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access_time September 16, 2019 at 6:00 AM in PC/Mac by David Poole

Early Access Review | Hot Shot Burn

Hot Shot Burn, Flaming Flamingo’s hilarious and brutal party game, has been in Steam Early Access for a month now. We covered it pretty extensively before it came out, but now others have had the chance to play. How does the game do now that it’s out in the open? Well, it unfortunately has one big problem. Not enough people are playing this amazingly fun game.

The premise of Hot Shot Burn is an intergalactic game show where competitors of all types are pulled in to compete in a battle to the death. Currently, six playable characters, all with unique abilities, enter the battle in a free-for-all shootout. Using cartoon visuals and a humorous style, the game makes full use of the setting to keep players engaged. The announcer keeps the energy going, motivating players to do better as they compete. It’s a simple set up for a surprisingly addictive game.

Players go down in one hit (unless they pick up a shield), and the shooting is pretty easy to get a handle of. There are a lot of small little details to pay attention to that can easily throw people off at first. Things like shooting power-ups blow them up (which can easily get a kill on an unsuspecting player). Other things are the use of abilities after death, which some players can earn “Necro” points for doing. Overall, there are tons of combinations of situations, and it’s a blast to uncover them in the middle of the fight.

Starting out with Mia, Chuck, Dr. Peakl, and Umad, each will have their own balance of weapons and abilities. As players progress through the game, they’ll unlock Luna and Wizardo as well. Each character has a different play style and even have skins to personalize their flair. Players will have to play as them to unlock the skins, but it doesn’t take long to get everything for a character. Of the characters, my favorite ended up being Luna, as her sniper shot that moves through walls has made for some pretty entertaining games. Either way, there should be at least once character that players can feel comfortable with in this easy to pick up, hard to master game.

This four player party game is really a blast when you get a full group of people playing. Locally, it’s no problem, though being a PC title, it’s not as convenient as a traditional console would be. Luckily, that will change next year when the game launches on consoles. Either way, players can select their character and get started right away. One thing to note is that there isn’t a way to select the same character as another player, likely for balance reasons. Hopefully the developers add a mode to make this possible just for some added mayhem. For now, it limits the options and makes it difficult to unlock content for your preferred character.

Players will compete in various arenas, each with their own gimmick and strategies. On top of that, there are various mutators like Switcharoo and Connection Problems to add extra random challenges. Getting kills, being stylish and even collecting nachos will earn points toward a goal of 50. Once a player reaches 50 points, all they have to do is survive to win the match. In a four player free-for-all, this takes a lot of skill to maintain. Other players will likely gang up on someone that’s close to winning, though the tides can turn with even one round. It’s even more fun when everyone has 50 points, making it a tense final match where anything can happen.

While playing locally is fine, the biggest issue here is the online play. While the game is incredibly smooth online, the problem is there isn’t enough people playing. This isn’t the fault of the developers, as this is an Early Access indie game, and a new IP at that. It’s a game that simply needs more exposure to become noticed. Because of this single issue, it can be hard to find players online. While there is an official Discord server to join, players shouldn’t have to join it to find people to play with. Sadly, there are no bots, so if you’re not playing locally and there’s nobody online, you’re not playing the game. Occasionally, there will be small groups of players online, and they’ll likely stick with you for a few matches. Either way, Hot Shot Burn needs more people playing.

When the game officially launches next year, there are plans for cross-platform play with consoles. This will likely help with the lack of players, expanding the pool just a bit for more matches to occur. With that in mind, that still won’t happen for a few months. Until then, the game is simply in a wait and see situation. Without the ability to play others and no single-player content, the game is simply held back. It’s really unfortunate too, because the game is incredibly polished for what there is to offer.

One of the nicest things about Hot Shot Burn for PC is that it’s a really simple graphics style. You don’t need a gaming PC to play this title, as it will even run on low-end rigs. Despite the simple graphics, the visual style does add to the presentation, giving a nice taste of comic violence, inspired by shows like Rick and Morty and Final Space. Aside from the visuals, another great thing about this game is the synthwave soundtrack. Including tracks from Fury Weekend, Dance With The Dead, Meteor, and Scandroid, it’s a great selection of heart-pumping songs. Hot Shot Burn even has new tracks from the Polish artist, Favorit89. If synthwave is your jam, then you’ll likely be in heaven here.

Overall, Hot Shot Burn is a great multiplayer experience that simply loses steam for lacking people to play with. It’s fun, addictive, and worth the price of admission, at least for someone looking for a local multiplayer experience. It’s not the fault of the developers that there isn’t a lot of people playing, but hopefully this game can continue to grow. It has a lot of free content planned, including several new characters and stages. Hopefully when the game officially launches, it has more of an audience, because it would be sad to let this one fade away. Until then, it simply needs more people playing.

Early Access Score: 7.5 out of 10

Early Access Scores don’t represent the final score of the game, as things are subject to change. We will provide an official final score once the game launches. This score simply stands for the current experience.

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