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Review: Nom Nom Apocalypse bores with its lackluster gameplay

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To say that Nom Nom Apocalypse is a weird game, with its laughably absurd name, would be the biggest understatement I’ve made yet this year. Set during an apocalypse brought about by sentient, mutant food (yes, you read that correctly), this game goes way beyond “quirky” to abject strange.

Ultimately, that’s the only reason it’s memorable. As a game, Nom Nom Apocalypse, while technically stable, is mediocre at best and downright boring at worst.

Most of the appeal in a roguelite is the challenge; die, and you have to start a new run. Unlike a roguelike, you get to keep some of your progress like currency, upgrades, and unlocked goodies. Nom Nom Apocalypse is the former, allowing you to retain your earnings while making you start over at level 1 when you die. It’s a healthy challenge that pushes you to get better and try harder the next time.

This style, combined with the twin-stick shoot ’em up gameplay, makes for an exciting combination. Though playing with a controller was fine, I preferred the precision of my mouse. When starting a new run, Nom Nom Apocalypse offers you a choice of a player character, four to start. Each has its own traits and abilities, aka ultimate, that ever so slightly tweak how you play. More characters are unlocked by performing certain actions, like getting a 50 kill streak or beating the level 2 boss.

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Chasing these unlocks kept me playing. The game tells you how to acquire each of them, so I just went down the list and got as many as I could. This was the main draw for me. You can also earn new perks by spending the cash you get while playing to enhance your survivability. However, I found I used a lot of the money I earned buying ammo and health, both of which are relatively scarce world drops.

What I didn’t like about Nom Nom Apocalypse

To make a roguelite interesting, the gameplay should be enticing. The point, after all, is to keep the player going for run after run. Nom Nom Apocalypse ultimately fails in this regard, since it offers little incentive to keep playing. The unlocks are boring, the loot is boring, and the level design is most certainly boring. If I had to boil Nom Nom Apocalypse down to one word, it wouldn’t be “strange;” nope, and you’ve probably guessed it by now, I’d call it “boring.”

Now that we’re taking bets on how often I can get away with using that word, let’s talk about why I had a strong dislike for my time with this game. It’s a chore, if I’m honest, an exercise in mediocrity and listlessness. Other than perhaps the premise, nothing about Nom Nom Apocalypse is unique or otherwise noteworthy. At the best of times, the most I can say is “meh.”

If I had to boil this game down to one word, it’d be “boring.”

The utter lack of anything memorable is the final nail in the coffin, as it were. None of the weapons, none of the playable characters, none of the bosses… I can barely recall a single thing from any of them. I couldn’t even tell you the names of the bosses or what they looked like, except maybe that one was a giant, mutant take-out box of noodles. And I’m even fuzzy on whether or not I remember that accurately.

Each of the playable characters has something different about them: an active perk, a passive perk, and an ultimate. In my playtime, I found that barely anything actually separated them since they each use the same assault rifle-style weapon at the start. They all can use the same items, and there isn’t any specific gear, like armor or other items, for them to pick up. I ended up going with the Hot Dog Vendor because he got a 10% discount at the vending machines, making buying health and ammo a bit cheaper. But otherwise, I couldn’t tell much of a difference during the actual gameplay.

One of the worst parts about Nom Nom Apocalypse is the soundtrack. It’s repetitive in all the wrong ways, and it tries to draw too much attention to itself. It lacks not for trying; I’ll give it that. Thankfully, it can be disabled in the settings. Otherwise, the sound design is okay — the guns sound pretty good, the monsters make different grunts and growls, and the other effects are fine.

Should you buy Nom Nom Apocalypse?

No, I don’t think so. There are plenty of other roguelites, like Necropolis, and roguelikes, Enter the Gungeon, out there that do a better job offering a challenge and an enticing gameplay loop.

Nom Nom Apocalypse doesn’t really do anything well. Although it’s worth noting that I never once had a technical issue — the game ran smoothly, and I never had any crashes or freezes, so kudos to the developers for that. Beyond this, however, I don’t see any reason to buy this game unless you love absurdist humor. I can appreciate what the developers were going for, but it fell flat for me.

2.5 out of 5


At this point, I think I’m repeating myself. Nom Nom Apocalypse was an admirable attempt at a fun game, but it fails to achieve that. Very little about it stands out — other than the mutant food — and the experience was just average. It’s saved from further criticism by its technical stability and creative idea.

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