Review – Spacejacked
I have enjoyed the wave of retro style games currently dominating the indie scene as of late. A lot of these titles have chosen very familiar and nostalgic art styles, bringing me back to a past childhood of shareware PC games, early gen console titles, and gaming in my pajamas on a Saturday until my mother inconveniently interrupted a nearly perfect Saturday afternoon. Some pull off that feeling well, while others leave us with simply playing the part.
Spacejacked is a retro, fast paced, tower defense style game from developer Rotten Mage and is presented as a very colorful 2D side scroller with a very easy pick up and play appeal. While traveling through space your crew is abducted and as the ship’s technician, Dave Paprovsky, you’re tasked with defending the ship from alien attacks. Dave is responsible for repairing any damage incurred from the incoming invaders, as well as rescuing the kidnapped shipmates as you progress through the game.
The aliens will attack in waves where they may attack one or two rooms simultaneously. Your job is to set up a variety of gauntlets in each section from the selection of three different upgradable turrets to help you defend those rooms. Dave is also equipped with a blaster which will aid in his defense. However, the blaster does overheat so strategic use in frantic situations is absolutely necessary for your survival as you navigate from section to section as they come under attack. Fortunately, the blaster is also upgradable using the in-game currency, metal.
At first it will seem fairly easy and well paced just as an introduction to the game’s mechanics, but the difficulty ramps up as the enemies become more varied and you’re alerted to several rooms being attacked at once. Each of these sections has a computer terminal that you need to defend. If the invaders do enough damage to your terminals, game over. Luckily, each level is set up as days and losing will only send you back to the beginning of that day.
Once a certain crew member is rescued, you will be given the daily option of playing an entertaining mini-game called Metallius, a game heavily paying homage to Gradius on the NES. Your progress in Metallius will reward you with additional metal which you most certainly will need as the days progress and the waves increase in difficulty. Upgrades are expensive, so use your currency wisely. Fortunately, even if you’ve blown your money on upgrades and ship repairs, you’re always given the option to destroy and rebuild turrets at the same cost/reimbursement rate. This feature is great when you’re not 100% sure what the next wave is going to consist of.
The game’s graphics are reminiscent of late 80’s early 90’s side scrollers. Charmingly rendered with simplicity of design and a familiar but comforting palette. The music consists of catchy chiptune tracks and the kind of sound design that matches the game’s retro aesthetic.
Although I’m not a huge fan of tower defense games, I did enjoy this game for what it is. It is indeed an entertaining title and it’s a taste of something I’d like to see more of. I’d have liked to have had a larger variety of turrets and enemy types, as well as more variety in battle room. Seeing those same four single screen rooms becomes a bit monotonous, so larger ships as the game progressed would’ve been a welcome addition. You’ll also be given two other modes outside of the twenty level campaign: endless mode and challenge mode. I had so much fun with the mini-game, Metallius, that I wouldn’t be opposed to there being a second parodied retro favorite jammed in there somewhere. But, I wouldn’t knock it for that. That one is just my desire to be spoiled and greedy.
It has the nostalgic 80’s/90’s retro look that is becoming increasingly popular in the indie scene.
Fun and simple at first with a smooth and easy difficulty that ramps up into frantic madness as you progress.
Standard fair for the game’s aesthetics. Catchy chiptune soundtrack.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Once the campaign is complete, there is an Endless mode and a Challenge mode for you to try tackling.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Reviewed on Switch.
Spacejacked is available now on PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Spacejacked was provided by the publisher.