Impaler – Review
Follow Genre: Arena FPS, Arcade
Developer: Apptivus
Publisher: Apptivus, Retrovibe
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Impaler – Review

Site Score
Good: Offers a fun little challenge for a small price
Bad: Despite upgrades and unlockables, replayability is not great
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Back in the day, FPS games were the top genre on PC. Fast-paced and hard-hitting games such as Heretic, Quake, and DOOM took over the world with violence and unique styles. While for some time other genres rose toward the top, as RTS games and others became more popular, these days there’s a massive influx of (retro) FPS games. These consist of totally new creations but also remakes and sequels for old classics. Think of Cultic or Nightmare Reaper as homages to the past, or the popular, new DOOM series where DOOM Eternal is the latest. Impaler fits in with these nostalgic titles, though it’s a lot shorter and simpler than one might expect.


The reason why Impaler is short and simple is that it’s not a classic shooter with multiple levels. Instead, it’s more of what people would call an “arena FPS”. This means you find yourself in the same room at all times, and instead of levels, you have waves of enemies spawning that you need to get through. There is no introduction or any story present in the traditional sense, though it seems that Impaler lends its name from Vlad the Impaler, as Dracula is based on a historical character who would impale his enemies on stakes. The biggest reason to think so is that you actually gain health by impaling your enemies, kind of like how a vampire would. Other than theory and your own imagination though, the game is really straightforward and you just play through the levels until you beat the boss.


Impaler uses high-quality sprites for enemies and weapons in an old-school 3D church-like environment. It’s comparable to other games from its genre and Impaler even has a crossover with Project Warlock, which is another old-school FPS, where Impaler borrowed the enemy Succubus model to use in the game. While generally, the graphics work well for the game, we also found that the weapon you always carry on you feels a bit off. We’re talking about the stakes you use to impale your foes. This is mainly because placing 2D sprites in a 3D environment to kill 2D enemies can be tricky and you need to sort of guess the location instead of knowing precisely where you are placing it compared to where the enemies are. This is our main point of critique when it comes to the graphics as it actually also influences the gameplay. Other than that though, the game is graphically alright.


Everything about the sound design is good. Every gunshot sounds nice, the enemies sound unique, and the splashes and thuds of all the different impacts sound satisfying. When you got all that right in a game, you could pretty much match any music you’d like, though Impaler went for synth progressive metal, which is an interesting choice. With a long game divided into traditional levels and such, it might be annoying to have the equivalent of modern jazz as metal in your ears all the time, but because the game is based on short rounds that grow more intense, it actually works well.


As stated earlier, Impaler is an arena FPS, meaning you stay in the same room as the game progresses. Because it also focuses on replayability and unlockables, we would also say the game feels a lot like an arcade experience. You get impaling stakes that you can place on the ground, as well as a single weapon you choose at the start of the run. These weapons have to be unlocked by playing the game. You can buy upgrades during the run that alter your skills and stats a bit. Both your stakes and your weapon of choice can overheat if you shoot them too fast. To purchase the aforementioned skills you need to collect money. Every 50 coins will allow you a buy, meaning that at the start you will need to play about two rounds for a single skill upgrade, and later you can get one or two skills after every round. You only get a choice between two upgrades, so luck plays a tiny part throughout the game.

The fact that the game is not too hard to finish is its biggest downside as well. You unlock weapons by getting multiple kills or enough coins, much the same as an achievement would work. However, there are only six weapons to collect, and once you have a strong one the rest isn’t too interesting. Finding all the unlockable skill upgrades also doesn’t seem too interesting, as there is no bigger goal other than finishing the game. The only true reason to replay the game is either because you just loved it, or because you want to beat your friends’ high scores, which we find unlikely as the game is not that competitive. That being said, there is still a lot to be liked about this game, and the action feels very satisfying. For the low price of 2,99 Euros/Dollars, you will probably enjoy yourself for an hour or two at least.


Impaler is a fun little game, and we enjoyed the sound design and the overall gameplay loop. That being said, the replayability the game seems to promote with its unlockables falls short, and finishing the game once at this point is enough to have seen most of the game as every new run will essentially be the same, despite some roguelike features. We expected a bit more content, but you can’t really go wrong with this one if you like short action-packed FPS games.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Impaler - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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