Game Reviews

Chainsaw Warrior

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| Chainsaw Warrior
Chainsaw Warrior
| Chainsaw Warrior

Speaking as someone who spent the mid-'90s pushing plastic figures across wartorn tabletops, I was surprised to discover that Chainsaw Warrior is based on a Games Workshop boardgame.

Even though I'd served as a Warhammer general, a Blood Bowl coach, and even a Gorkamorka boss, I'd never so much as heard of Chainsaw Warrior.

As it turns out, Chainsaw Warrior was a single-player boardgame released by Games Workshop in the late-'80s. Casting you as a man with a power tool, this devilishly difficult adventure tasked you with saving New York City from destruction at the hands of a malevolent entity known only as The Darkness.

And as if the swarms of zombies, fanatical chaos cultists, and myriad traps weren't enough to contend with, Chainsaw Warrior demands that you do all of this within a single in-game hour.

Stiff opposition

After a shonky introductory cut-scene, Chainsaw Warrior sets about emulating the original boardgame as best it can. That means that you'll be battling baddies with dice rolls, and your adversaries are represented by on-screen cards rather than 3D models.

But before you can get to the serious business of carving up irradiated undead, you'll first have to create your character. A trusty D6 will determine your hero's toughness, marksmanship, and melee combat ability, as well as the amount of equipment you can take into battle with you.

With your preparations complete, it's time to start the countdown to NYC's destruction. At its most basic, each turn of Chainsaw Warrior sees 30 seconds of game-time elapse, and one random card drawn from the deck.

This card will, most likely, depict some kind of radioactive beastie, and you'll decide whether to expend resources on dispatching them or rely on your hand-to-hand ability to get you through these close encounters.

It's a blend of randomisation and difficulty that leaves Chainsaw Warrior feeling a lot like a card-based roguelike, and as such you should expect to die both frequently and unfairly.

Old school

This difficulty lends the game considerable replayability, but its adherence to the original boardgame can also leave Chainsaw Warrior feeling padded and slow-paced as a mobile title.

You'll have to wade through an entire 54-card deck of enemies and obstacles before there's even a slim chance of triggering the endgame, for instance, and that's a time investment that's unlikely to suit the rhythms of mobile play.

For those with time on their hands and handset battery life to burn, Chainsaw Warrior offers a campaign with considerable challenge and character, but the absence of any updated modes or portable variants feels like a missed opportunity.

Chainsaw Warrior

Chainsaw Warrior boasts character and replayability in spades, but its lengthy, rock-hard play sessions aren't the best fit for portable play