Have you ever played Guitar Hero and lost yourself so much in the moment that you're thrashing around the room like a real-life rockstar? If so, then BPM: Bullets Per Minute is the game for you, mixing the iconic rhythm gameplay with all the ferocious action of DOOM. It's a unique sell for a game, and while it's a bit rough around the edges, it's unlike anything we've played before.
There's very little narrative to latch onto in BPM: Bullets Per Minute. You're simply tasked to play through a variety of stages, blasting away enemies to the beat of the music. A handy crosshair pinpoints exactly when to do so, meaning you're be orchestrating your ballet of blood and guts to the sound of heavy metal within seconds. It's not quite as easy to pick up as we initially hoped, but after sticking with it for a few playthroughs, we soon got the hang of it. Just be prepared for a blisteringly hard time.
It's all presented in a roguelite fashion, as death results in a permanent end to your run. You'll be forced to begin again, proceeding through a series of procedurally generated dungeons. Depending on the room, you may find perks to help you out, health upgrades, mini-bosses, or even a giant bird who operates a shop where you can buy upgrades. Due to the challenging nature of the game, it all comes down to how well the BPM: Bullets Per Minute gods treat you. Some runs found us dashing into the perfect amount of equipment, whereas others had us desperately clutching for our lives within just a few rooms. The unbalanced nature of it can make or break the game at times, especially when you're repeatedly dealt a bad hand.
All of it is wrapped in a pretty unique, but mixed art style. Dungeons feature over-saturated colours as if you're looking through the lens of an eye-watering Instagram filter. It can be fairly distracting, especially in hectic battles, as you're fighting the ludicrous graphics as well as the hordes of foes the game's throwing at you. Thankfully, the audio department more than makes up for the assault on your senses, as each stage packs a rip-roaring rock track to battle against. While it can quickly become repetitive, it helps to learn the tempo as you fight grotesque monsters.
Despite its shortcomings, we were always drawn to come back for 'one more run'. It nails the roguelite gameplay hook and has a unique gameplay mechanic to support it all. While it at times feels as though the game's fighting against you when everything comes together, there's nothing quite like it. Clearing a room of monsters in time to the guitar shredding soundtrack never gets old and the constant progression of unlocking new characters and skills is an incentive to keep trying. It's not a home run, but those who buy into BPM: Bullet Per Minute's charm will certainly have a good time.