Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour review: an irreverent retro murder fest that doesn’t take itself too seriously

The last of the aliens lies twitching beneath your boots. The smell of blood, gore and gunpowder linger in the air. Before you know it, more abominations begin to appear. You put on your shades, pick up your minigun and give a maniacal grin.

Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour is a top-down, 8-bit murder simulator/action shooter developed by Croteam and Crackshell (of Hammerwatch fame) and published by Devolver Digital.

You play as a one-man murder machine with an arsenal of weapons, fending off waves of monster aliens. You progress through levels looking for keys to unlock new areas while killing hoards of monsters and bosses and deftly avoiding getting splattered yourself.

Serious Sam Devolver

Play as one-man murder machine Sam in this retro action game

At first glance, Bogus Detour seems very simple due to its retro 2D aesthetic and the change from first-person to a top-down perspective. However, don’t be fooled as Sam’s more complex than he lets on.

The stylised pixel graphics are richly detailed and brightly coloured so you don’t miss any of the blood-spraying gore. It suits the game well, keeping the ultra-violence fun and entertaining.

Different weapons don’t cause different death animations, which is a minor annoyance and sometimes I had difficulty being able to tell what an object was.

The soundtrack is upbeat and energetic, reminiscent of action games from the 90s such as Command & Conquer, which fits the game perfectly.

The guns sound suitably individual and powerful, making them satisfying to fire, and enemies howl when killed.

There are no real cut-scenes to speak of, but there is text explaining the plot as well as some animated and voice acted objectives spoken by Sam while in game.

Serious Sam Steam

Matches can turn into a real bloodbath

Bogus Detour feels like a mix between Smash TV, Diablo, Gauntlet and Hotline Miami. There is a variety of different enemies that may require you to mix up your tactics, so you can’t always rush in all guns blazing like a John Woo film.

There are also environmental dangers to worry about, such as mines, toxic ooze, turrets and teleporters, as well as boss battles.

The game features a leveling-up points system, which allows you to improve your character and gain special abilities such as increased damage, bullet rebound and extra health. There are various modes to try with varying difficulty, which helps keep things fresh.

The levels are vast and Serious Sam gives you a truly massive playground to explore, but it’s easy to get lost or bored when wandering around the map searching for keys.

The gameplay can also get very repetitive – walk to other end of the map, find key, kill baddies, walk back, open door, repeat.

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Serious Sam Bogus

Bogus Detour is a lot of fun, but it has its repetitive moments

The game plays smoothly with keyboard and mouse controls but also supports controller inputs, which will help when you’re dodging and rolling out of the way of incoming weapons fire and explosions.

There is a lot of variety in the weapons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but you soon develop your own favourites. I personally love toasting my foes with the laser cannon and blasting them into a fine red paste with the super shotgun.

Effort has been made to keep the feel of the game faithful to the other Serious Sam games using pixelated versions on Serious Sam’s enemy’s.

The game has been designed with multiplayer in mind and it’s here the game shines like a brand new tommy gun. Some of the various game modes include up to 4 player co-op and 12 player PvP modes.

It really does recapture some of that classic split-screen co-op gameplay. However, at the moment matches are hard to come by as it’s mostly empty online, so if you want a satisfying session you should bring friends.

Custom maps and mods are also supported to add more life to the game, so as Bogus Detour builds up a community we’ll see even more variety.

Serious Sam gameplay

With multiple modes and weapons to choose from, Bogus Detour offers a lot of variety


If you’re looking for the latest graphics and a deep, gritty game, you won’t find it here. However, you will find carnage, power-ups, weapons galore, a well thought-out multiplayer mode, hundreds of bullet sponges to mow down, huge levels and tonnes of style.

It’s an irreverent retro murder fest that doesn’t take itself too seriously and manages to not only be funny, but most importantly be FUN – because that’s why we play games, isn’t it? For fun? PEW PEW!

Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour (£10.99): Steam