Switch version tested
Review code provided
Reach for the stars in Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo on Nintendo Switch this January. Created by Manchester based studio Bare Knuckle Development, this shooter looks to bring retro space fun kicking and screaming into 2020. Super Mega will also blast into the PlayStation 4 and is already available on Steam.
Gameplay takes place over several unique and challenging modes. With this latest iteration ‘Turbo’ packing a whole galaxy of additional content for added value at a budget price. It’s great to see the developers commitment to the title rather than just throwing out a direct port. Players now have the choice of five differing modes, added challenges and a plethora of unlockables to keep you hooked throughout. The Switch version features exclusive content on top of this.
The base premise of Super Mega is to take control of a spaceship, eliminate incoming threats and obtain the highest possible score in the process. A simple concept that borrows from all-time classics Asteroids, Defender and the more recent Geometry Wars series. It’s a marriage of bullet hell and shmups that provides a satisfying experience best played in short sharp bursts and envokes that age-old ‘just one more run’ feeling. Of the game modes available you have:
Protect Mother – the task is to simply protect mother ship, at any cost. Shoot, collect and upgrade for the win. This is where you will most probably spend the majority of playtime so why not add a friend for even more fun.
Survival – just how long can you last with a faulty blaster that keeps firing. The skill in this mode is juggling between monitoring fuel and ammo while trying to survive long enough to beat the high score. Gameplay becomes very tactical as often you will find yourself stranded with no fuel or ammo and projectiles encroaching… fast.
Save the Colony – collect the randomly floating space people and return them to the portal, all while dodging the usual onslaught.
One Shot – a take on the classic dog fight whereby you start with just one shot. Local multiplayer only for this one so grab a friend.
To the Death – Another local multiplayer-only mode that sees you fight it out on the couch. Kill or be killed.
In each of the main modes, power-ups randomly drop from defeated craft providing new weapons. Use bombs at the right time or find the bouncing bullets for maximum carnage, it’ll get manic so keep focused. Coins can be collected and in turn used to purchase unlocks and upgrades in the shop. My top tip is to save up for the warp drive as a priority, this will remove the danger areas from the screen edges in the modes where you are initially limited. Other upgrades will increase basic arsenal and abilities. Can’t get to grips with how the ship handles? there are fifteen ships to open up each with unique traits, so there’s plenty of options. Find what works for you and practice to rack up combos for out of this world scores. There are several other neat features included, online leaderboards, a progress chart and over 40 fun challenges. These help get batches of coins quick and give a little drive in trying all the modes and hitting the specified criteria.
Super Mega Space Blaster has a simplistic yet stylised visual with hand-drawn models set against a bright starfield. There’s only so much you need to visualise with a deep space setting and the game benefits from this as enemies are easily identifiable. The soundtrack is pumping and works in perfect harmony with the intense gameplay. Blaster and explosion sound effects are exactly what you could have wished for. Overall performance was perfect during playtime and the menus complete the package with their neon glow. Controls are fluid and make use of the HD rumble where available. Buttons are mapped with a logical layout that once mastered become second nature. Splitting the Joy-con allows for on the fly multiplayer and works well with the cut controller.
Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo is simple, addictive and most importantly a blast to play. A lot of effort has gone into making this game, borrowing from classics but adding its own spin at every opportunity. There is a bucket load of content to keep you interested and the hook of ‘just one more run’ will have you coming back for more. Super Mega reaffirms the notion that a budget price point doesn’t have to mean corners are being cut. If you want to spend a few hours in space having a blast then look no further.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 14/01/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Shooter, Action, Arcade
Publisher: Bare Knuckle Development
Download link: eShop