I’m tired of the throwback “pixels as big as your fist” aesthetic in all these indie games. Yes we know resolutions were lower in the supposedly golden-age nineties, but let’s not forget that screens were tiny too back then. Making things pixelated doesn’t make games magically better.
        Graphics don’t have to be photo-realistic, and being stylized isn’t necessarily bad, but this is overdone now.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I think your point is hinging on a pretty huge and glaring assumption though – that the point of the visual style is making it look old for the sake of looking old.
          Fact is, huge chunky pixels and limited colour palettes and all the other things that came out of the tech restrictions of the time are utterly fecking gorgeous. Ignore the supposed nostalgia-bating (it’s there, but that doesn’t mean it’s ALWAYS there), ignore the very real benefits that can come from simple, almost symbolic graphics, and you’re still left with a style of visuals that a great many people thing are just really really pretty.
          Aint nothing wrong with that.

          • hollowroom says:

            I think my problem is that I can’t really tell what it is I’m shooting at because it’s over pixellated. This was fine when it was a hardware restriction, but it isn’t any more.

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            phuzz says:

            Big pixels == gorgeous is a pretty subjective thing, it doesn’t do anything for me.
            However, I can see that it’s easier for the developers to produce the graphics if there’s less detail in them, which hopefully leads to more time spent on the rest of the game.
            Personally I prefer the lo-poly approach, so I still get the advantage of my nice hi-res monitor, (which 15 year old me would have much preferred to the big-pixeled TV I had then) whilst not being so detailed as to require a full time artist to spend weeks on one object.

      • hollowroom says:

        It’s just not my style. Even if it was slightly less pixellated it would be better, but that’s just my opinion.

      • Sam says:

        Much of aesthetics is consistency. Not consistency with some arbitrary standard set by hardware in 1992 or a specific engine, but consistent within the work itself. The visual style used here fails to be consistent.

        The enemies are drawn at a very low pixel count, but minor details like a “CONSUME” poster has a much higher pixel density. There are blood splatters with more detail than the enemy they splurt out of. The low-pixel explosive barrel explodes into a smoothly rounded blast animation. That difference in style makes it feel like these things don’t belong in the same game.

        The lighting is also problematic. It has a smooth drop-off in intensity from the light source, which when applied to the mostly flat colours of the level create gradient effects. But the art assets are all drawn with a limited colour palette. So in a single image you have smooth colour changes from the lighting and hard stylised colour changes from the authored art. Again it’s internally inconsistent.

        But I think I’m an outlier in how much I notice or care about these things.

        • Ludomation says:

          I noticed it too. The world is obviously rendered in a modern 3d engine, the art style of the everything else is pixel art. Which does clash a bit – but I am not too sure it’s a total deal breaker. I’m not sure if putting a post-process filter on the geometry would make it look better or worse. It probably wouldn’t suit the same style as the rest of the art – being that it would have to be procedural where as hand drawn stuff arrives at result in an entirely different path.

          As for the Goldilocks zone of pixelation ratio – that’s a tricky one and probably a highly subjective one too. You want detail, but not so much that you get mired down in filling out all the little bits and pieces. You want simplicity – but not so much that you miss out on immersive details!

        • Baines says:

          Interestingly enough, those differences *might* be enough for me to play the game without getting sick. I could at least watch the video without getting sick, which is more than I can say for many intentionally blocky and low resolution first person games. (Minecraft, Eldritch, and so many others.)

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          Phasma Felis says:

          I was thinking the visuals were pretty decent, got the job done. Then I was looking through their Tumblr, and I found this: link to bunkerpunks.tumblr.com

          So that’s a low-res, low-color, very noisy/staticky animated gif, and…it looks better. All that static totally fits the theme and atmosphere. Huh.

    • Monkeh says:

      Personally I think this looks great and has a lot of charm to it. Weirdly enough I find these graphics to be more aesthetically pleasing than Tower of Guns or Heavy Bullets even if there are less polygons and what not.

      • Jalan says:

        Heavy Bullets had just enough distinction not to be called out as a mostly untextured Unity mess. I say that as a compliment (of sorts) since I actually quite like that game’s particular aesthetic.

        I think a big piece of criticism here is that we’re kind of running short on innovative and fresh ways to present a game. We get cel-shaded this and that, we get neon-washed vomit covered this and that or we get “it’s retro pastiche ’cause… pixels and we’ve all played a pixel-styled shooter at least once in our lives, right?” or we get just the “vanilla” modern visuals.

  3. Jalan says:

    Twice now I read “Manage” as “Ménage”. I gotta quit scrolling so fast.

  4. ExitDose says:

    Do all the writers follow the repo code?

  5. Barberetti says:

    Looks interesting. I’ll add that to my Big Ol’ Book Of Upcoming Games To Keep An Eye On And Possibly Buy When Released.

  6. 69stabcat says:

    Im glad somebody finally ripped off the jet set radio thing!