Warhammer 40K: Shootas, Blood & Teef – Flash, Fun & Frustrations

It’s easy to feel fatigued by the constant churn of Warhammer video games, and Warhammer 40,000 ones in particular. It truly feels like we get a new one every other month. Most deliver a take on the universe that’s very ‘face-value’, largely ignoring the satirical horror of the whole thing, (though to be fair that’s a sin Games Workshop themselves have been increasingly guilty of over the past decade or so.) Taking a completely different approach is Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef, an action platformer that gleefully embraces the inherent silliness of its source material and makes the entire intellectual property feel fresher for it.

You play an average Ork among millions invading an Imperial world for its oil, (though this minor plot point in the opening minutes is where the social commentary begins and ends). You’re not a leader, you’re not any kind of unique being, you’re just one of da boyz out lookin’ for a fight and to have a laugh while doing so. 

As the game kicks off, the horde’s Warboss expresses jealousy at your hairpiece, yanks it off your head, and kicks you out of an airplane. Your mission is to fight your way across a planet-wide warzone to kick his teef in and get your alien wig back. That’s it. It is by *far* the most dopey tale that anything Warhammer has told in years and it absolutely rules.

I just wish the game itself had been consistently as entertaining.

The campaign is a Metal Slug-ian romp where you’ll shoot, chop, burn, and explode your way through hundreds of enemies over the span of four-ish hours, and do your best to dodge countless bullets, knives, fires, and bombs in return. The whole bloody affair can be experienced solo or cooperatively with up to four players either offline or on. Each player can make some small customisation to their Ork from a lobby, with the ability to choose their class, clan, hat, and loadout.

Clans and hats being purely cosmetic is entirely fine and pretty much to be expected, but I was a little disappointed that each of the four classes don’t stand apart more significantly from one another. The only major mechanical difference between playing a Beast Snagga or a Flash Git is a different melee attack and a different kind of grenade. Going all-out to make these classes more akin to their tabletop equivalents would have been a headache to balance but it also would have added some fun diversity of play. The fact that every class has the same charged-meter attack, a short and rapid burst of shooting, feels like a real missed opportunity. 

Fortunately the wide selection of guns, (dakka!), on offer help keep things varied.

Each player gets to kit their Ork out with a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, rokkit launcha, and special weapon. These range from the classic Ork sluggas and shootaz to Mekboy-altered variants with added barrels and elemental effects, all the way to looted Imperial plasma, laser, and bolt weapons which can be unlocked at mid-mission checkpoints using ‘teef’ scavenged from chests throughout the maps. It’s a huge relief that they’re all such a joy to unleash, and that those checkpoints are super frequent, because many of the combat encounters and boss fights are designed in such a way that you’ll be more or less forced in single player to use vaguely specific loadouts in order to scrape through them. This does force players to make use of more or less the entire arsenal across the breadth of the adventure and adds something of a puzzle box element to kill rooms which is *kind of* cool on paper, but in practice it tends to make a lot of these encounters quite frustrating as you die over and over again due to an inability to work out the specific set of armaments that work for both your play style as well as the design of the fight itself.

This frustration is exacerbated on the Switch by load times which can be irritatingly long. They’re not *super* egregious, but 10 to 15 seconds for each reload does get a bit grating after the third or fourth time you’ve died mid-way through the same fight. 

Some encounters and even entire boss fights can be frustrating for the complete opposite reason too as the A.I. seems to have a *major* problem navigating stairs. All of the bosses are incredibly cool in their translation from the tabletop and each fights delightfully just as you’d expect a cartoon version of them would, but the magic really vanishes when they are completely unable to figure out how to get to you while you stand *just* out of reach above their heads mercilessly unloading on them until they die.

The game is gorgeous. The cartoon art is crisp and vibrant, and animations are exaggerated enough that you can always tell when enemies are beginning an attack even when there’s a glut of them on screen. There’s an endless amount of truly delightful in-universe jokes plastered across each level, and most of the levels manage to not overstay their welcome.

I say most, because unfortunately the lengthy sewers sequence that lands smack-bang in the middle of the campaign chugs *SO* badly on the Switch that it actually crashed the game out to desktop for me on four occasions. Some of the enemies and platforming layouts unique to that environment are the absolute most grating to push through in the entire game also. Everything after the sewers is an absolute hoot, but by Gork, I nearly put the game down entirely at a couple of points during my slog through it.

At its best moments, Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef hits delightfully like a lost Xbox Live Arcade classic. It’s just such a shame that messy A.I., wobbly balancing, and some frustrating technical issues drag it down so much.

The game is beautiful, hilarious, and often fun as heck, but right now the Switch version just feels a bit too in need of a patch or two.

Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code kindly provided by Rogueside.

Have you seen our Merch Store?

Check out our Most Recent Video

Find us on Metacritic

Check out our Most Recent Posts