Toxikk is a fast paced arena shooter made by Reakktor Studios. Arena shooters are one of my favorite game genres and unfortunately appear to be a dying breed. Toxikk was made using Unreal Engine 3, which is fitting because the game that it reminds me of the most is Unreal Tournament.
Proper old school arena shooters must checkbox off many gameplay categories to be considered a real arena shooter. These categories would include:
Diverse Weapons – Arena shooter must have both direct hit and splash damage weapon options.
Fast and Fluid Movement – Arena shooters must have fast movement and usually involve the player being airborne frequently with jumping/wall jumping/dodging etc.
Close-Quarters Combat Maps – Level design usually consists of z-axis gameplay with close range combat as opposed to massive open world designs.
Fair Weapon Distribution – Arena shooters historically always have weapons and power ups located throughout the map so that each player has a chance to pick up any gun. This design concept is way different from modern games that have you create a class and unlock guns through progression.
Fast Paced Action – Arena shooters almost never involve aiming down sights and often don’t require the reloading of weapons.
Luckily Toxikk has taken this traditional and classic approach. It has checkmarked every box on the list above. Toxikk has a great variety of weapons and each one is different (sniper, shotgun, rocket launcher, flame thrower, plasma rifle and more). There are all the basic arena fps game modes that you would expect too:
Blood Lust – Deathmatch
Squad Assault – Team Deathmatch
Squad Survival – Round Based Team Standing Mode
Cell Capture – CTF (Capture the Flag)
Area Domination – Classic Domination
Arch Rivals – 1 vs 1 Duel
Toxikk also features some notable mutators such as:
Bubble Head – The better your K/D ratio is, the larger your head is
Buddy Kill – Friendly Fire can be enabled/disabled
Fast Forward – Faster Speed
Floaty Grav – Lower Gravity for high jumps
Instagib – Single shot kills
No Magic – Removes power-ups
Noob Aid – Extra armor for players who fall behind
There are other mutators, but these are the most noteworthy. For characters you have customizable armored suits (some look Halo-esque). Toxikk can be played with bots or of course with online multiplayer.
This is well polished game that really reminds me of Epic Game’s Unreal Tournament series in many positive aspects including: gameplay, mutators, pick ups and movement.
There are however some negatives were Toxikk does fall flat, such as map count. There are only 11 maps included. At least the themes of maps aren’t often repeated. There are urban night time city maps, snowy mountain maps, arenas and jungle maps. They even managed to create a fantastic tribute to Unreal Tournament’s Deck16 map with the included Dekk map. There are 3 large outdoor maps that contain vehicles which reminded me of Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament 3. Toxikk’s maps are very high quality and it’s a shame that there are only 11 stock maps included.
There is an SDK so some users have created custom maps. However on Steam I was only able to see about three dozen custom maps. This is obviously way less then what you see with the Unreal series. With Unreal releases there are usually 50+ stock maps and then the user base creates hundreds if not a couple thousand maps. I also haven’t seen any Toxikk mods and classic arena shooters usually have many weapon and character mods. Another downside is the included player models feel like generic power armored soldiers. Quake and Unreal usually had a more diverse character range.
Even with it’s flaws Toxikk is a great game and is criminally underrated. This is especially revealing when you launch the server browser. Quake 3, Unreal Tournament 1999 and Unreal Tournament 2004 all still have hundreds and sometimes thousands of players online. Toxikk typically has 5 to 20 players online. This is a shame that the game wasn’t either better received or better marketed, because it is an absolute top notch product.
According to their website, Reakktor is a small indie dev team who is self funding. It is hard for me to be hyper critical since they managed to make a game with AAA graphics, fun gameplay, great maps and paid homage to 90s arena shooters. They don’t have the unlimited funding of Epic Games, so it might not be fair to be greatly critical about things such as having a lower map count than Unreal etc. You can try out the game for free by downloading the Steam demo and if you like the game, it is only $14.99 so it is a great value. I can definitely recommend this game, this is a $14.99 spent that I don’t regret.
Attempted to Revive Old School Arena Shooters
Quality Map Design
Fantastic & Fun to Use Weapons
Easy to Use Menu
Good Variety of Mutators
Can Create Custom Maps
Has Demo to Test Game before Buying
Low Number of Stock Maps*
Lack of a Player Base
Limited Amount of Custom Community Maps
Music not as Memorable as the Unreal or Quake Series