NO RELOADING: Survival Trials Preview – Weaponized Nostalgia (Early Access)

NO RELOADING: Survival Trials Preview – Weaponized Nostalgia (Early Access)

Platforms: Windows PC, Steam

Game Name: NO RELOADING: Survival Trials

Publisher: ZoopTEK

Developer: ZoopTEK

Genre: Action

Release Date: January 30th, 2024

NO RELOADING: Survival Trials by ZoopTEK

To say that the current wave of indie first-person shooters has an obsession with the ’80s and ’90s is like saying I have a passing interest in independently-developed video games.

We’ve seen no shortage of retro love thanks to the boomer shooter revival, but NO RELOADING: Survival Trials isn’t quite the same beast.

A first-person shooter and Rogue-lite hybrid with a love for all things retro, the question is, at this early stage of its development, can it stand out from its peers in either genre?

Virtual Emotions

As Roger, a man who uses virtual reality to beta test the games made by his Shiba Inu named Duke (seriously), your goal is to fight your way through the neon-drenched mazes Duke has set up for you. Doing so involves shooting lots of enemies of all shapes and sizes, exploring virtual worlds inspired by classic video games, and interacting with the game’s hilarious physics. When you die, you go back to the beginning in true Rogue-like fashion.

NO RELOADING doesn’t break any molds with its gameplay, but what it pulls off it does with gusto and style. The shooting and exploration feel competent, if a bit fiddly, and the constant stream of new weapons and tools is guaranteed to make each run feel unique.

The true cornerstone of NO RELOADING’s gameplay though is its movement. From sliding to wall-running to classic Max Payne-inspired bullet dives, the game puts an emphasis on slick, continuous momentum that makes each room feel like a roller-coaster. Movement is a particularly underrated aspect of shooter games in general, and it’s nice to see an indie effort that understands this better than most.

Going Digital

In terms of flaws, the main one to be found with NO RELOADING is a general lack of clarity. Things like the trick system associated with the movement – or even what a lot of the upgrades do – are often vague or outright missing, leading to some trial and error that occasionally gets frustrating.

I also find the game’s default setting of being in first-person mode strange, as the emphasis on momentum and tricks really benefits from a third-person view.

The game’s aesthetic is also likely going to be hit or miss for many people. Video game nostalgia has become so omnipresent in the year 2024 that some are undoubtedly tired of it, and NO RELOADING takes a distinctly “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to ’80s and ’90s nostalgia. I personally found it charming, but I wouldn’t be shocked if someone glanced at a screenshot and decided they’d already seen enough.

The Verdict

All things considered, NO RELOADING has the potential to be a real gem with some extra polish and tweaking. I’ll be very curious to see how its 1.0 release turns out and encourage you to give it a look if frenetic, retro action is your cup of tea.

NO RELOADING: Survival Trials is available via Steam Early Access.

Watch the trailer for NO RELOADING: Survival Trials below: