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When I heard about a new indie twin-stick shooter called BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre I was intrigued because it was getting a full console release with a name like that and I enjoy the genre as a whole. Games like Smash TV (looking back, this game is socially dated with its bikini clad girls) were a blast to play and since then I try to play every twin-stick shooter I can. What I got can only be described as a socially stunted hodgepodge of pop culture references wrapped around a poorly made game. 

After a short badly animated intro informing us that in this world, a gate to Hell was discovered and humans took an occupying force down to take control. Since then Hell has been taken over by a huge corporation dubbed “Big Wac” and its clown overlord. BDSM puts players in the role of Lou, the son of Satan. Lou is trying to drink himself silly at the local milk bar (not sure if this is a nod to the movie Alien Nation.) Lou is an obvious rip off of Hellboy and is just one of many components of BDSM that are stolen and unimaginative. 

BDSM warning

Throughout BDSM’s four stages, Lou will traverse the Big Wac meat factory where demons are ground up for food and the demon brothel. Levels are repetitive with the same assets being overused again and again. Gameplay consists of the standard twin-stick shooter tropes with minor RPG elements like upgrading specific weapon damage or abilities. As you progress new weapons will unlock with limited ammo. 

While gameplay can be enjoyable it gets repetitive fast. One particular complaint is that currency will disappear very quickly if you do not run around and gather it. Lou has a special attack where he blasts a full beam of hellfire for a short while and this meter fills as you kill enemies and also from drinking more milk found in vending machines and throughout levels. Bosses have generally basic attack patterns and gimmicks that were easy to figure out. 

BDSM nerdboss

Gameplay weaknesses aside, BDSM also suffers from unimpressive graphics that remind me more of a game from the last generation of consoles. Even Lou’s running animations are so pathetic my teenager asked what was wrong with him when he walked by while I was playing. Music in the game sounds like someone only paid a metal guitarist to sit in a studio for 20 minutes and called it a day. Voice work is even worse. Half of the time I couldn’t understand the accents or they were so low in volume I couldn’t hear it. 

BDSM checkpoint

Now with my general game opinions out of the way I want to discuss the satirical elements of BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre. I have been playing video games for all of my life. In that time I have played some controversial and many offensive titles. Leisure Suit Larry was my first introduction to raunchy adult games and throughout the 1990s there were many more that my friends and I played, laughing at the sexual innuendos or over the top violence. Games like Mortal Kombat were violent yes, but then some like the Duke Nukem series were pushing the comical side of offensive. 

Duke would make derogatory comments about women and looking back now my 40 year old self groans. People tend to use the excuse of “it was a different time then” when talking about how accepted casual misogyny, racism, and homophobia were in the past. To me, this is just another way for hateful people to justify their, or their past generation’s, ignorance. “Grandpa wasn’t a bad man, he just liked the companionship of the Klan.” 

BDSM TMNT

Even with Duke Nukem Forever just eight years ago I remember feeling dirty for playing it and generally not finding any of it humorous. Many critics agreed and sales definitely showed that the general public were no longer going to be amused by Duke’s antics.

These days we still see a slew of mature indie titles from around the world. One person with enough time and programming skills can create a game as offensive as they want but these are generally relegated to PC exclusives, as most major distributors like the PlayStation Store and even Steam at times will deem the game too sexual or generally offensive for them to support. 

BDSM not Hitler

BDSM as I said uses a ton of pop culture references and tries to poke fun at them but in many cases it just falls flat. I did a little research and discovered the developer, Big Way Games, is a conglomerate of programmers mainly from Russia and eastern European countries.

I now suspect much of the humor is lost on me due to this cultural difference. I also want to be clear that I do not think the developers of BDSM are being intentionally racist, homophobic, or misogynistic. In fact I think they are genuinely TRYING to poke fun at how video games depicted these things in the past.

Unfortunately for most American audiences and more mature gamers like myself it only comes off as either juvenile or mean. Like when someone says “No offense” before they proceed to offend you. The biggest and most blatant combination of racism and homophobia I have seen in recent years has to be the interpretation of the boss Black Overlord. It is painfully unfunny and just wrong in my opinion. 

BDSM Black Overlord

Even if BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre wasn’t a horrible attempt at satire with no original ideas, it would not stand on its gameplay. I have played more enjoyable and longer twin stick games on my phone and they didn’t charge $29.99 USD. I was able to complete the entire game in under two hours and with no multiplayer or new game+ feature where I can keep my upgrades, I see no replay value.

I think Big Way Games needs to really think about how other cultures will perceive their humor when making games. What they think is satire, even if unintentionally, can be seen as beyond poor taste and malicious. I am honestly still shocked that Nintendo allowed this on their platform. 

BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre is available now for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for that purpose.

BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre

3

Graphics

4.0/10

Audio/Music

2.0/10

Gameplay

4.0/10

Entertainment Value

2.0/10

Cons

  • Satire that is childish and unfunny
  • No original ideas
  • Overpriced
  • No multiplayer or new game+
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