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One of the best Warhammer 40k games just hit Game Pass

Warhammer 40k: Boltgun is a 90s-inspired retro FPS that channels the heavy metal carnage of the 41st millennium - download it immediately.

Warhammer 40k: Boltgun has just become available on Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass for PC. It’s a retro-FPS Warhammer 40k game inspired by 90s classics like Doom and Quake, and an easy recommendation for fans of 40k and FPS games alike.

Frankly, Warhammer: 40k Boltgun is one of the best Warhammer 40k games in years, full stop, and it was our Warhammer 40k videogame of the year 2023. Our Boltgun review goes into detail, but the short version is: the vibes are immaculate.

It’s a fluid, fast-moving, continuously dynamic FPS game that rewards momentum, aggression, and spilling blood in the name of the Emperor of Mankind.

Warhammer 40k Boltgun is now on Game Pass - the player character slashes a Chaos Space Marine with a chainsword

It’s also a lot more clever than that summary might suggest. Though the plot is scant, it’s actually part of the Space Marine 2 timeline, with the player character landing in the Warhammer 40k Chaos infested Forge World Graia after the events of the first Space Marine game. Though the protagonist Malum Caedo does little more than grunt and yell, he’s voiced by professional screen actor Rahul Kohli.

Despite the pixel art and simple 3D geometry, there’s a surprising amount of grunt in Boltgun’s engine: code lead Sam Chester explained to Wargamer how much effort went into the game’s gore system, and how the team needed to create a custom sprite renderer to make the old-school 2D enemies look right in the Unreal engine.

Warhammer 40k Boltgun is now on Game Pass - the player character fires a Heavy Bolter at a flock of blue, manta-ray like Screamers of Tzeentch

It’s a great time to get into the game, too. When we reviewed Boltgun there were some difficulty spikes as steep as the walls of a Space Marine fortress monastery, which have since been smoothed out – though it’s still a juicy challenge to sink your teeth into. There’s even a small Boltgun speed running community around the game, which makes for fascinating watching.

There’s no DLC yet, which is a shame. While the base enemies, Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons, make for a varied and tactically challenging set of foes, we really want to see some other Warhammer 40k factions get in on the action: 2D pixel art Orks or Tyranids would be peak.

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If you fancy a very different flavor of FPS, a new Call of Duty update is adding a bunch of Warhammer 40k Space Marine cosmetics to the modern FPS. And Warhammer 40k: Darktide is excellent: here’s our deep dive into Darktide Patch 13, which brought the game up to the standard it really should have launched at.