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Amid Evil fantastically casts itself out of early access

It's (a) kinda magic.

I've had a rollicking good time with Amid Evil over its year-and-a-bit in early access, so I'm glad to say that the final version is out now and every bit as good as I'd hoped. Developed by Indefatigable, a small team of former Doom modders, it's a high fantasy '90s style FPS heavily inspired by Doom cousin Heretic, but has a few big ideas of its own. Probably its greatest strength is variety - while the running and zapping is familiar and straightforward, its seven worlds have entirely different (and increasingly surreal) styles and enemies. See for yourself in the launch trailer below.

As a shooter, Amid Evil is as accessible as they come. Indefatigable have pared down its design for fast decision making. There's only health to worry about (no armour), no fall damage, no drowning, and only a little jumping to be done. You'll mostly be bombing around enormous high fantasy environments (some lovely vistas to be seen) very quickly, being chased by swarms of chunky low-poly monsters and picking the right weapon to use. It makes me feel like a hybrid of Doomguy and Gandalf (dude knew his way around a sword too), as it should be.

Every one of the seven weapons (even the melee axe) is useful, not just situationally but through the whole game. Several enemies have elemental weaknesses, and killing enough enemies lets you temporarily activate Soul Mode, a power-up state which completely changes the nature of each weapon ala Heretic's Tome Of Power item. It's wildly cathartic to just clear out a huge swarm of enemies with a well-timed boost and the right weapon, and the seven (one per world) boss fights feel like a build-up to that moment of release.

Cover image for YouTube video

It's a treat to look at, and has an aesthetic all of its own, with a distinct roughness to its textures and chunky but still characterful enemy designs, similar to publisher stable-mate Dusk. There's a little bit of old-school Quake to its level design, plus a bit of Unreal's love of grandiose, massive structures, and the final couple worlds are gorgeously lurid abstract geometric constructs. The earliest levels are vaguely straightforward fantasy temples, but later you'll be fighting laser-bots in industrial complexes, or a cult of wizards and their crystal constructs in arcane void-space.

The only complaints I can really make about Amid Evil are those of omission. The game is solo only, and while there's multiple difficulties with extra enemies to spice up return trips to the campaign, the only thing beyond that is an endless horde survival mode. There's also no modding, although it may still happen some day. If neither of those is a dealbreaker for you, then I say go for it - this one feels kinda magical.

Amid Evil is out now on Steam, Humble and GOG for £12.39/€13.59/$16, and published by New Blood Interactive.

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Dominic Tarason