Trepang² is a single-player first Person Shooter in which you are Subject 106, a prisoner of the evil Horizon Corporation, a global entity that controls a large number of military personnel while hiding inhumane biological experiments behind their doors. You come to realise that you are some sort of experimental super soldier of uncertain origin. A mysterious group known as TF27 (Task Force) breaks you out from a heavily guarded blacksite owned by Horizon. Horizon is run by CEO Antonio Lazar, a certified nutjob, a bit like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, only less mental. Your memories have been wiped but your combat abilities are enhanced far beyond human limits. Unsurprisingly, you agree to be attached to TF27, the normal human members of which seem to have an extremely short life expectancy. Your instinct is to help TF27, fight back against Horizon, discover the truth and face threats even deadlier than yourself.
Trepang² kicks off with a nuclear explosion and mushroom cloud and it gets more intense after that! You are based at a "Safehouse" and all missions and side missions are started and selected from there. Each mission starts with you and your team being inserted to the combat zone via a Black Hawk-ish helicopter.
The action is dizzyingly fast and ultra-violent from the start. The enemies tend to appear in squads or waves, and the action rarely pauses to let you get a breath. Once you've defeated the cannon fodder missions usually culminate in a boss battle. When there is a lull there is a ton of collectibles in the form of Intel pads to find, which fill in your wiped memory, some intel also unlocks side missions and slowly your disturbing origin is revealed.
The controls are pretty standard for a FPS but you soon find that T² has no "aim down sights" except with a few scoped weapons, as holding the standard Left trigger to aim pops up a message that you have "no throwables”–so the 'L trigger' is a dedicated grenade/throwable button just like the original Halo...
You have two special abilities: Cloak (RB) makes you invisible for a short period and Focus (LB) is basically Max Payne's Bullet Time. When used wisely these two abilities turn you into an awesome killing machine, and killing in T² is more fun than it ever should be. Flanking enemies with Cloak plus Focus plus shotgun = something akin to FPS heaven!
Stealth and bullet time weren't originally part of the game's design, but were added to help you outwit the clever AI who will usually outnumber you heavily and try to flank you and even flush you out with grenades. Most of the time the AI genuinely seems to lose your location when you use Cloak, so flanking them, using slide attacks (crouch with 'B' while running ‘L3’) and Focus will usually even things out. As you advance in the game you also unlock the ability to dual wield ('Down' on the D-pad) which obviously gives you double the firepower.
The game has med packs, body armour (bits of armour also drop off downed enemies) and of course, weapons and ammo to find and use or swap out in level, and equipment crates allow for occasional upgrades too.
T² has a really nice, clean HUD with just ammo/clip, grenades, armour (blue line) and health (green line), the charge level of your Cloak and Focus are shown by neat quadrant gauges underneath the aiming reticle.
While there are a few outdoor locations, most levels are rather old-school interior-type mazes of rooms and corridors, and are usually quite linear. Some however can be confusing and a few even have psychological tricks to make you think you're going crazy. It's a miniscule niggle, but the button prompts are missing from some doors and other interactive objects, which can cause some momentary confusion about how to proceed. There’s a bit of clipping (bits of enemies poking through doors and walls) but not much. One final gripe is that our “Super Soldier” can only sprint about 14 strides before you're out of puff!
The Safehouse base's Combat Simulator allows you to play a "stress-free" attack wave Horde mode against several waves or an endless stream, on an impressive 35 different maps based on locations from the story mode. I found this mode very addictive, and you can select from "Easy" through 6 settings to "Rage Mode" depending on how badass you're feeling.
Trepang² is a clever game, while it doesn't have a multiplayer mode or push the Xbox Series X/S graphically, it supplies dizzying amounts of on-screen action and comes with a wide range of difficulty settings can make you feel like a God-like (if asthmatic) killing machine, or a hunted animal–unlike many games of late, the choice is yours. At a price of only £29.99 (and actually on sale for only £20.99 as I speak) Trepang kicks several othe supposedly AAA bug-budget titles firmly in the nuts, kills them with a headshot and disappears into thin air...