I have finally gotten the chance a great pleasure to play through the Early Access version of Voidpoint and 3D Realms upcoming retro-like FPS game “Ion Maiden” (you play as Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a female one-man army bad ass that is best described as a mix between Oni, Duke Nukem and Lo Wang), and good thing that.

You see, I haven’t had this much fun with a new FPS games in ages (I have been waiting a very long time to play an FPS game of this kind again).

ion maiden the main menu screen

Even Ion Maiden’s main menu screen screams of 90s FPS retro-like graphics. I don’t mind that though, as I grew up with games like that.

So right off the bat. The first thing that I noticed while booting up “Ion Maiden” was that Voidpoint set the 90s retro Gaming vibe very early on by having the most retro-like start menu screen that I’ve ever seen in a new FPS game (the same could also be said about the game’s awesome soundtrack).

ion maiden queen of the hill

In the “Queen of the hill” game mode you start off with a huge machine gun, and all you have to do is to kill everything that moves before the time runs out (think of it as Unreal Tournament’s “Last man standing” but it’s only you against an army of NPC foes).

I’m perfectly fine with that though, as I like retro graphics. Anyways, you then get to pick between three different game modes, and those are “Queen of the hill” (think “Last man standing” from Unreal Tournament), “Bombardier trail” (it’s like the FPS version of “Bomberman”) and “Crisis in Columbia” (the single player campaign).

ion maiden bombardier trail

In the “Bombardier trail” game mode you have to play through the whole single player campaign with nothing but the help of bombs.

Well, no matter which game mode you pick, “Ion Maiden” is going to kick-off with one hell of an adrenaline rush. I’m not even exaggerating either, because it only takes a couple of seconds before you run into your very first enemy that wants nothing less than to kill you (trust me when I say this, there are plenty of “things” that want you dead in “Ion Maiden”).

ion maiden here comes the pain

“Ion Maiden” kicks-off with a huge explosion followed by a rain of bullets and bombs.

Luckily enough for you and me though, you got a handful of different items, weapons and gear to your disposal. For example, you start off with a rather powerful revolver (you also get a electric baton). So if you’re a sharp shooter, then you could easily pull off a couple of head shoots without sweating (or bleeding) too much while doing so.

ion maiden its time to die

In my opinion, “Ion Maiden” is like a mix of “Duke Nukem 3D”, “Shadow Warrior”, “Blood”, “Oni” and “System Shock 1”.

However, depending on which difficulty level you pick, the easier or harder the challenges and enemies will be in “Ion Maiden” (you can choose between easy, medium and hard). I would also like to point out that the enemy A.i is somewhat stupid from time to time (at times you can kill off a couple of enemies without having them shoot a single shoot back at you).

ion maiden this is my boomstick

The Early Access version of “Ion Maiden” offers quite a few different weapons, and that includes everything from a revolver, shotgun, SMG to bombs.

Other than that, I did only experience a couple of things that annoyed me a bit while playing “Ion Maiden”. For example, there’s an aiming bug that makes you shoot over your target even though you’re aiming straight towards the said target (this bug does only seem to exist if you use the revolver), and there are no alternative fire options for the guns in “Ion Maiden” (at least not so far).

ion maiden its time to fight the first boss

There’s even a boss fight at the end of the Early Access version of “Ion Maiden” (you get to fight a huge mecha robot).

I also pretty soon noticed that you can’t see how much ammo your current carried weapon is holding (I find that to be rather annoying, as you have to keep track of how much bullets you have blasted off. Because you don’t want to end up having to reload your gun in the middle of a gun fight). Even so, none of those cons are dead serious in any way (as in being crash bugs, or gameplay destroyers).

ion maiden deadly spiders

“Ion Maiden” is full of deadly monsters such as these (as if the spiders from “Blood” wasn’t bad enough…).

So, all in all, I have to say that I’m very impressed with “Ion Maiden” so far. As I find the game to be a very promising and entertaining retro-like FPS game. That’s also why I’m very curious to find out what the final version of “Ion Maiden” will be like when the game launches in Q1 next year (2019).

As for here and now though, the Early Access version”Ion Maiden” Is most definitely worth picking up if you like classic FPS games like “Blood”, “Duke Nukem 3D” and “Shadow Warrior”.

Pros:
+ Very nice visuals and animations
+ There are plenty of different weapons
+ Tons of action and things to slay
+ The soundtrack rocks!
+
Boss fights
+
The humor and taunts by Shelly is on point
+
Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison
+
The game runs extremely smoothly with 0% lag

Cons:
– There’s no alternative fire function yet
– The enemy a.i can be rather stupid at times
– Bugs (the aiming bug is the most annoying bug so far)
– You can’t see how much ammo your current carried weapon is holding. So you have to keep track of how much bullets you wasted, and reload your weapons all the time
– The retro-like graphics might not be everyone’s cup of tea

Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound and music: 4/5
Controls: 4/5
Replay value: 4/5
Story: 4/5

tgg grade 4 out of 5

Verdict: 4/5
Voidpoint and 3D Realms got a very promising and entertaining retro-like FPS game in the making with “Ion Maiden”, because not since the “Duke Nukem 3D”, “Shadow Warrior” and “Blood” days have I felt this much joy while playing a new FPS game. So “if” Voidpoint manages to sort out the few cons that I have pointed out in this preview of mine, then I have no doubt (whatsoever) that “Ion Maiden” is going to become a GOTY title in 2019.

Title: Ion Maiden
Developer: Voidpoint/3D Realms
Format: PC
Genre: FPS
Resolution: Highest possible on PC
Release date: Q1 2019
Difficulty: User-defined
Spent time: +6 hours
Average grade internationally: N/A
PEGI age rating:
+16
Price: 19,99 Euros via Steam Early Access

***Disclosure***
The review code was provided by 3D Realms.

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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