Hyper-Jump Right In
Science fiction has a long-standing relationship with gaming. Even the very first video game of all time was set in outer space! It comes as no surprise that this trend stuck with players, even into our post-millennial age of mobile gaming. Space War: Starship Shooter is the latest in this long-lasting legacy. Its aesthetics and gameplay harken back to a simpler time with mixed results.
Created by developer kevin.zhou, Space War is a top-down arcade flight-shooter. Taking cues from genre-staples Space Invaders and Galaga, you pilot a weaponized starfighter to obliterate waves of aliens. The aliens enter and move on the screen in a manner similar to its predecessors. At the end of every fourth level, you encounter a boss with varied laser attack patterns.
Using your finger to guide your ship, you take out ten waves in every level. After completing enough levels, more types of fighters become available through in-game currency. These will often have small advantages over those prior, incentivizing coin and laser powerup collection from destroyed enemy ships. However, powerups usually only increase the rate of fire of your equipped ship, beginning the trend of Space War’s limitations.
Taking Its Time
While the bulk of the gameplay seems to emulate those that have come before it, the classic arcade magic just isn’t there. In my playthrough, I found that most enemy flight patterns didn’t vary much until after the tenth level. After playing ten levels of ten waves each, the variety is long overdue. The only exception to this seemed like a forced “spiking” of difficulty scattered through random waves. Sometimes, alien crafts would fly in near the bottom of the screen and take their position. This only felt like a cheap way to simulate an actual rise in difficulty.
Overall, the designs of both player and enemy ships are fairly interesting but will also become pretty stale after a while. Neither have animations besides sliding around the screen, firing, boosting and exploding. The game’s Google Play page even teases a wider variety of movement visuals that are sadly lacking in the final product. Additionally, there are several visuals previewed in its listing that had yet to appear in my playthrough. These limitations, considering the game is from a seemingly new developer, are not by themselves a bad thing. It’s the promise of more and the slight on expectations that causes frustration.
Keep it Classic
Space War: Starship Shooter does some things well. It mostly sticks to the script where it counts with limited incentive for further exploration. . Unfortunately, that payoff never really feels worth it in the end. If you’re looking for something casual to kill some time, this title is a great fit. You gain the satisfaction of blowing up bad guys in space and that’s at least worth something.
Is it Hardcore?
While it does have its bright spots, Space War: Starship Shooter largely feels like a clone of much bigger arcade titles of the genre. It maintains a sense of addicting gameplay in a way that isn’t actively off-putting, yet it never really shows you anything new too quickly. This isn’t altogether a bad thing, but it just isn’t great, either.