“Space Run Galaxy is the sequel to Space Run, the game from one-man studio Passtech, which seduced hundreds of thousands of players with its dynamic and original gameplay. By twisting the tower-defense game style, Space Run offered an addictive real-time spaceship construction strategy experience. Space Run Galaxy expands and refines the original’s unique gameplay, introduces a persistent online universe and takes-off again with plenty of new features!”
– The Space Run Galaxy Steam page (http://store.steampowered.com/app/355800/)
Space Run Galaxy offers a different approach to the tower defence genre. Where normally I like to bed myself in and create the ultimate defensive base, Space Run Galaxy gives you a compelling sense of urgency and reward.
As part of an intergalactic courier service, you’re required to deliver cargo from one system to another by obtaining contracts, all whilst trying to avoid perils of space. You’ll face all manner of dangers along the way – asteroids, space pirates and alien swarms are just some of the hazards trying to kill you on your journey.
After a short intro you begin the game with your ship’s AI and one of the main in-game characters, ‘Buck Mann’, having a short back and forth with you. Although the dialogue can get a tad cheesy in places, I found the voice acting to be well performed and story compelling enough to make me care about what was happening.
After some more dialogue you’ll be given your first contract. Each contract requires a delivery of cargo from A to B, though in some cases contracts will need multiple jumps in order to complete. When you complete a contract you’re awarded XP, credits and with any luck you’ll also be given crafting components. These can be used to build bigger and better weapon, defence or utility modules, but also increase the number of tiles your ship has, ultimately giving you more space on your ship to play with.
Unlike other tower defence games I’ve played, Space Run Galaxy has a sense of urgency to completing each run. The quicker you reach your destination the greater the reward, giving you additional XP or components. This is simply achieved by adding additional thrusters to your ship at the cost of taking up a tile (or space) on your ship. Although you have the ability to add additional tiles, increasing the amount of cargo and module you can transport, you’ll find yourself with the inevitable dilemma of running out of space. This again is something that splits Space Run Galaxy from others in genre. It requires the player to think more tactically about the logistics, “Should I take the risk of filling my ship with cargo leaving less room for defence, or take less cargo so not to take up precious space that could otherwise be used for something more functional?”
In some cases you’ll need to make multiple runs in order to fulfil contracts. This is where I feel the game can become a little repetitive at times, having to make multiple runs back and forth from one system to another. The good news is you can jump directly to systems, just as long as you’re not carrying anything on your ship; otherwise you’ll be forced to make the run between systems the long way.
Danger come in many shapes and sizes when making runs. Asteroids both large and small will fly towards you, though luckily you can equip your ship with laser cannons, missile launchers, ion cannons and other weapons in order to protect yourself from the perils. Asteroids aren’t the only thing trying to destroy your precious ship – space pirates, other couriers, and creatures big and small all want a piece of you. This brings me to a sticking point when placing an attack module, laser or other weapon; you specify the weapon’s direction of aim but, annoyingly, you can’t then change the weapon’s direction during contracts. With potential threats coming at you from all sides and without the foresight of knowing where enemies are attacking from, you can find yourself with all of your firepower pointing in the wrong direction. There is a solution to this by the way of detected incoming hazards warnings and in a way the game teaches you to be patient and more dynamic in the way you approach your strategy.
Space Run Galaxy also has a multiplayer element, just not in the way I’d expected it to. Sure, you can trade gear and equipment with other players, but also other players can run contracts for you when offline. You’ll even enjoy the spoils on completion without having to lift a finger. This kind of click and forget gameplay is something I enjoy – I like to think that even when I’m not playing, the world (or in this case galaxy) keeps spinning. In some way, this encourages me to play the game more, by creating more anticipation knowing something is waiting for me upon my return.
Space Run Galaxy is a fun game to play. Its unique twist on the normal style of tower defence games puts a focus on speed and urgency, but also requires you to think about each contract too. It’s certainly challenging and the learning curve is a steep one, although not ridiculously difficult. At times the gameplay could become kind of stale, something I found to be the case more so when I ended up having to grind side-missions in order to obtain the necessary crafting components to progress.
Space Run Galaxy is bordering on greatness, but falls short in some key areas – it never quite seems to reach its full potential. That said it’s still a great game and one that I’ll continue to play for a long time to come.
Developer: Passtech Games (www.passtechgames.com)
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive (www.focus-home.com)
Release Date: 17/06/2016