Spacejacked is a tower defense/action game developed and produced by Rotten Mage. Originally released for PC back in 2016, Spacejacked came to PS4 on April 26th earlier this year. What sets Spacejacked apart from other tower defense games is its fast pace and a gravity mechanic similar to that of the cult classic NES game Metal Storm. This change from the usual genre mechanics, alongside a great retro art style and music, come together to create a great experience.
In Spacejacked you play as Dave Paprovsky, an engineer on his first ever space mission. Your ship is attacked by a mysterious alien force that proceeds to kidnap your cremates and try to destroy your vessel. In order to survive, you must use your skills to build turrets to fend off the invading alien scum.
The story for Spacejacked is simple and straightforward. After surviving a few waves the story progresses, having a minimal amount of writing, though what is there is well written. While it leans towards a more comedic side, things never get too goofy. Bonus points for not relying on sci-fi references instead of actual writing.
Spacejacked is primarily a 2D tower defense game, and as such the main gameplay objective is to defend specific points from enemies using different turrets. While the pool of turrets to choose from is pretty small, Spacejacked manages to make itself stand out through the use of a simple gravity and blaster mechanic. These come together to create a more adrenaline pumping experience than most other games of the genre.
The player is able to build three different turrets throughout the game, with each one being upgradable and having an alternate mode of fire. These include a fast firing plasma gun, a powerful but slow laser, and a stasis turret that slows enemies progress. To build and upgrade these towers the player will need to use metal, which can be collected from fallen enemies. Metal can also be used to purchase character upgrades and to repair consoles that have been damaged.
Of course, the turrets won't be doing all of the work. The player character has access to a blaster to help take out enemies. The main downside to the blaster is that it needs to cool down after awhile, though this, as well as the damage, can be upgraded with metal. The player moves around the map by shifting their gravity. while you lack a jump, you can reach higher platforms through clever switching of your position, hoping from the ground to ceiling with the ease.
As you may have noticed, metal is a very important resource in Spacejacked. In addition to metal picked up from enemies, you can also play a mini-game called Metallius'. Taking the form of a 2D space shooter, similar to Galaga, but horizontal instead of vertical, this mini-game allows you to get the additional metal to bolster your defenses.
There is also a fair amount of enemy variety throughout the game. In addition to standard "strong/slow and weak/fast" enemies, there are also enemies that cling to walls, will damage the player, and even ones that will dismantle your turrets. On their own, they aren't to difficult to handle, but all together they can lead to you having a bad time,
Should you get complete or get bored with the main story mode, you can also take on special challenges and the endless mode. Th latter is fairly self-explanatory, take on harder and harder waves for as long as you can. Challenge missions will put have special conditions that to spice up the experience, with each one being graded with a three-star system. These provide a nice challenge for those looking for more.
The one thing I have to criticize Spacejacked that its difficulty curve flat lines midway through the game. By In the first few levels I had a fair amount of trouble progressing, but as I kept playing and collected more metal the game got easier and easier. By the second half of the game not only did I not fail any more waves, I managed to do it without the console taking a single hit.
A large part of this is due to the way that turrets work in this game. With the exception of one specific enemy, the towers are not attacked, and as such have free reign to unload on anyone that gets to close. In addition, my own experience led me to the conclusion that quantity outweighs quality in this situation. For the cost of one upgrade, I could build an additional two turrets, and in almost all cases this is the best option.
Graphics and Sound
Spacejacked has a nicely done pix-elated artstyle similar in fashion to games like Rogue Legacy. Characters are well animated, and there is a wide variety of colors used. Even more impressive is that they manage to do this without having the issue of characters blending in with the background or clashing to hard.
The game has a nice chiptune soundtrack, though I will say there isn't a huge variety in the music options. That being said, what is there is very well done and adds to the fast-paced action. The blaster and turret firing sounds are good, managing not to get on one's nerves after extended use. It would be nice If enemies had sound effects attached to them.
Spacejacked is overall a fun and exciting, if not very challenging experience. If anything it proves that the addition of even a simple mechanic, in this case, the gravity mechanic, can add a whole new level to a game. For those who like tower defense and want a fresh experience, it is a must play, though those who like a harder game may leave a bit disappointed
|+ Great, fast-paced gameplay||– Not very challenging|
|+ Nice, colorful artstyle||– Lack of turret variety|
|+ Good music|