Wrath: Aeon of Ruin - Switch Review

"You can tell KillPixel knows their stuff!"

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin - Switch Review
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Wrath: Aeon of Ruin has one of the most charming development stories of recent times. Initially beginning life as a mod project by Jeremiah 'KillPixel' Fox, using the old Quake engine, it ended up gaining so much traction that 3D Realms (known for publishing many of the 1990s first person classics) decided to hire KillPixel and other members of the mod community to take Wrath: Aeon of Ruin all the way from Early Access to what it is today.

While the 3D Realms of today is effectively a label and has little correlation to the 3D Realms of yester-year, seeing a first person shooter carrying their label will ignite a certain level of excitement amongst fans of the so called boomer-shooter genre. Boomers, assemble!

The Good

In Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, you play as the Outlander, a fairly anonymous warrior who must defeat the Guardians of the Old World. The Guardians are now corrupt forces who must be defeated, and you are aided along the way by the mysterious Shepherd, a ghostly figure who pops up at opportune moments to give you advice and guidance. It must be said that Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is epic in scale. There are three hub areas (Mourningvale, The Eventide Wastes and The Wretched Domain), each of which contains five levels. Within each hub area, you can choose to tackle the levels in any order you want, and to the joy of this metroidvania fan-boy you actually unlock new abilities as you progress, meaning you can repeatedly revisit levels to access previously inaccessible areas. The level design had to be pitch-perfect to support this ambitious feature, and it certainly works. Each level is brimming with secrets and the satisfaction of finding them was an absolute joy.

I played Wrath: Aeon of Ruin on easy, because I’m a delicate soul these days. However, it really didn’t feel easy at all, as demonic creatures come at you pretty incessantly throughout. Fortunately, even in easy mode, you are blessed with a badass arsenal of weapons. There’s an erstwhile Shotgun all the way up to the rather interestingly named Slag Cannon, which fires molten ore all over the demon hoodlums. What was exciting is that the stronger weapons made for satisfying combat moments, but didn’t completely kill the experience by making you feel too strong. 

As well as weapons in Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, you will make great use of Artifacts, which are basically short term power up items. Some provide you with brief invincibility, some provide you with a shield, but what I liked is how they made you play a bit more strategically than a traditional shooter. And you will need to be strategic because purely shooting doesn’t work (there’s not enough ammo) and running away doesn’t work (the environments are too claustrophobic). It took me a while to start using Artifacts (for a while I forgot about them), but when I used them more frequently, I started to ‘get’ Wrath: Aeon of Ruin a lot more and it felt more rewarding as a result.


  • Metroidvania elements are well done
  • Impressive weapon arsenal
  • Artifacts make for strategic gameplay

The Bad

While you have to stand up and applaud the level design in Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, it does come with some drawbacks. First of all, some of the levels are incredibly long, almost ridiculously so. As engaging as they are, you certainly start to lose steam; often I just wanted to leave the level and return to the hub, which you can do, but I was somewhat paranoid I’d lose progress. The levels could surely have been broken up into smaller chunks to make them more palatable and feel less like marathon-like endurance.

Incredibly, there’s no in-game map in Wrath: Aeon of Ruin either. Yes, the levels are designed well, and it generally feels intuitive as to where to go next. However, due to the aforementioned lengthy levels, there are inevitably times when you get lost. In the sheer fog of tiredness of the same level, I often found myself going backwards without realising it. If this was Mario Kart Lakitu, his ‘Reverse’ sign would have been doing overtime. A map just would have aided situations like this.

And lastly, one frustrating aspect of the boomer-shooter I wish Wrath: Aeon of Ruin didn’t carry over from the 1990s is the unresponsive jumping. It almost feels like a trope that jumping is slow and unresponsive in these kinds of games, and it is here too. I often found myself careering off a cliff edge, despite clearly pressing jump before I met said cliff edge. I mean, obviously I wasn’t pressing it early enough, but the presumably intentional lag was incredibly frustrating. Agghh!


  • Some levels are too long and need breaking up
  • No in-game map makes it easy to get lost
  • Unresponsive jump function

Final Score: 8/10

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is faithful to many of the 1990s classics. Fans of Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Doom and especially Turok: Dinosaur Hunter will love this game. You can tell KillPixel knows their stuff!

There will, of course, always be a market for a good old homage because I think we all want to be reminded of simpler times. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin certainly does that and is one of the best boomer-shooter throwbacks I’ve played.

Thank you for checking out our Wrath: Aeon of Ruin Switch review, thank you to Fulqrum Publishing for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: