GAME REVIEW: Space Terror

Space Terror is an iOS game created by Stache Bits, that transports you back to the world of the 1950’s, to that time when America just started testing the atom bomb, and that little thing called NASA was formed. The game itself swerves into B-movie territory and sees the Earth falling under attack by green alien invaders in their UFOs. The unique thing is how you fight them.

The sign of any great touch-screen game is making the controls simple and easy to master whilst expanding on that simplicity with some added complexity via power ups and small tactical decisions. Thankfully Space Terror has all of the above. The control system entails using your finger to rotate the planet Earth (yes the whole planet!), lining up your various weapon and defensive systems with the incoming threats. It is a very simple idea and it works beautifully. The threats you face are the aforementioned little green men, but you also have to keep a wary eye out for roaming asteroids. The little green men whittle down your health with their death rays, whereas the asteroids chisel off large chunks if they happen to make landfall. You can use your laser to destroy the UFOs, but your defense against the asteroids is a giant trampoline that you can manoeuvre to bounce the asteroids back into space. It’s kooky but it all adds to the fun.

You have at your disposal four placement areas around the Earth to fit your offensive/defensive weapons. You start with just one laser and one trampoline, but by playing and earning coins, you can place another two, and/or upgrade the ones you already have. The upgraded laser destroys the invaders in half the time, the improved trampoline not only bounces away asteroids but gives them the chance to destroy anything in their path, which comes in mightily handy when you have larger numbers of enemies gravitating towards you later on.

There are also a host of power-ups you can choose from, but you can only equip two at any one time. These include mines that circle the planet, a large metal shield that encases the globe for a short period, and satellites that orbit you destroying things that get too close.

Progression through the levels of the game is achieved by tapping the Fast Forward time button in the bottom right of the screen whenever you have breathing space. This adds another juggling act to the game, but the reward for reaching the next level is more coins and +1 to your stock of a power-up.

Coins drive everything in the game, from the aforementioned upgrades to the replenishment of power-ups. The game does have the option to buy coins with real money via the in-game shop. These are priced from 64p for 300, to £5.14 for 5000. It is there as an option for people who might like it but I personally didn’t find the need. An average game saw me earning a reasonable amount for 5 minutes play, which was enough to upgrade a little and replenish.

The graphical style of the game is very easy on the eye, clear and cartoony with nice little comic explosions and colour changes showing the status of things. The music completes the effect by harking back to the old style movie soundtracks, the whining sound of a theremin punctuating the action on-screen.

I thought this game was a nice little time waster, playable in short chunks of time. I found myself entering that Zen-like state where you react rather than think, which personally I enjoy. My only criticisms would be that the music is on quite a short loop, a little more variety would be welcome in that respect. It would also be great to see a few more power-ups and attack/defense weapons, to create a bit more of a dilemma when it comes to choosing your “load-out”. These are minor criticisms, but if addressed would boost my rating to a full 5 out of 5. But for 69p, as it stands, it’s a great little game, and is available on the Apple App Store now.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Casey Douglass

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