Super Space ____ (is ____ing Cool)

Very rarely do I find a game that can instill an uncontrollable sense of giddiness in me. Last year, at the IndieCade game festival, I experienced once of these games. Super Space ____ (pronounced as the word “blank”), a top-down space shooter for Windows*, is the result of relatively simple concepts executed masterfully. The formula to Super Space ____ is basic: take one part asteroids, one part cooperative multiplayer, and an equal part competitive multiplayer. The result is one of the most hilarious, frantic 4-player games yet envisioned.

SuperSpaceTitle

Let’s Take a Trip Through Space… Together!

Physics-based games are all the rage these days. While I appreciate realistic gravity, ballistics, and whatever else you see in game descriptions these days, it’s no longer something that can set a game apart. In order to have your game stand out, you have to do something interesting. Super Space ____ does just that by taking an extremely simple physics concept, the recoil from firing a gun, and turning it into a core game component. As the player, you control a turret on a space ship. Using this turret, you must shoot asteroids, using the recoil from these same shots to maneuver the ship around. Add another player to the mix and you add another turret to the same ship.

Keep Your Friends Close…

With up to 4-players, you and your friends must work together as members of the same ship to steer your ship through wave after wave of oncoming asteroids and obstacles to dodge. While the asteroids themselves do not hurt your ship (in most cases!), colliding with any red object instantly ends the game. In order to score points and destroy an asteroid, you must hit it at least once and then have it collide with any red object. Each shot that hits an asteroid increases a point multiplier for that particular asteroid. The last person to have shot the asteroid before it collides with a red object will get credit for the points. While getting a higher score than your friends is always a plus, the real target is the gun power-ups.

SuperSpaceGameplay_16_color_edit

A brief adventure through space.

There are a total of 4 different power-ups for your turrets to compete for. For your firepower, there are three modifiers: a machine-gun, laser, and shotgun. Each player can have up to 3 different gun power-ups at a time. This means you can have a machine-shotgun, a ultra-fast triple machine-gun, or even a machine-shot-laser gun! Each power up feels unique and completely changes the dynamics of the ship movement.  A player with several power-ups will fire more shots which means they have an increased influence over the ships movement. A reckless player with a triple-shotgun can send the entire ship careening out of control with just a few shots!

… Because You Have No Choice

In addition to the gun modifiers, each player can hold one bomb. Using a bomb destroys all asteroids and deadly obstacles potentially saving your whole team. While initially a last-resort life-saving device, it can quickly become a weapon of revenge or pure annoyance by any player as every time a bomb is used all power-ups for every player will be ejected from them. As the power-ups fly out, each player will frantically fire as fast as they can in an attempt to reclaim their lost upgrades. In order to collect a power-up, that player’s turret must contact the floating upgrade token. As you can imagine, the sight of any power-up, especially after a well-timed spite-inspired bomb, causes the ship to spin wildly as each player attempts to aim the ship with their turret facing any items.

A Delicate Balance

All too often is the scenario that all players are shooting in the same direction, vying for the points and prizes. Remember though, as each shot fired pushes your ship backwards, if your team doesn’t coordinate and cooperate, you’ll all be dead in a matter of seconds. A successful trip though Super Space ____ requires that each player adapt to each other player’s tendencies and influence over the ships movement, the ship itself and the current wave of asteroids.

Each time you start the game, the overall shape of the ship is randomly selected. One ship might be shaped like a square, distributing all four

Although you need to cooperate, it also encourages competition.

Although you need to cooperate, it also encourages competition.

players equally. The next ship might be shaped like a “T” with one player at the bottom. Each ship plays a bit different and alters how your team will have to work together.

Although the waves of asteroids are endless (until you inevitably die), each wave has a special gimmick that you’ll have to overcome. One wave might have you having to push against a wall before it crushes you against the edge. The next wave might have special safe zones that you’ll have to navigate your ship into before a red wave approaches and destroys you. While the waves will repeat if your team is good enough to survive that long, they come in a random order and are all hectically fun.

Refined Simplicity

The concepts in Super Space ____ are not complex but they don’t have to be. The game’s real achievement is in the way it executes these concepts. It feels perfectly engineered for maximum fun with friends. The best part about it is that is is free to download. Head over to http://superspaceblank.com right now, grab some friends and start having a blast!

*While I am not sure of the minimum system requirements, it seems like it could run on any half-way decent machine. Also, it is important to note that Xbox 360 controllers are required in order to play.

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4 Comments

  1. Evan Harriman

     /  February 15, 2013

    That’s a great review, I really want to play this now!

    Reply
  2. Yes! Thanks for posting this. I’m always on the look out of interesting games for multiplier with my friend(s). This game is going to be a hilarious disaster when we play.

    Reply
  3. Cor

     /  February 23, 2013

    I’ve actually had the opportunity to play this game, and I have to say, it is right up there with Mario Kart as far as ridiculously fun party games go. It gets crazy, though, so expect lots and lots of shouting. Two sore joystick thumbs way up.

    Reply
    • Yes! It’s a crazy mess of laser shots. My favorite part is when a machine gun appears and the ship goes out of control as each player fights to grab it. It’s the best way to find out who knows how to cooperate and who doesn’t.

      Reply

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