Calling Jules Verne! We hope you included a harpoon gun in your defensive load-out.

Star Trucking Across the Universe with Space Run Galaxy

Space Run Galaxy is a tower defense game with an interesting twist in that it is more dependent upon your reflexes than the average game of this genre. It’s also the, much-improved, sequel to 2014’s sleeper hit, Space Run.

Like with it’s predecessor, in Space Run Galaxy you control a character who is tasked with transporting intergalactic cargo that, for some reason or another, is constantly under siege by pirates, aliens, and large, tentacled space monsters. Does Space Run Galaxy offer enough to make it a worth a play or other tower defense games? Let’s find out.

Seriously, do you think he might be overcompensating for something?
Seriously, do you think he might be overcompensating for something?

For those unfamiliar with tower defense games, in titles like these, players will be tasked with setting up a large variety of defenses in order to stave off oncoming threats. In older games, specifically those by which the genre was named, players would set up various towers to create a maze that enemies, called creeps, would have to navigate, and creeps reaching the castle resulted in a loss for the player.

Traditionally, this genre was more for those who liked to think ahead instead of relying on twitch reflexes, in which Space Run Galaxy blurs those genre lines a bit by demanding more player involvement than some of its predecessors. The game also lacks a pause feature for when the situation reaches its most tense, because eventually enough will be thrown at you simultaneously that you will place turrets, upgrades, etc., without using a great deal of forethought.

The quiet planning stage before the very noisy storm to come.
The quiet planning stage before the very noisy storm to come.

Space Run Galaxy has towers by another name – you have hexagonal spaces on your ship in which you can place weapons and support units that will stave off attackers, and these weapons can range from plasma cannons, to missile launchers, even a gun that fires massive amounts of electricity to vaporize hostiles. Proper placement and utilization of these weapons is the most important aspect of Space Run Galaxy: Weapons have specific firing arcs, directions, or ranges that can be overwhelmingly efficient or horrendously useless depending upon position, alone. Haphazardly placing a turret pointed north, when no enemies are coming from that direction, can be a significant strain on resources that would have been better to avoid altogether.

Missions are spread across a variety of contracts, some of them being story missions, while others are side quests. These contracts award the player with valuable experience and resources that can be utilized to strengthen your ship, with faster runs providing even better rewards. These improvements are funneled to the player at a constant rate, though at the beginning there are some pretty large difficulty spikes; you may find yourself grinding side quests to get enough upgrades in order to make it out of the first sector.

So many missions, so much opportunity for profit...and death.
So many missions, so much opportunity for profit…and death.

Progression is a constant factor in Space Run Galaxy. Story missions guide you throughout the game’s four distinct sections of the galaxy, and these provide significant rewards quickly. Side quests offer opportunities for money and other random goodies, quickly, especially if you can complete the missions at a fast rate. Each contract a player takes will have you attempting to survive, with cargo intact, for a certain amount of time, during which you will be accosted by space fighters, pirates, and even giant Japanese porn stars (giant space squid). Devoting more of your resources to propulsion systems will result in faster missions, which can be invaluable in a game that emphasizes quickly reaching the goal.

Interestingly, Space Run Galaxy affords players a significant amount of flexibility in how they actually accomplish the contracts. Cargo takes up precious space on your ship that could be used for something more important, and to add on top of that, sometimes they have characteristics that impact how players should handle it. More volatile cargo, like fuel tanks, could start a ship-wide fire if damaged which can cause hefty problems during a run. Not to mention, players are also able to decide if they’d like to do additional runs to carry less of the items at one time, such as carrying a piece of cargo with potential to explode your whole ship if damaged by itself, and then getting the rest on a second run. The game really allows you to use your own creativity to solve problems, and gives you a lot of room for decision making.

Enemy at 7 o'clock! Hope we put enough defenses in that sector.
Enemy at 7 o’clock! Hope we put enough defenses in that sector.

The graphics for Space Run Galaxy look reasonable, and most everything can be visually understood without having to strain your eyes. The visuals of the game look crisp and clean, though this won’t max out a GTX 1080 or anything, as the ship’s model is fairly simplistic and there are few impressive visual effects. The soundtrack is quite pleasant, on the other hand, and the voice acting is great. The actors seemed to have quite a good time with the script, as the confidence, even in the most sarcastic of lines, comes across very naturally.

Calling Jules Verne! We hope you included a harpoon gun in your defensive load-out.
Calling Jules Verne! We hope you included a harpoon gun in your defensive load-out.

Overall, Space Run Galaxy is a fun little twist on the tower defense genre. Anyone who enjoyed Desktop Tower Defense, Defense Grid, the Awakening, or even Plants vs. Zombies would probably find a lot to love in Space Run Galaxy. Those who dislike tower defense should stay far, far away from Space Run Galaxy as, while it does several mechanics differently, it still adheres to enough of the core formula that it wouldn’t suddenly change the mind of someone who hates the genre. Notwithstanding, the need to grind at a very early stage of the game could also be a momentous turnoff to others. There is a lot of good stuff in Space Run Galaxy, stretching from the dialogue to the core mechanics and intensive use of resource management systems, so anyone interested in these kinds of games could find a lot to love here.


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