Super Mega Space Blaster Special is a shooter game by Bare Knuc kle Dev which takes on a “play in short bursts” philosophy, which can be played singleplayer or local two player.
The game has three modes: Protect Mother, Survival and To The Death (which I have not played, available in multiplayer only). In all cases, your ship is always flying forwards and cannot be stopped, and you must smartly navigate around the map, avoiding asteroids, enemy ships and the borders of the screen, adding an element of challenge similar to what you can find in a classic such as Asteroids. Even your ship’s weapon is limited by your ammunition, forcing you to always replenish it whenever you can.
The two modes I have played bring different conditions to the table. In Protect Mother, a mothership is situated at the bottom of the screen, needing protection from enemy attacks and asteroids. If you’re relentless with your attacks, the mothership aids you through its cannons and supplies, which you can manually choose. In Survival, your ship will keep shooting and uses up its fuel, forcing you to always defend yourself while grabbing ammo and fuel replenishments.
All playthroughs start slowly, with the enemies yet to appear on-screen. As you continue surviving, you’ll come upon a diverse set of defensive and offensive powerups, such as explosive shots, or shots that shoot forwards and backwards, as well as protective barriers and shields. Depending on your play style, any of these powerups can be immensely satisfying, especially if you can aim it right. To aid with the challenging navigation, you also have the choice of boosting or braking, but overdoing any of these will cause your ship to go back to its normal speed, adding another layer of challenge.
The game itself also starts slowly and painfully, especially since it can be a while until you collect enough coins to purchase one of the better ships – you don’t get coins all that quickly. The first available ship only shoots forwards, which makes it troublesome since you must steer it in a precise manner, while others can just manually aim with the mouse and not worry about precise steering. The available ships all have various stats, such as different speeds, whether it comes with bombs or not, how many turrets are available, and whether you’re deployed with a shield on you or not.
The game does not hold back with giving you a challenge. Between finite resources and enemies quickly taking over the screen along with their bullets, and your own ship’s navigation, you would be hard pressed to survive any more than three minutes. A good half of my runs lasted roughly thirty seconds, with some of my worst offenses being running into the borders.
What I don’t like about Super Mega Space Blaster Special is twofold, the first being the lack of a regular mode, where your ship isn’t running low on fuel or automatically draining your ammo. The second is the lack of an itch.io or DRM-free build. I’m certainly not a fan of using Steam to play my games.
Super Mega Space Blaster Special is a game that has a strong grasp of gameplay in short bursts that holds back no punches, although the difficulty of obtaining coins means it would be a while until you can unlock one of the later, better ships.
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