Published on June 13th, 2014 | by Ben Rueter0
In a typical tower defense game, goons will file in from the edges of your screen and you defend the tower or base. The game becomes gradually more difficult as the game progresses. But, for the most part, the tower is not mobile.
Space Run takes the tower, straps it to an empty hexagonal surface with thrusters and shoots it towards a destination, with a time limit in mind.
Space Run takes the fundamental tower defense game and races you against the enemies and the clock. Space Run from developer Passtech Games, delivers a unique and tense tower defense game.
Players control Captain Buck Mann, whose job—as a space runner—is to transport cargo from a variety of corporations from the left side of the screen to the right side.
Along the way, asteroids, boss encounters and enemies will approach from the edges of the screen as you blaze toward the delivery destination. You will have to place upon the the ship’s hull—which is viewed as a hexagonal surface—laser turrets, thrusters, ion cannons, shields and other upgradeable equipment to your ship in order to defend against what deep space throws at you.
Upon completion, you are awarded credits, which are used to upgrade equipment and unlock different defenses. Upgrading the ship will allow you to combat deadlier foes or you can return to a previous mission with better equipment to try to obtain a higher rating. A higher rating raises your reputation revealing more missions for bigger payloads.
The game simplicity is its strong point. If you fail, it is usually a matter of learning enemy attack patterns, which can play out in many different scenarios. Multiple enemies can warrant various counter defenses.
For example, ion cannons zap shields making it important to have at least one ion cannon pointed at an incoming pirate ship, but if you are tight on resources, you might have to recycle some laser turrets to cover building a missile launcher to counter an incoming asteroid field approaching from the other side of your ship. You’ll want to take advantage of destroying defenseless obstacles, like an asteroid as they will drop gold nuts used to build defenses on your ship.
Micromanaging is key in knowing when to recycle a component to create another module with hopes it won’t all be in vein. It becomes a tense dynamic.
On top of figuring out an effective counter, players are racing against the clock. Packages have a delivery deadline. If players miss it, it’s back to the garage.
What players are delivering plays a small part in the strategy as well. Over the course of the game, space running will gain the attention of various corporations. Some will want to transport nuclear products and other will want to transport people. Placing these transports takes up space on the hexagonal ship’s hull, which changes in each level allowing for a potential “best option” for each run if players choose to replay levels for either a best time or a higher rating.
Each CEO has their own personality as does Buck Mann and his ship’s AI. Each character has a unique voice and whit adding some humor in between package drops. The game never takes itself too seriously. Buck’s AI co-pilot will reply to your piloting with snarky remarks, but the AI chatter never gets too chatty.
The cartoon art style brings some visual charm to Space Run. The modules you will place on the hex grid fit the game’s light-hearted tone and each piece complements the next piece on your hull. A turret never looks out of place next to a thruster. When every grid hex has a module installed on it, the ship feels complete and deadly.
It’s unfortunate it’s only on PC, Mac and Linux at the moment, since its simple yet customizable missions would lend themselves well to a mobile platform. The bottom line is, Space Run is a great little strategy game that applies a unique approach to a genre that’s quickly becoming repetitive.
4 out of 5