Survive in space is a mess on many levels. It's core gameplay isn't too bad but gets hamstrung by weird decisions, it's side systems of progression and upgrades are confusing at best and the game has some UI and tone issues. It seemed neat at first glance, but after playing it for a while, I realized I wasn't having any fun with it and had to stop. I'm still looking in my quest for good arcade space shooters with RPG elements, but Reign of Bullets was much better.

I was confused by the abilities and shipyard menus of the game; In one of them, you can upgrade your specific guns - you have the basic auto-fire attack, a cooldown-based laser and a longer cooldown homing missile - and you can upgrade them separately. Why can you upgrade the bonus experience you get for each weapon? Does it mean that you get more experience if you kill enemies with that specific weapon? Why are there upgrades for cooldowns for the auto-fire gun? Does it means that it shoots faster? Why are there three rows of the same icons for the upgrades? Shouldn't there be only 11 upgrades that you could spend multiple points in? The player tab is pretty straightforward, you spend separate skill points into passively boosting your stats. The shipyard tab presents you with the multiple ships you can choose but a big chunk of the UI is spent telling you things that don't change between ships, while each ship has specific unlockable upgrades that are almost unexplained.

The map system is fine, you have a bunch of levels with varying number of waves - although it's very unclear what a wave is - and you can add difficulty modifiers to get more experience. Once you get in the game, you shoot by holding a key and can use your two other abilities by pressing others. You also have orbs floating around your ship that help you defeat shorter range enemies. Pressing R will switch your character between offense and defense mode, and each of those buffs and debuffs some of your abilities, it's a neat risk/reward thing. The music and voice acting are very irritating, so I quickly turned all of those off. Enemies take forever to defeat, it's nice that you see their health, but plinking away at it forever for the simplest foe was frustrating. Some enemies were also flying just past where my straight shots could hit them, which also wasn't very fun.

Then there's the weirdness around the UI and some aspects of the game that made me think that the assets were lifted from another product. You're clearly firing missiles and lasers and using spaceship abilities, but the game is full of icons that look like generic MMO fare. The upgrades talk of life leech and 'spell damage' and there are some bits of UI that seem undone - like the New Label left in some spots. It's too bad, because I thought this game showed promise when I looked at the store page. In the end, it ended being too confusing and frustrating to be enjoyable, so I stopped shortly after the first boss.

AuthorJérémie Tessier