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Prodeus – Early Access Preview

Having enjoyed a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2019, Prodeus, developed by Bounding Box Software, has arrived in Early Access on Steam and GOG.


It’s the newest addition to the burgeoning “Retro FPS” genre, following the likes of Dusk, Amid Evil, Ion Fury and others that eschew 21st century sensibilities like regenerating health or two weapon restrictions in favour of a decidedly more old-school experience in line with such classics of old as Doom and Quake.

Time to kill God

The unnamed protagonist – let’s call him Prody – is thrust into a multidimensional battleground infested with demonic beings. Prody’s mission is to seek and destroy PRODEUS, the supreme being and creator of these realms… or something like that? There’s only a few sentences of lore to work with, but to sum up: everything’s gone wrong and it’s time to kill God.


Prodeus wastes little time ticking the boxes you’d expect from a retro shooter. Levels are large, sprawling environments packed with tightly paced encounters, colour-coded key cards and easily missed secrets. There’s the usual collection of shotguns, machine guns, explosive launchers and energy-based weaponry at your disposal with various alternate firing functions. The enemy roster is a comfortably familiar assortment of zombified cannon fodder, long-range fireball hurlers, charging brutes, and obligatory small crawling/flying nuisances that love to explode in Prody’s face.

But Bounding Box aren’t afraid to add a few modern twists here and there. Instead of traditionally bottomless magazines, most guns require actual reloading and some have disconcertingly small clip sizes, so be sure to time those reloads carefully. Quicksaving has been chucked out the window too, in favour of manually triggered checkpoints dotted throughout each area. Don’t worry, it’s quite generous and you can even reactivate older checkpoints, but it may come as a shock to all you F5-mashers out there.

Also new is a progression system tied to Runes. You’ll find one in most levels, and a certain number of them are required to access later stages (like Banjo-Kazooie if Banjo was packing the quadruple-barrelled shotgun from Phantasm II). Prody isn’t the only interested party, as collecting one may summon the “Rune Extractors” – enhanced enemies that teleport in and hit harder and faster than their vanilla counterparts.

Pixels and pistols

One department where Prodeus remains resolutely retro is its visuals. Although enemies were designed as fully 3D models, they are presented by default as mid 90s-style sprites complete with charmingly jerky animations. But if you want, there is an option to swap out the pixels for the original models in all their chunky, early 2000s glory. Sprites appear to be the intended style, but either way you’re getting a retro experience and it’s still interesting to see the differences when switching back and forth.


No matter how they look, they’re going to be full of blood and you’re going to see a lot of it. It’s not enough to have a little blood squirt out when you shoot something, oh no, it’s gonna pour out and cover the floor, walls and drip off the ceiling. Even the basic pistol can completely remove a zombie’s top half. It’s all further intensified by a pounding soundtrack from Andrew Hulshult, a familiar name in FPS circles who was last heard providing themes for the Doom Eternal DLC.

The only downside to such absolute carnage is how overwhelming it gets during hairier combat situations. Gunplay in Prodeus is already fast and hectic, but when you combine the pixel aesthetic with the eruptions of gore, the billowing explosions and the sparkling particle effects, it can become difficult to discern threat from viscera. Is that an incoming projectile or somebody’s pancreas? By the time you find out, it may be too late.

Once you’ve satiated Prody’s bloodlust and are finished with the dozen-or-so available campaign levels, Prodeus has another surprise in store: user-created maps. If you’d like to see the game’s sci-fi assets in radically different settings, such as neon-lit city streets, or maybe faithful recreations of levels found in other FPS games, this is the place to be. Even at this early stage, there’s a remarkable amount of creativity on display and you can experiment with the mapmaker yourself. I tried, but it hurt my brain.

Prodeus – Conclusion

In its current form, Prodeus should take around four hours to blast through. The Early Access period is estimated to last up to a year (the official final release date is “When it’s ready”), and a content update roadmap has not yet been revealed. But as far as making a first impression goes, Bounding Box are pushing all the buttons required for Prodeus to become an essential example of ultraviolent FPS action.


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