Project Warlock on console is a spellbinding journey back in time

it's well wizard.

The less realistic side of the FPS genre has always been my favourite, from Doom and Hexen through to, well, Doom again. So I didn’t really need much convincing to revisit Project Warlock now that it’s found its way to console.

I reviewed the original Project Warlock PC release back in early 2019, and I was really taken with the way it combined vintage graphics and old school level design to produce a real love-letter to the genre. So how does it hold up on console and, perhaps more importantly, on a gamepad?

The meat and potatoes of Project Warlock has not been tampered with, featuring the bonkers original storyline of your Warlock character travelling through time to kill off a succession of big bad bosses from Lovecraftian behemoths to Satan himself. Old school gamers will be pleased to hear that this narrative all very much takes a backseat to the action itself, with the only real storytelling being found on victory screens between each stage. Stages are made up of a number of levels with regular breaks in the action to return to your workshop and level up.

At first, you’ll find Project Warlock a hard experience, as you learn the levels and select your first few upgrades. Every level is littered with secrets which are well worth seeking out as they often reward you with upgrade points and experience in the form of treasure. This approach really makes the collecting feel an integral part of the game and definitely encourages a thorough search of each level. I’d recommend upgrading your axe to heal with each hit as this can help both save ammo and keep your health topped up.

Your status as a warlock means that you don’t just have an arsenal of weapons to hand, but also a range of magic spells. I tended to favour the boomsticks over the broomsticks but there is clearly the potential for some very different builds. Even sticking to the guns gives you a good range of options, with a suitably meaty shotgun and more futuristic lasers to be found. The gradual unlock of these weapons keeps you interested and helps to give each level a more distinct feel; fighting through a medieval castle with a railgun would be a bit weird.

Now, the vintage visual stylings obviously weren’t going to pose much of a challenge for current gen consoles, and so the main concern was always going to be whether the jump from mouse and keyboard to controller would be a negative one. We’ve had plenty of first person shooters on console now that it shouldn’t be, but you never know. Thankfully, so long as you select the vertical lock in the options to keep your sights centred on a horizontal plane, it all works an absolute treat.

If you’re a fan of traditional FPS games, then Project Warlock is a must buy. I love the retro aesthetics but even if they aren’t your cup of tea, then the game itself contains more than enough fun and challenge to make it worth your while. All in all, a cracking port of a great game.

Original review summary and score below.

Summary
Project Warlock is a Doom-like that packs a punch. The levels are full of secrets, the enemies have a great range of behaviours, and the weapons – boy, the weapons – are a joy to use. Add all of that to the 60 levels to learn and explore and the challenges provided by the higher difficulty levels and you have a winning formula. Even if the pixel graphics aren’t your usual cup of tea, Project Warlock is more than worth your time. This is a journey to Hell that is well worth the ride.
Good
  • Wonderful retro feel and look
  • Excellent synth soundtrack
  • Great level design
  • Meaty weapons
  • Loads of secrets to find
Bad
  • Initial difficulty hurdle
  • Visuals may put some off
  • It does not like you and will kill you
8
Written by
Just your average old gamer with a doctorate in Renaissance literature. I can mostly be found playing RPGs, horror games, and oodles of indie titles. Responsible for many reviews and the regular Dr Steve's Game Clinic. Just don't ask me to play a driving game.