DISCLAIMER: Space Raiders in Space was provided for free from Destructive Creations for the purpose of review.
With a name as wacky as Space Raiders in Space, one has to imagine that the game itself is either a parody of Starship Troopers or is just generally a low effort, low-quality title. So it pleases me to say that this game is surprisingly neither of those. This game exceeded my low expectations to be a solid, fun little tower defense game. Space Raiders in Space doesn’t do anything innovative or revolutionary for the tower defense genre but it succeeds in being a solid effort.
The first thing to notice about the game is the presentation. It takes a very comic book styled cell-shaded approach. And it looks excellent! It gives the game a good amount of charm and allows it to stick out from the pack. The way the menus are constructed, the interface as a whole and the cutscenes all look like something out of a comic book and it is wonderful. Whenever the player clicks anywhere with the mouse a comic book style Pow! shows up or something similar. The art style is arguably the game’s strongest asset. It is quite aesthetically pleasing.
The models and animation are sadly not as well done. While they still retain the nice cell shading they look considerably lower budget. And the animation is quite rigid and stiff. Every character and enemy looks unnatural when moving and attack animations are basic. The game features a number of different modes to it: a story mode; endless mode; and a sort of free play mode. The main mode of play is the story mode.
Taking place far in the future our heroes land on a planet for exploration and are greeted by bugs. One day these bugs turn on our heroes. Thus the bugpacolypse begins and it’s up to our characters to stop and kill these bugs! The story stays relatively simplistic and its characters are rather basic. The writing has the occasional funny moment in it but it is nothing mind-blowing or new to the scene either. It serves its purpose but is not even close to memorable in the slightest.
The core gameplay is a wave-based tower defense affair. Where there are five main aspects to it: attack, defend, cower, search and build. In every map, the player is dropped down with up to five characters and has to defend the area. Your characters will usually hole up in the centre of the map and be swarmed by bugs in waves. Afterwards, you have around another minute or so to recover and build your defences up before the next wave. Rinse and repeat throughout the entire game. Each character has a melee weapon and gun and new ones can be found by searching. You can send the character to go attack the bugs head-on or to stay back and defend. They can also cower in fear and hide as far away as possible.
During the rounds, the characters kill everything in sight and you have to survive. Most of the enemies are rather basic and just run at you but there are bosses to mix things up a bit. After all the enemies are killed the wave ends. You can then search the areas for materials and new weapons or build defences to fight enemies. You can build basic structures like a wall, turret and decoy. There are some more advanced units like spiked walls, traps, and even tesla coils. Staying alive in this game revolves around having a good defence setup. The game gives you so many materials that you never even come close to running out of them. This means you can spam as many defences as you want. They have health as well but can be easily repaired.
The game never became a challenge as I would set up indestructible defences not even the bosses could penetrate. The formula works, and can be fun and is relatively simplistic, however, it can honestly be a bit too formulaic. Despite there being a fair number of maps, all of them play out virtually the same. Due to this, the game feels like it is in autopilot a majority of the time. I never faced any kind of challenge that made me question if my tactics were solid. It just taught me to put turrets everywhere to drain the enemies down before they got to me. Luckily endless mode is a bit more challenging as the difficulty ramps up quite a considerable margin here.
For the most part, the gameplay is good. The game took around 4 hours to finish. The voice acting was also quite annoying. Many of the characters came off as somewhat cringy and acted like they were trying too hard. When they interrupt gameplay to talk amongst each other it was more of a nuisance. It broke up the pacing, however, these can thankfully be skipped.
There were a number of bugs present in the game and I am not just talking about the enemies. Usually, these bugs were clipping issues and bad pathfinding for the enemies. While the game’s simplicity is a strong suit it can also be one of its downfalls. But the game ends just before it can become stale. Adding gimmicks or stage hazards could have really made the levels much more interesting.
In conclusion, Space Raiders in Space is a lot better than it would appear at first glance. Regardless of the flaws, the game is still fun and has some easy to pick up and play gameplay. It is certainly on the casual side and will not have you pulling your hair out trying to figure out the next amazing strategy. The game is on the cheaper side as well (£7.19) so that is a major plus. A fun little mostly mindless romp where you kill some bugs. While not my favourite bug killing game (that will always be EDF) it still was a surprisingly good time.