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Retro-inspired Soviet FPS HROT leaves early access next week

Come for the guns, stay for the astronomical clock simulation

Enemy in a hazmat suit holds a barrel over their head in a screenshot from HROT

Early access shooter Hrot channels the wicked energy of Quake and Dusk with a booming shotgun, fast movement, and wobbly weapon models. Old-school inspirations covered in a Soviet coat of paint that’s so oppressive, it borders on horror. Two of Hrot’s episodes are out now, but the shooter is leaving early access with a third on May 16th and it’s one to watch.

Anyone familiar with that retro era - or the recent games they inspired - will surely get flashbacks jumping into Hrot. It has plenty of wide open arenas to strafe around, plus interlocking corridors with hidden blastable walls and vents to sneak through. Keys that open new paths. Groaning hazmat-suited enemies that explode with red bloody pixels. An ever-growing bag of guns that go boom. You get the gist.

All of it is covered in a thick atmosphere that delights in overwhelming you. Stuttering radio frequencies and groaning enemies spook you from behind walls. Looking up reveals an almost apocalyptic sky. There’s also an unexplained disaster that causes some enemies to vomit before you shoot them. The disease has seemingly ruined the whole Eastern Bloc country, and I bet it's related to the gangs of hungry rats frolicking about.

But Hrot balances out that gloom with a genuinely silly sense of humour. One early level randomly drops an astronaut out of the sky and onto the ground in front of you. It’s a mini jumpscare in a game this tough, but a nearby monument dedicated to “30 Years Of The Soviet Space Program” turns the spaceman’s unfortunate demise into an ironic joke. You can even smooch pictures of old politicians.

Every level is full of these fun and odd interactable objects. Some are perennial favourites that only last a second: flushing toilets and unpacking Russian dolls. Others offer a longer reprise, inviting you to play the piano or kick around a football for minutes at a time. Clenching your buttcheeks and running past rabid dogs can be stressful work - you know that - so these happy interactions work almost like a playful safe room. You can see other wacky stuff highlighted on the developer’s Twitter account including toy train sets, a horse calendar, and a “nearly-realistic astronomical clock.” Easily my favourite things from Hrot.

When Hrot leaves early access next week it’ll have 3 episodes consisting of 26 levels, give or take a few secret ones. There’ll also be 4 endless arenas that spew waves of jolly rotten enemies your way.

Hrot is available to buy on Steam, GOG, and The Humble Store for £15.50/€17/$20. The shooter leaves early access on May 16th.

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About the Author
Kaan Serin avatar

Kaan Serin


Kaan is currently an English and Film student who spends more time thinking about food than his degree. Also, trying to cut down on sharing unprompted video game trivia.

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