Wasted has been kicking my teeth in.
June 21, 2016

My most recent review assignment is Wasted, a Fallout parody from Mr. Podunkian (published by Adult Swim) that combines first-person shooter and roguelite elements. That means lots of shooting, lots of perks and perma-death.

Here's the thing: experience and leveling doesn't exist. You power up your character by obtaining improved equipment and by drinking radioactive, alcoholic beverages called "booze." Each booze bottle you drink grants you a hangover (read: perk) that bestows advantages and sometimes disadvantages. The further into a dungeon (called a cooler) you get, the better the booze you find. The first stock of booze offered in the first cooler is all negative, with hangovers like -1 HP, -90% damage on non-headshots, enemies explode when dying (which can be helpful, but basically makes close combat extremely dangerous), etc.

When you die, you lose all of your hangovers and all of the equipment and money you had on you. However, anything stashed at your base remains. You can also recover unique and event items by going to a courier's desk and asking to see the lost and found, then paying an obscene amount of TP (as in toilet paper, the game's currency) to get it back. Needless to say, it's been a real trial.

It took me around ten hours just to get through the first dungeon, mostly because I suffered a lot of stupid deaths. For instance, I jumped over a pool of toxic waste that would have killed me, as I only had a few HP left. Sadly, I ended up landing on broken glass, which did just enough damage to kill me. A few times, I've opened doors that had tripod-mounted, motion-triggered gun traps right behind them, the unfortunate result of procedural generation. I didn't have time to react or space to move. The trap gunned me down and that was that.

I discovered, though, that you can game the system by pressing Escape and opting to return to the main menu. The game doesn't save while you're in the dungeon. It only does so before entering or when you're in the administration office located on each cooler's seventh level. Basically, you can cheat death by exiting the game, which is cheap but preferable to having to grind all those hours over again to boost your character.

After completing the first cooler, Cooler CA-1, I pushed through the second in eight hours, then completed 3 and 4 very quickly. Thankfully, the bosses have mostly been pushovers, and I was able to negotiate with the fourth boss rather than fight her. Right now, I'm standing in front of Cooler CA-5, which I believe is the either the final or penultimate cooler. Hopefully, it won't be too much of a hassle.

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