Sometimes a game comes out of nowhere and takes you completely by surprise. This is one of those times. I would never have even heard about the game had it not been for sale-tracking site Didimatic. Here’s how it went down:
Didimatic: Hey Brian, didya see that Direct2Drive has space game called Spacefighters on sale for two bucks?
Me: Wait a second. Space AND fighters? I love both of those things. How much did you say it was?
Didimatic: Only $1.99! *winks*
Me: $1.99?! Really?!
Didimatic: Really! *shines a big, fake smile*
Me: Well that’s just swell! Sign me up!
Didimatic: Brian…you’re already signed up…
And with that, a copy of Spacefighters was mine. Read on to find out what I thought of it…
Since Spacefighters is only around 100MB in size, downloading it took no time at all, and before you knew it, I was on the main menu screen listening to…music that sounded like it was recorded at some high school play. No lie, there’s some weird piano music that makes me think I just witnessed the end of a scene in Our Town. It plays in the main menu and in-between missions. Weird.
Anyway, in starting a new game, you have options like starting difficulty and whether you would like a training mode. Having never played the game before, I kept the training mode on. This is what I saw next.
Yup, that was the “training mode.” A few lines of text with four commands for move and one for fire, and that’s it. This simplicity is really a testament on what’s to come. After quickly reading the “training” documentation, I was off to the fight, my lone ship and I.
The first couple of levels were nothing exciting. Downed a bunch of enemies and got shot a few times. As the levels went on, a few things were introduced slowly, like powerups for health and life, weapons, as well as new enemies slowly making their way onto the scene. One of those enemies was…rocks…
If this was an Asteroids style game, I could swing it, but freaking rocks in the middle of the ships, not hurting them but hurting me if I let them (which never was a problem because they moved too slowly)? Really? I thought it couldn’t get bad enough…until the next level was ONLY rocks…
I actually yawned during this level. BOTH times I played it (yes, I only played it twice, couldn’t see in going any further…). After completing the “Rock me Amadeus” level, or whatever, I apparently ended up over a whole rock PLANET.
This level introduced some new powerups, but was generally unexciting. The NEXT planet, however, was not only a LAVA planet (rock on fire, perhaps), but also had a BOSS!
All he did was move up and down and fire missiles. Nothing exciting or spectacular. Again, I was BORED. When I see a boss, I wanna be close to CRAPPING my pants at the amount of firepower it’s throwing at me. This one? “Feh, here’s some missiles,” it said. Even the boss was bored. After I killed it, I arrived on a level with baddies who fired missiles, some of which left some behind for me to pick up, but get this…I had no idea how to fire. That “training mode” said the spacebar was for firing. Great, how do I fire missiles, game? Oh, you’re not gonna tell me? Awesome, thanks for that.
I played a few more levels, fought a bunch more baddies, but never felt like I was either making any progress or going anywhere. There was just no THERE there to keep me motivated, and after my second play through, I was done. I likely played for maybe an hour at most, if that (my sense of the passage of time is awful, admittedly).
Visually, the game is…maybe right out of 1994? The graphics are insanely simple, the explosions look like a blue neon fart, and the ships are uninspired.
The sound is all over the place. Besides the aforementioned wacky-ass music, the sound of your guns are kinda pathetic, as if someone was making the sound of a gun firing with their mouth. The explosions kinda made up for this, however, as they were fairly boomy and sounded like an explosion would sound if space had any sound. ;)
Overall, this game is not really worth your time, especially with other shooters like Really Big Sky (which I’m reviewing alongside this, and it’s AWESOME) or Beat Hazard around. While those games are making their own noise in the space shooter scene, Spacefighters makes me feel like I did this already, many years ago. It’s just TOO simple, and it suffers for this overt simplicity.
I can only recommend it if you’re looking for an INSANELY simple space shooter with little to no depth and barely any variety. Otherwise, steer clear. Stay tuned for a review of an actual GOOD space shooter, Really Big Sky, coming soon. I threw this review together fast because hey, I could. ;)
Oh, I took some other screenshots, if you care. ;)