Dusk review | The best shooter the 90s never produced

Dusk review

It’s a 90s-style shooter worthy of Quake. We dig into the brilliant Dusk on PC.


It’s so much more than a shallow emulation of nostalgia. Dusk – somehow, some way – manages to be one of the best shooters the nineties ever produced, but it was made 20 years later using Unity. My brain is frazzled from the pace, the unforgiving nature, the sheer thrill of it all, and I am so completely happy that this FPS anachronism exists.

The obvious influence is Quake – I mean, just look at it – but there are nods to plenty of other shooters from the nineties and beyond: Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Redneck Rampage, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Blood… you get the point. From a pure aesthetic standpoint, Dusk nails it – it looks and sounds the part, with a chugging, intense metal soundtrack backing up all the quick-paced, blasty action. From the perspective of the tributes it offers to those that came before, Dusk is respectful, somewhat fawning, and – again – absolutely nails it.

But all of that really becomes window dressing once you get stuck into the game proper: Dusk is brilliant fun. You’re not looking at recharging health and waist-high cover, carrying two weapons (no more than that) and travelling from A to B in order to trigger a cutscene. No, in Dusk you’re – very quickly – scooting around smartly designed levels, hunting a variety of coloured keys, blasting an ever-increasing array of enemies, and just trying to get to the exit. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, admittedly, but there’s the feel of the thing that just nudges it, pushes it, and bundles it into the realms of something genuinely great.

Dusk doesn’t faff about; it respects you as a player, it respects your time, it respects your ability. It’s hard at times, sure, but it’s never unfair. If you’re good enough, you can do it. And it’s open enough to let you tackle things your own way, allowing levels to be selected with any loadout you so require. This isn’t about Szymanski forcing you to endure his vision: it’s about you using the tools the developer provides to have a good time. And sometimes be a bit scared, especially when you’re playing with headphones on.

Dusk isn’t a tribute, an ode, a nineties-style facade over a paper-thin set of mechanics. It is a legitimately good first-person shooter: consistent in the fun it offers; the challenge it throws at the player; and the creativity running through to its very core.

I came in expecting a neat little tribute to the games I loved 20 years ago (and still do love, admittedly), but I came away with a modern favourite. Dusk is fantastic.


It has to be the music. Its chugging, some might say obvious metal music underpins Dusk in the way you’d expect of any true nineties shooter, but the score by Andrew Hulshult is absolutely perfect for the game. It drives you, it inspires you, sometimes it even scares you – but whatever it does, it always rocks you.


One of the best shooters of the nineties arrived in 2018, for some reason.


Genre: First-person shooter
Format: PC (tested)
Developer: David Szymanski
Publisher: New Blood Interactive
Price: £15.00
Release: Out now

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