With Batman out of town, two gangs – the Bats and the Jokerz – take to the streets of Gotham City to battle it out first-person shooter style with a wild array weapons and unlikely gadgets. Their motives are questionable, their sanity doubtful and their equipment looks like it was put together by a Mad Scientist forced to make do with whatever he could find in the dumpster behind Home Depot, but despite all of it (or because all of it), they’re going to protect their city or burn it all to the ground.
Players are given a dizzying array of customization options for character builds. Bats and Jokerz costumes are both built separately, with options for hoods, hair styles, capes, footwear and more. (Or in the case of those who choose to crusade in their undies, less.) Creating a completely individual character is easy enough, and most of the costume options are unlockable via an in-game currency called costume coins. In addition to the costumes, there are options for body type (speedy, tough, etc.) faces and voices, all with their own distinct taunts and crazy exclamations triggered in-game. (Some of my favorites: “Head-shot tater-tot!”, “Thank you, noble updraft!” and “Bye-bye, planet Earth!”)
Weapons range from the usual assortment of firearms (shotguns, sniper rifles, pistols) to exotic items like ninja swords, throwing stars, bows and arrows, boomerangs freeze guns and acid-throwing slingshots. Most of the weapons are also customizable with various unlocks earned in-game.
The equipment options are really what gives Gotham City Impostors its deranged charm. Players can choose from shoes with springs in the heels, jury-rigged gliders, rappelling lines and more. All of it has a “liable to explode” look to it. Speaking of explosions, gadgets like exploding Jack-in-the-Boxes, bear traps and grenades are also on the menu, so the battleground is utterly unpredictable.
The maps are off-beat representations of famous landmarks in the Batman mythos like Crime Alley. There’s nothing noir or dreary about any of these maps. Most of them poke a little fun at Gotham’s dark history with ironic billboards and loading screens designed to look like 1950s postcards.There are currently three modes of play: Team Deathmatch, Psychological Warfare, Fumigation and Bounty Hunter. All of them are (admittedly deranged) variants on old first-person shooter standards. All modes are playable with a maximum of total players, eight on each side.
Gotham City Impostors has loads of style, and the frenetic tongue-in-cheek pace of play will probably hook anyone that falls into the Venn Diagram of first-person shooters aficionados and Batman fans. While the game’s cartoonishly violent take on the Batman mythology may aggravate some fans of the Caped Crusader, good-humored comic book readers who see and appreciate the inherently preposterous nature of the entire superhero genre will probably love it.