Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Nuclear Throne [official site] is a bullet hell, twin-stick shooter roguelike set in an apocalyptic wasteland. Like, seriously apocalyptic – playable characters include a telekinetic sack of eyeballs, a mutated plant that’s 90% mouth, and a blob of radioactive gloop.
The graphics are matched by impeccable sound design, which delivers crunchy shotgun blasts and satisfying squelches as enemies get popped. Every character has strengths and weaknesses that make each run feel substantially different. The melting skeleton man, for instance, can explode corpses for a devastating amount of damage but starts with hardly any health. That radioactive blob can fire a powerful beam of rads, but that uses up XP.
Getting a random choice of upgrades each time you gain a level also mixes up each run. In one game, you might take no damage from explosions and heal every time you kill an enemy. In another, you might upgrade your melee range and gain the ability to bat corpses towards your unvanquished foes.
It’s still an unquestionably difficult game, but as roguelikes go it’s one of the more accessible ones out there.