Base Game Review
Play Time (Box): 30-60mins
Play Time (Goof): 60mins
Producer: Czech Games Edition
Designer: Filip Neduk
Bullets flying, the crashing of grenades, the sizzle of plasma, the cries of victory or defeat.
It’s enough to get your heart pumping.
Adrenaline is one of those games I’ve tried really hard to come around on. And I’ll be honest, I’m not quite there yet. There’s a few more aspects I want to experience with it, and I’ve had to change my entire mindset after multiple games in order to see where the fun lies. But we’re getting there. I do feel all the effort I’ve had to go into in order to enjoy the game warrants further exploration.
There’s a lot Adrenaline gets right. The pace of the game is great. And starting with the ending here for a moment, the final round (frenzy) gives you additional actions and lets you really push yourself to get those final few game changing scores. It’s a really climactic way to end the game and I find myself looking forward to it even as the game begins.
I’ve played some pretty tactile games in the past, but Adrenaline blows them all away with a Vortex Cannon. The skulls which you put in place to show how many kills you’re worth (another point I love, the more you die the less value there is to keep killing you), are some of the most physically appealing game pieces I’ve ever played with. The damage markers feel so good to pick up there’s an added bonus to hitting an opponent. And the resource tokens are like Pandemic but better! (If you can believe it).
I feel like a bit of a moth when it comes to Adrenaline. All the vibrant colours and amazing artwork makes me WANT to love the game. But… I just don’t.
When we think about video game shooters, I tend to think of Halo, and Call of Duty. There are dozens of others out there I prefer more – Borderlands, Warframe, Bulletstorm, Gears of War… the list of shooters I prefer to those two is probably long enough to fill an article by just listing them. But the reason I like them is because they add something different other than just than just the shooting (looter-shooters, trickshots, crafting, heisting – looking at you Payday 2). But in a very classic sense of the genre, Halo and CoD are probably as clear cut as it gets these days.
Stopping to analyse the elements of Halo of Duty, your objective is to have your kill/death ratio higher than your opponents. Dying is a bad thing – always. And a skilled enough player will stay alive. But in Adrenaline you’re going to die. And you’re going to die a lot. There’s no accuracy check, there’s no “I’m going to take a gamble”. If your opponent decides to shoot at you then it hits. What I’ve found is my mindset was still in Call of Halo mode. Whenever I died I was disheartened because I couldn’t see a way to have prevented it. The reason being is there wasn’t one.
The strategy still largely eludes me in Adrenaline. I understand the objective is to get more damage on your opponents than they get on you. And to go for targets worth more points. Maybe you’d classify it as a bit of a resource management with the various guns… but the fact I’m questioning this after hours of repeat play feels like a glaring issue.
There is nothing I like more about Adrenaline than the fact I can be a robot smiley emoji gunning down enemies. It makes me laugh so much. In fact all the characters are pretty unique looking and exciting to look at. But they’re not overly exciting to play. There’s no character powers in Adrenaline. Not a variant for it or a module. An alien squid man has the same gameplay as a guy in power armour or a cyberpunk looking chick with an exosuit, or a reptilian alien… I just said the coolest bunch of character archetypes and I’m not even excited to play any of them because they might as well all be Teletubbies. I want to feel like one of these cool characters. I want the variety of playing a different character slightly changing my experience. But I don’t get it from Adrenaline.
At a few of the Meeple Meetup events we’ve run, it’s been requested for me to bring Adrenaline along. And it’s had a couple plays at our Boarding School events. So maybe it’s just not my type of game.
I just feel there’s something so fundamentally wrong with its gameplay. When I look at a game I’m looking for player choice. And the ways and how significantly those choices effect the game state. Adrenaline to me seems a lot like Fluxx. There’s no long-term strategy in mind. On your turn you just do the best you can with what you’re presented with and ultimately this has very little impact on the game until by happy accident, it doesn’t.
It’s a shame really, but Adrenaline just doesn’t get me pumped up.
If you enjoyed this then share the joy on social media so others can enjoy it too. And check out our other reviews. They’re always good for a laugh.
Please comment, lets get the conversations flowing!