PAX WEST 2018: Cyanide & Happiness Bring The End of The World

Cyanide & Happiness

Cyanide & Happiness is like ice cream. It’s always good, especially when you are craving it. Since 2005, the wild minds at Explosm.net have been leaping onto the internet to show the world their side of twisted humor with Cyanide & Happiness, at first a webcomic and animated series and games. Bouncing around social media for the last decade, it took off as the popularity of YouTube grew and access to better animation programs increased.

Today, Cyanide & Happiness is an entertainment powerhouse, with merchandise, books, webcomics, a dedicated series, and the wildly popular weekly animated shorts. Recently, it dabbled into the tabletop space with their card game, Joking Hazard, a unique take on card games like Cards Against Humanity. Now, thanks to Polish-based publisher tinyBuild, Explosm.net is moving into the realm of video games with the release of Cyanide & Happiness: Rapture Rejects, an isometric shooting and action game set against the end of days: The Rapture. Originally announced at the PC Gamer show during E3, an Alpha build of the game was available at PAX WEST 2018, and I had the special opportunity to check it out for myself.

In Cyanide & Happiness: Rapture Rejects, the end of the world has come. Those who are pure of heart have ascended into heaven and for everyone else, they have been left on Earth to burn and suffer. Despite facing eternal torment, those that have been left behind now face a world devoid of rules, order, and consequence. It’s time to drink booze, get naked, smoke some herbs, and fight for your survival. The game places players in a battle royale, where they will find crudely made weapons, designed to seek out an eliminate the competition.

Regrettably, I was unable to hear any sounds to the game, but I can confirm that it sported an amazing visual presentation unlike any I had seen. The game looks exactly like the animated shorts, down to their body and facial movements. It’s almost easy to mistake this for an animated short than a video game. The characters move incredibly smoothly and the particle effects for shooting and explosions are quite the sight to see. Seeing Cyanide & Happiness this way was fantastic. Of course, visuals don’t mean anything if the gameplay doesn’t add up, but I’m pleased to say the gameplay was absolutely fantastic.

As a battle royale, it has players fighting to the death before the forces of hell scorch the surface. Players use weapons and items slapped together with everyday household items. An example of this is the weapon I chose to use, which was a gumball assault rifle that could fire endless volleys of gumballs. Other weapons I saw include a garbage bazooka, a detergent launcher, nail guns, and so on. Certain items will provide special attributes and capabilities as well. One such item was the “F-Bomb” a small, handheld bomb that can be thrown at enemies and unleash an atomic explosion. Occasionally, God will send Arks filled with ammo and special items as well.

Hunting down the competition was an absolute blast in Cyanide & Happiness: Rapture Rejects. Players are scattered across the battlefield and the ring of fire around you will constantly shrink. Hunting down the opposing players is thrilling, especially when being able to experiment with the different weapons. The gumball rifle proved extremely valuable throughout my time with the game, as I was able to pick off players from a distance. However, I had a few close calls, as the other weapons, like the garbage bazooka, did more damage than the gumball rifle. My F-Bomb was satisfying to use as well, as players could hide in structures, such as houses, and the bomb could clear them out.

One instance involved me cautiously sneaking around a home. I kept checking my radar and searching corners to see traces of any enemy movement. At one point, I saw a small hint of movement and began firing. I dodged fire from a detergent launcher and took damage, but I was able to successfully dispatch the enemy player. However, my relief was short as another player exited a home from cover. I pelted the area with my “F-Bomb” and exchanged fire. It was intense, but I shot him down. However, despite downing four other players in a 10 player royale, a young boy, who played a few spaces from me, managed to eliminate me and win the royale. it was a good game and I had an absolutely good time with it.

While I played the game at PAX WEST, I ran into the creators of Cyanide and Happiness at KeyStone Comic Con in Philadelphia, PA. In between describing their definitive superhero, which was a man firing birds through his beard,  I managed to ask them more about the game, and they revealed they have a lot more content coming to Rapture Rejects. It won’t be a faceless battle-royale game but feature a plethora of modes and features. A story campaign is being planned, filled with missions, objectives, and the same twisted humor that Cyanide and Happiness are known for. Based on what they told me, I could imagine more weapons, levels, and perhaps even co-op stages.  As of now, the game will be on PC, but other platforms aren’t ruled out.

Cyanide & Happiness: Rapture Rejects is currently in Alpha, with beta coming soon. A release window has been targeted for 2019.

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