Bombshell puts you into the shoes of Shelly ‘Bombshell’ Harrison in her mission to rescue the President of the United States of America. The setup is as generic action B-movie as it sounds in Bombshell, which manages to only provide some cheap thrills throughout its 8-9 hour campaign.
Bombshell is a 3D isometric shooter in, which you gun down hoards of cannon fodder across 3 extensive chapters. The game isn’t much more than this, the campaign boils down to the same key find quest loop in every chapter, which then funnels you into a singular boss fight. The game ticks so many boxes on the generic videogame list that by the end I was bored, even despite the fact the levels offer optional side quests.
The standard fare of old school shooter weapons is here: sidearm, minigun, shotgun, flamethrower, rocket launcher, and etc. All are attached to Shelly’s cybernetic arm, one of the only things that make her stand out as an interesting character. While the standard weapons aren’t particularly interesting, you can earn money in order to upgrade your weapons and pick a particular skill path giving them a distinctive alternate fire mode. For example your standard sidearm, the ‘Iron Maiden,’ can be upgraded with a rail gun style laser or beam splitter to bounce shots off targets. However if you prefer stronger firepower ypu can have your shotgun become explosive or electric. All these upgrades provide decent variety to Bombshells’ combat and allow you to destroy huge numbers of enemies providing the most satisfaction.
It’s not perfect however, it’s mostly pretty standard isometric shooting, though it’s fun for a while. The other aspect to combat is Shelly’s special abilities which you gain across the campaign, I picked up: dash, punch, shield barrier and finally an energy sword, these are mostly useful defensively.
Certain items like the sword are obtained in the last chapter and for good reason. The sword never broke combat but it did trivialize it significantly, even with an un-upgraded sword I could cut down the most powerful enemies in seconds.
Bombshells chapters culminate in 3 boss encounters which only highlight the most boring parts of its combat. Every boss has 3 phases; each generally harder than the last, but every single fight comes down to the exact same thing. The encounter is beaten with ample use of your dash to dodge, all the while firing away in order to grind through 3 sets of health bars. Each phase of a boss attempts to introduce something new, but it’s never impactful enough to shake up combat. Even in the final boss fight with 3 vastly different phases it still boiled down to dodge and shoot.
Bombshells worst moments don’t even come from its combat
Bombshells worst moments don’t even come from its combat. The game is currently full of bugs and is generally rather janky.
All of the combat executions are animated terribly, with out of place audio, no impact and just generally look clunky. This meant I avoided using executions, despite the fact they gave bonus XP, just to avoid wasting time. The clunkiness doesn’t stop there though; much of the environment is poorly designed with areas without any ground just having Shelly float in place. This poor environmental design not only ruined any immersion but caused me to fall to my death on more than one occasion. These flaws continued to be prominent as I played; I became stuck in the environment on multiple occasions as well as experiencing significant enemy pop in.
Despite all these other bugs, Bombshells audio was the biggest problem. Most of the sound effects, such as guns and aliens sounded fine however the voice acting ranges from bad to downright terrible. The only actors that stood above the rest were that of Shelly and Heskel, with the recruits being the bottom of the barrel. One of my biggest gripes with the audio was the during radio sections. The voice volume of different characters would increase to maximum for no reason, which became a real problem as the game went on. However my biggest issue was I encountered a bug on the last level which dampened my experience significantly. Despite where I was, or even if every enemy was dead on the level I would have persistent enemy voice chatter broadcast to me. This audio would then begin to overlap and happen every couple of seconds, which meant it was practically the only thing I could hear. Even after a hard game reset and eventually a PC reboot, the problem still lasted throughout most of the final chapter.
Bombshell is not a good game but I also didn’t hate the time I spent with it. Still I struggle to find anything I truly enjoyed due to how iterative it is. It frequently borders the line of bad and mediocre. As someone who really enjoys isometric action games and spent a bunch of time with Helldivers last year, I was thoroughly disappointed by Bombshell. It doesn’t add anything new to the genre and even struggles to function as a video game at times.
A PC copy of Bombshell was provided by the publisher. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.