- Developer: Bare Knuckle Development
- Publisher: Bare Knuckle Development
- Release Date: 14/01/2020
- Price: $4.99 / £3.99
- Review code provided by Bare Knuckle Development
Welcome to another edition of Kid’s Corner. In this review, my son Conner and I take on the challenge of a lengthy titled arcade shooter called Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo. As with our other Kid’s Corner segments, I let my son put Super Mega through the ringer. Once he felt he had a good grasp of the game, I took over and spent my own time with this frenetic Shmup. Once we had both sunk some time into the crowded outer space setting, we convened to tackle two player mode and discuss our thoughts. Read on to see the game is as gaudy as the title.
Pew Pew Pew
As stated above, Super Mega is a Shmup. If you’re not familiar with the term it’s a shortened way of describing a “Shoot ‘em up” game. Essentially a game where you lay on the horn of your firing button and let bullets fly with no abandon. In most of these games, bullets are limitless. In Super Mega there’s a finite amount of ammo. More than once we expended our offensive power and had to hope some asteroids would collide to dispense precious fire power. These games, and Super Mega is no different, plaster the screen with an assortment of floating or flying obstacles which will bring about the destruction of your little craft if you’re not careful. It takes masterful control to zip, fire and dodge to survive a shmup. Also called bullet-hell for clear reason. Fortunately in Super Mega, only a few enemies actually fire back.
Conner said it best when claiming Super Mega has difficult controls. When first jumping in, the game is extremely difficult. Even after we spent solo time and started our multiplayer sessions, we fell victim to tough controls. In one example, we played a mode which pits you against each other and removes all the floating debris. Instead the maps had set obstacles with a larger presence. I won our first bout 18 to 3. I only shot down my son on one occasion. The remaining wins came from him piloting his craft into sizable teeth or other odd obstructions, as the maps were randomized and varied.
That doesn’t mean you should give up hope. Conner noticed that once you get used to the way your ship moves it becomes easier. Sometimes you just need patience or ease the thrust. Conner also admired the many other game modes. One has you protecting your mother ship. It’s as straightforward as it sounds. At the bottom of the screen is your home base which you have to defend by blasting debris, bombs and other ill intenders. Survival has you trying to stay alive as long as possible and save the colonists will send you around the map picking up floating astronauts.
A Game by Many Names
All of these modes are fun to play and provide a high level of challenge. One thing that stood out to both of us was the long load times and often short play times. It wasn’t uncommon to start a level to die within seconds then wait twice that just to get back in. This was especially glaring in the 1v1 duels when you explode within a second of the start and constantly have to return to the selection screen.
Solo play offers a mediocre experience in comparison to co-op play. Both Conner and I agreed that the solo games were tough to stay engaged in and got repetitive too quickly. However, once you team up to save mother or colonists, it’s a different story. Super Mega really shines when you pass a Joy-Con to your son, friend or any other capable pilot. I noticed it was much easier to control with a single Joy-Con instead of having dual thumb-sticks. It was much more addictive and includes leaderboards to boot.
Conner really enjoyed the graphics in Super Mega. I fully agree with him. They’re simple, clean and clear. It was easy to tell your bullets apart from enemies and what was a power up instead of another piece of floating death. The music is interesting and has a catchy space theme which matches the game. The sound effects were adequate and defined.
Save the People!
From a technical aspect, I was bothered with the long load times between bouts. For a small game where death is quick and constant, it felt like a chore continually trying to get back into the fray. Conner did mention that he died with nothing around and was pretty upset by that. Especially since he was going for a two minute challenge and was nearly there. I happened to be watching and can vouch to the validity of his claim as he’d just used a bomb power up to clear the screen and he was indeed alone. Sure, it’s possible we missed something, but in any case it was a one off. Handheld mode worked well but we eventually avoided tabletop mode due to the cluttered maps and difficulty of navigation. Playing two-player on the television was our preferred method by far.
Conner closed that Super Mega can be challenging when first starting out but is well worth your time to play. He highly recommends it, especially for the price. It’s very addictive once you have the controls down and there are several modes to shake things up. Playing with another pilot is the highlight of this retro inspired game, and any shmup fan should download it right away. Especially if they have a player two nearby.
- Crazy Unchained Challenging Gameplay Chunks
- Extraordinary Endlessly Fantastical Flying Fun
- Totally Tubular Two Player Tacked On
- Long Confusing Name, Longer Load Times
- Repetitive Solo Play
Conner and I both agree that despite it’s long title, Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo is worth its cost for an exciting co-op challenge.