Putrefaction is an FPS in where a new disease suddenly pops up that turns people into zombie-like creatures. We play as a member of an elite force sent to investigate an underground base where the disease is believed to have originated. You never actually see any other of the members of that task force nor will you discover anything beyond the bit of text right before starting up the game. This title takes great influence from older games of the genre such as Serious Sam, Doom 3 and a tad bit of Quake, where story usually matters about as much as what you had for breakfast last week.
You start the game with a simple fire axe though will soon get your hands on an assault rifle. One of the first things you’ll notice as you look around is that your cursor moves independently from your weapons which is pretty bizarre though you’ll quickly adapt to it. Movement is much faster than modern FPS games but could stand to be faster for this type of gameplay. At first, you may be forgiven for thinking this was a horror title but you’ll soon find at that it is an arena shooter with atmospheric environments.
Enemies will never be placed in an intentional location, instead they teleport in as soon as you enter an area and swarm you from all directions. You can confidently navigate the levels without fear of an enemy getting the jump on you which instantly kills any sense of tension you might have had. The environments themselves are typically rather constrained and on a few occasions feel like they weren’t designed with this type of gameplay in mind. It is linear but does occasionally feature some areas to explore for ammo or medkits.
Most of your time in Putrefaction will be spent fighting with your wide assortment of weapons. There is no limit to the amount that you can carry so you will always have the right tool for the job and none of the weapons require reloading to slow you down when mowing down hordes of foes. At first, you will just be facing your typical zombie-like enemy but the variety of creatures will soon ramp up, all with their own fighting patterns. Knowing your enemy is key here and it will have you switching weapons on the fly to instead of sticking to any one gun all throughout.
Most weapons also have an alternate fire such as the Shotgun having a rocket launcher or the Freeze Ray sending a pulse all around you to stop any enemies near you in their tracks. That combined with the fact that you can dodge all enemy attacks be they projectiles or melee make for a really good time. The icing on the cake here is how great gibbing enemies feel. They blow apart in a very satisfying manner that never gets old. It is also one of the few games that gets the Shotgun to feel as epic as it was in Doom. Its range is solid and will quickly cut down most of what gets in your way.
This game features a few bosses throughout your journey and it is actually fun to fight them. They are always found in large arenas where you are finally given enough room to move around accordingly. You are always stocked up on a ton of ammo so it’s not necessary to conserve your firepower for these events. As you continue your way down the secret base you will eventually enter caverns and a few other themes to change up the pace. It will take you a very short time to complete this game regardless, it clocks in at under 2 hours to finish.
There is a Survival mode where you can fight in an arena facing waves of enemies until you drop. Weapons, ammo and medkits spawn in randomly after a wave. Interestingly enough, there are a few orbs that power you up like one that causes a bullet time effect which I avoid like the plague due to how long it takes to wear down. For some reason, there is a glitch in this mode where pausing the game doesn’t actually pause it. Enemies will continue to move around and will happily rip your face off while you are defenselessly staring at the pause menu.
All in all, Putrefaction is a flawed game in more ways than one. The level design does not complement the gameplay and frequently hinder you. Due to the constrained nature of them, enemies will sometimes spawn directly in your face, leading to you getting sucker punched or even killed. Despite that, the good outweighs the bad. The combat still manages to be good fun since enemy variety is great and your arsenal a blast to use as you gib them into oblivion in order to keep from being surrounded. For the 5-dollar price tag of Putrefaction, I’d definitely say it’s worth the few hours of enjoyment it offers if you are in the mood for an overall enjoyable arena shooter.