The 15 Best Boomer Shooters

Warhammer 40K: Boltgun gameplay

The 15 Best Boomer Shooters

A quick look through the Steam storefront shows that one of the most popular subgenres of FPS titles is the “Boomer Shooter”. Named for the “Boomstick”-style shotgun from genre classics like Doom and Quake, Boomer Shooters are unabashedly devoted to the “spray and pray” style of FPS gameplay from the early days of the genre and typically forego many mechanics and elements of modern FPS titles (cover fire, regenerating health, reloading weapons, limited weapon slots, etc.). Instead, Boomer Shooters embrace the over-the-top gore and absurdity of what many consider the golden era of the FPS genre, trading in gritty realism for an emphasis on fun and frantic action. The best Boomer Shooters even stand toe-to-toe with the classics they so clearly admire and emulate.

To qualify as a Boomer Shooter, there are certain elements that an FPS title must have. First and foremost, games in the Boomer Shooter subgenre can fall into one of two camps — they’re either retro-inspired titles with modern quality-of-life improvements (so, in other words, modern shooters with a retro aesthetic) or they are honest-to-goodness Doom or Quake-style games made by modern studios that forego any semblance of modernity. Regardless of which of these two camps a title falls into, Boomer Shooters should be fast and feature the classic “monster closets” of id Software games, enemy deaths resulting in a shower of gore, a sense of self-aware humor, and simple “key hunting” puzzles to progress to the next stage.

15. Forgive Me Father

Forgive Me Father gameplay

©Forgive Me Father gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — April 7, 2022
  • Platforms — PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
  • Review Aggregate Score — 71% (Mixed or Average)
  • Steam User Score — 85% (Very Positive)

One of the more surprising entries in the Boomer Shooter subgenre is Forgive Me Father, an H.P. Lovecraft-inspired FPS with an incredible comic book art style. In Forgive Me Father, players take on the role of one of two protagonists, each of whom has their own unique skill trees and abilities in combat. Where the Reporter is better suited to crowd-controlling large groups of enemies and has an emphasis on speed, the Priest deals more damage and is better at taking out more imposing foes. Somehow, Forgive Me Father manages to make playthroughs with each character practically a necessity thanks to how excellent its shooting mechanics feel across its tightly-paced and unnerving campaign. Things start off simple enough with mutated, zombie-like humanoids only for players to face true otherworldly horrors near the game’s conclusion.

14. Project Warlock

Project Warlock gameplay

©Project Warlock gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — December 6, 2018
  • Platforms — PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
  • Review Aggregate Score — 74% (Mixed or Average)
  • Steam User Score — 88% (Very Positive)

One of the more interesting things about Project Warlock is that it’s almost a direct mix between Doom and Hexen, blending the firearm combat of id Software’s classic with the magic, spellcasting, and melee weapons of Raven Software’s Heretic and Hexen. Additionally, Project Warlock has more than its fair share of modern touches that help make it a nice “middle ground” approach to the Boomer Shooter genre, with features such as an on-screen mini-map, a hub area where the player can upgrade weapons, spells, and stats, as well as the ability to replay any stage at any time. Aside from these modern flourishes, though, Project Warlock‘s gameplay is decidedly old-school, as players will find plenty of enemy mobs and color-coded key puzzles waiting for them within the title’s labyrinthine stages.

13. Incision

Incision gameplay

©Incision gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — September 16, 2022
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — N/A
  • Steam User Score — 90% (Very Positive)

One of the more Quake-like games on this list, Incision is a hyper-violent and dark Boomer Shooter with some truly inventive (and frightening) monster designs and some excellent weaponry. As a newer title that’s more relatively unknown, Incision is also one of the hidden gems of the genre, and it’s surprising that it frequently gets left out of the conversation surrounding the best Boomer Shooters despite its rock-solid gameplay and presentation. That said, Incision is still in its early access period with its projected 1.0 launch nowhere in sight, having lapsed its original 6-12 month early access window by over a year at this point. Incision may be on the harder side of things as far as Boomer Shooters go, but its understanding of what makes the best games in the genre tick results in it having some airtight level design, satisfying gunplay, and a unique premise and atmosphere.

12. Beyond Sunset

Beyond Sunset gameplay

©Beyond Sunset gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — November 8, 2023
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — N/A
  • Steam User Score — 83% (Very Positive)

Unlike Incision, Beyond Sunset also entered early access in 2022 to then officially hit 1.0 in November 2023. One of the closest comparisons to make in Beyond Sunset‘s favor is that it’s heavily reminiscent of other greats in the Boomer Shooter subgenre (particularly Ion Fury) while also injecting its own sense of style. Beyond Sunset is pure, neon-soaked cyberpunk flair with a competent and engaging Boomer Shooter hiding underneath, and its combat, traversal, and puzzle-solving are arguably some of the best in the subgenre. The title mixes both satisfying and punchy gunplay with some excellent melee combat and a true sense of speed, blurring the lines between being a pure Boomer Shooter and a Movement Shooter akin to Deadlink or Strafe. Though it may have more of an exploration and adventure angle than other Boomer Shooters, Beyond Sunset is no less worth the time for genre enthusiasts.

11. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin gameplay

©Wrath: Aeon of Ruin gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — February 27, 2024
  • Platforms — PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch
  • Review Aggregate Score — 71% (Mixed or Average)
  • Steam User Score — 78% (Mostly Positive)

It’s difficult to not draw comparisons between Wrath: Aeon of Ruin and Quake considering that the former is built using the iconic Quake-1 engine from id Software. As another excellent Boomer Shooter title from 3D Realms (the very same 3D Realms behind FPS classics like Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior), Wrath: Aeon of Ruin straddles the line between the “Doom clone” era of FPS titles and the newer, darker run of FPS games that arrived in the wake of Quake‘s success.

One of Wrath‘s defining qualities is its intensity, which practically assaults the player with wave after wave of enemy mobs and frantic action setpieces without ever giving them a chance to slow down and catch their breath. Though some might see that as a downside to the game, Wrath‘s commitment to non-stop Boomer Shooter insanity is arguably what makes it one of the more authentic titles in the subgenre.

10. Sprawl

Sprawl gameplay

©Sprawl gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — August 23, 2023
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — 76% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 87% (Very Positive)

If someone were to take the fluid movement and speed of a modern shooter like Respawn’s Titanfall and blend it with the fast-paced gunplay and frantic enemy waves of Quake, Sprawl is undoubtedly the unique genre hybrid that would result from that coupling. At its core, Sprawl is all about its signature mechanic, which allows the player to run along walls and spring off into the air mid-shot, all while incorporating some satisfying bullet-time slowdown for stylish enemy takedowns.

In fact, Sprawl‘s style is absolutely one of its best qualities, as the gritty cyberpunk aesthetic and excellent drum and bass soundtrack only serve to heighten the game’s tension and push the player into a constant state of mobility. And if its Quake influences don’t seem readily apparent in the face of its obvious borrowing from Titanfall, just know that Sprawl has its own “Shotgun Jump” that mimics the legendary “Rocket Jump” from Quake.

9. Ion Fury

Ion Fury gameplay

©Ion Fury gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — August 15, 2019
  • Platforms — PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
  • Review Aggregate Score — 79% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 93% (Very Positive)

Another of 3D Realms’ modern titles and an earlier standout in the burgeoning Boomer Shooter subgenre, Ion Fury is about as close as players will ever get to a genuine sequel to Duke Nukem 3D. To hammer that point home even more, Ion Fury is built in the very same Build Engine that both Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior were developed in, giving it a decidedly mid-1990s look that immediately calls to mind other 3D Realms titles from that era. But Ion Fury goes a step beyond faithful imitation to deliver its own unique footprint on the FPS genre, delivering some incredibly satisfying gunplay along with occasional stealth sections and climactic boss fights. In terms of Boomer Shooters with excellent level design and impeccable atmospheres, few titles in the subgenre reach the highs of Ion Fury.

8. Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun

Warhammer 40K Boltgun gameplay

©Warhammer 40K: Boltgun gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — May 23, 2023
  • Platforms — PC, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S
  • Review Aggregate Score — 75% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 91% (Very Positive)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Warhammer 40K: Boltgun is that it took as long as it did to get the Warhammer franchise its own Boomer Shooter. Thankfully, Boltgun delivers on just about every possible front, entering the conversation as a newer Boomer Shooter that outdoes several of its genre contemporaries by sticking closely to its source material and adhering to a definitively “classic” approach to its gameplay and difficulty. Make no mistake, Warhammer 40K: Boltgun is a tough game that pulls no punches and expects a lot from the player, but learning the intricacies of its combat and reacquainting oneself with the feel and pacing of an old-school shooter yields amazing rewards. One of the best aspects of Boltgun is the Templar’s Chain Sword, which turns encounters into a frantic dance of switching between firearm and melee attacks to deal maximum damage and generate plenty of pickups.

7. Ultrakill

Ultrakill key art

©Ultrakill key art - Original

  • Release Date — September 3, 2020
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — N/A
  • Steam User Score — 98% (Overwhelmingly Positive)

When a game has a setup as absolutely bonkers as Ultrakill, you know that you’re in for a treat. Taking on the role of a robot in a dystopic future where humanity is extinct, it’s up to you to kill as many enemies as possible in order to simply keep existing. See, in Ultrakill, the player protagonist needs to kill enemies in a spectacularly gory fashion to use their blood as fuel, regaining health and earning a few more precious seconds to fight off the overwhelming hordes of foes. As you might imagine, Ultrakill ends up being one of the most ridiculously over-the-top Boomer Shooters yet thanks to its inspired premise, and the gameplay thankfully backs up its unique mechanics. Like Sprawl, Ultrakill is one of the best Boomer Shooters to blend the genre’s tenets with the speed and momentum of Movement Shooters.


HROT gameplay

©HROT gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — May 16, 2023
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — 86% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 97% (Overwhelmingly Positive)

Last year’s HROT is one of the best games in the Boomer Shooter genre specifically for how it understands the fundamentals of the classics and doesn’t fix what isn’t broken. Taking place in Czechoslovakia in the mid-1980s, HROT can best be described as the only “Eastern Bloc Boomer Shooter”, utilizing the oppressive atmosphere of Cold War-era Eastern Europe as a backdrop for a game that pays a very clear tribute to Quake. Like the original Quake, HROT is a game that isn’t afraid to be brown, with its brutalist urban architecture and drab color palette perfectly reflecting the realities of Soviet life before the destruction of the Berlin Wall. That said, don’t expect HROT to be focused on providing an accurate history lesson, as there are plenty of strange, mutated threats to contend with across its excellently designed levels.

5. Turbo Overkill

Turbo Overkill gameplay

©Turbo Overkill gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — August 11, 2023
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — 87% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 95% (Overwhelmingly Positive)

Another early access success story, Turbo Overkill takes the fundamentals of the Boomer Shooter genre and ups the production value to deliver one of the best games in the genre, full stop. Critically, Turbo Overkill‘s signature “sliding chainsaw leg” mechanic places it in the same wheelhouse as Boomer Shooter greats like Ultrakill and Sprawl, making movement and traversal through the game’s excellent and sprawling levels just as fun and fluid as its shooting mechanics. With a wide variety of weapons and plenty of unique enemy types and bosses across its fairly large campaign, Turbo Overkill is also one of the longer games in the Boomer Shooter subgenre and gives the player plenty of bang for their buck (pun intended).

4. Prodeus

Prodeus gameplay

©Prodeus gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — September 23, 2022
  • Platforms — PC, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S
  • Review Aggregate Score — 84% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 93% (Very Positive)

While most games in the Boomer Shooter subgenre tend to skew toward emulating Quake (especially given the early success of titles like Dusk and its love letter to id Software’s gothic-horror masterpiece), Prodeus is about as close as players have gotten to a modern rendition of the classic Doom gameplay. Additionally, Prodeus introduces a unique twist on the genre through the incorporation of an overworld map that imparts a sense of progress through the game’s sizeable campaign. In terms of where Prodeus falls in the two main camps of Boomer Shooters, it definitely skews more toward being a modern-style shooter with a retro aesthetic, but the gunplay and visuals are so polished that it somehow manages to feel like an overlooked FPS gem from the 90s.

3. Dusk

Dusk gameplay

©Dusk gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — December 10, 2018
  • Platforms — PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch
  • Review Aggregate Score — 88% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 97% (Overwhelmingly Positive)

As one of the oldest Boomer Shooters on the list (and the game partially responsible for birthing the name of the subgenre), Dusk is now something of a classic in its own right and stands right alongside the games that inspired it as one of the best first-person shooters of all time. Like Quake, constant movement and precision are key in Dusk to not end up facing the same fate as the game’s enemies, and until players master the game’s movement mechanics and understand how to maintain momentum, it’s all too likely that the enemy mobs will easily overwhelm players. That said, once Dusk clicks, it immediately transforms into one of the most visceral and satisfying FPS titles available, and it’s an incredibly important game whose success would kick off the new wave of Boomer Shooters.

2. Cultic

Cultic gameplay

©Cultic gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — October 13, 2022
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — 79% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 98% (Overwhelmingly Positive)

Ultimately, what makes Cultic so special among the modern crop of Boomer Shooters is how it surpasses the game it so clearly tries to emulate. Most games in the Boomer Shooter subgenre tend to either adhere to the template of id Software’s Doom or Quake. Conversely, Cultic borrows most heavily from one of the unsung heroes of 90s FPS titles — Blood. Just like that cult-classic title, Cultic introduces unique weapons like throwable sticks of dynamite (which can also be shot mid-air for maximum effectiveness), strange ghost-like enemies that are invulnerable to all but a few weapon types, and a captivating visual aesthetic that pulls the player in and refuses to let go.

As of right now, Cultic is just one episode that players can beat in roughly 3 to 5 hours of playtime, but that initial showing is so good that the promise of more immediately catapults it to the top of the subgenre’s greatest games.

1. Amid Evil

Amid Evil gameplay

©Amid Evil gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date — June 20, 2019
  • Platforms — PC
  • Review Aggregate Score — 85% (Generally Favorable)
  • Steam User Score — 94% (Very Positive)

Interestingly, what is arguably the greatest game in the Boomer Shooter subgenre is yet another “clone of a clone” similar to Cultic. Rather than take inspiration from Doom, Amid Evil acts as a spiritual successor to one of the earliest “Doom clones” built using the id-Tech engine, Heretic. The Heretic series (and its sequel/spin-off Hexen) is one of the most beloved groups of 90s FPS titles thanks to its blending of high-fantasy RPG atmosphere and gameplay with the first-person shooting and level design of Doom, and Amid Evil nails the aesthetic so perfectly that it genuinely feels like it could have been made during the same era despite arriving 25 years later. What sets Amid Evil apart from other Boomer Shooters and helps it reach the same greatness as its inspirations is its core understanding of the fundamentals.

Though the shooting and exploration in Amid Evil are fairly rote for the FPS genre and not all that different from Heretic or Hexen, the game’s excellent visuals, supremely satisfying combat, and top-tier level design all combine to give the game a sheen of quality that escapes many Boomer Shooters. Additionally, Amid Evil‘s difficulty is near-perfectly balanced, with a gradual ramp of intensity that feels natural and never threatens to overwhelm the player despite keeping them on their toes. Amid Evil is fast-paced, frenetic, and most importantly, fun, and it sets a high bar for other modern retro shooters to clear.

To top