Game Info:

Deep Space Rush
Developed by: BUG-Studio
Published by: Ratalaika Games
Release date: October 22, 2019
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Arcade Platformer
Number of players: Single player
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language
Price: $4.99

Thank you, Ratalaika Games, for sending us a review key!

It does not take long to see all of what Deep Space Rush has to offer. What is in the game offers little reason to keep picking it up. This side-scrolling shooter sends the player into a station to stop an alien infection, and there they are returned, back to the beginning of a randomized station, after each death. The most progression offered is increasing enemy variety as the areas go by and a pool of upgrades at the occasional healing shop. It does not take long to buy all upgrades, and once you do, there is little more to work toward. The shooting gameplay is not enjoyable enough to encourage repeated play sessions. Though I have kept playing to attempt to get further down the procedurally-generated hallway, I felt done with Deep Space Rush in a couple of hours.

A guide for the simple controls - move back and forth, jump, and shoot - appear whenever the game is started. The first time you play, you are given brief instructions on what your character is entering a space station for. This speech sets the barest amount of narrative and includes the only swear word in the game, d*mn, once. The speaker also tells the player not to bother leaving witnesses. This may be immoral; fortunately, the game has no innocent NPCs to hurt that I could find. Deep Space Rush cannot be faulted for containing story or gameplay filler, which is good in an arcade shooter.

Deep Space Rush

Strong Points: A few clever guns and power-ups
Weak Points: Few and underwhelming upgrades; limited motion hinders combat; little incentive to overcome difficulty
Moral Warnings: One use of d*mn; alien blood; player kills aliens with guns and explosions; aliens, turrets, and traps attack the player; the player is instructed to leave no witnesses in opening dialog

The gameplay is underwhelming, mostly due to level navigation. There are a variety of guns, and while most are interchangeable, all feel useful. One gun that bounces beams off the walls and another that seals enemies in a bubble are particularly fun and powerful. Movement and jumping are less satisfying. It’s not that they are unresponsive; it is more that they feel inadequate. Deep Space Rush is a game that demands precision to stay alive but lacks polish in in the challenges it presents. Traps are the most common culprits. The tendency of the procedural generator to jam traps close together makes navigation more frustrating than fulfilling. Flashing laser walls differ from each other in frequency and sometimes are quite close together. Spikes are sometimes enemies in disguise that will leap out of the ground when the player attempts to pass them. If there’s a way to distinguish the enemies in disguise from immobile traps, I haven’t discovered it. While trying to pass laser walls, there is not a good way to draw out hidden jumping aliens. The final element making mobility a chore are enemies that explode, taking out the ground with them. They detonate whether they reach the player or are shot away, so there is always the possibility of crossing a chasm while avoiding laser walls and hoping spike monsters don’t rise from the ground.

This may sound exciting, and I believe the game’s marketing material would include this under “challenging.” But the character’s jumps simply don’t feel suited to dealing with all these in quick succession in addition to the standard enemies. While the spikes, turrets, and lasers encourage care, the enemies encourage sprinting. It is just easier not to deal with the alien threats directly, because the player can only aim a gun forward or backward.

Deep Space Rush
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 56%
Gameplay - 9/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 9/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

The aliens have decent variety. They jump, teleport, burst into goo (further hampering mobility), and fall from the ceiling. This last group attempts to latch onto the character’s face, disrupting control for several seconds. I’m not sure this has ever gotten me killed, but that may be because it’s the enemy I prioritize so that I don’t fall into a hole.

Besides guns, the player also unlocks a speed boost and a shield. The shield is a reprieve, letting the player zap all enemies on contact. The boost is a killer, making navigation over spikes and under lasers harder. It might be worth focusing on shield upgrades while ignoring the red boost completely. The other unlockables are guns followed by gun upgrades. The gun upgrades are probably useful, but their incremental increases do not give great boosts in power. Worse, everything is unlocked relatively quickly. Without compelling music or graphics, the loop of runs feels monotonous. Deaths, whether alien or player, are not gory. The low detail violence is the main potential moral concern.

I encountered a few sound and visual glitches while playing Deep Space Rush. All were amusing in some way and did not hamper progress, so I don’t hold them against the game too much. Yet the game does not have much to offer on the whole. The gameplay is limited and difficult without great incentive or help in trying to perform well. Even for the low price, I do not recommend Deep Space Rush.


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