Game Review | Space Run Galaxy

VITALS:

  • TITLE: Space Run Galaxy
  • DEVELOPER: Passtech Games
  • PUBLISHER: Focus Home Interactive
  • PLATFORM: PC (Steam)
  • GENRE: Strategy
  • RELEASED: June 17, 2016
  • PRICE: $19.99 USD

If you’ve never heard of Space Run, you’re probably not alone. It was a space-themed strategy title from 2014 that involved running various cargo and passengers on dangerous missions from one sector of space to the next. The main character of that game, Buck Mann, plays a pretty big role in Space Run Galaxy, Passtech’s just-released sequel.

For starters, it’s worth pointing out here that Passtech is a one-man operation by Sylvain Passot that started in 2012. Space Run was Passot’s first venture, though to say it (and this game) was a solo venture wouldn’t be accurate. The games were assembled as part of a larger joint venture with several smaller studios and independent developers helping out, and you can see the full list of contributors here.

Space Run Galaxy takes place in 2545, a time when humanity seems to have colonized the far reaches of the galaxy. Things start off with the player’s character, captain of their own small vessel, getting the attention of Buck Mann who would like for them to join his “Space Run” courier company and make runs for him. Why? Well, naturally to be able to explore the depths of space, encounter new races, and…make money! The tutorial portion of the game does a good enough job showing you the basics and helping teach you the ropes, but in my view it was completely skipable as the main game campaign starts off easily enough and gets you ready for the more challenging portions.

It’s easy to want to shoehorn this game into a set category. Is it a space sim of some sort? Is it a straight-up strategy game? Is it a shoot ’em up title? Is it a tower defense game? Or maybe it’s something else altogether? Trying to nail down an exact category for this one is kind of pointless because it draws heavily from multiple areas to create a uniquely-fun gameplay experience.

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Your ship in the game is actually a modular construction made of hexagonal sections, and this is important for several reasons. Your main goal in each mission (or “run”) is naturally to keep the ship’s bridge intact at all times (e.g. to survive!) and your secondary objective is to make sure the cargo arrives in one piece. As you begin to build up credits during your run, you’ll be able to use those credits to purchase upgrades on-the-fly. You’ll most certainly want to put together different weapons or energy cannons very early on in the run and you’ll also probably want a shield generator or two once you have the ability to craft one. You can also add thrusters to your ship in order to speed it up a good bit, but what you’ll really need to do is decide what’s more important to you: durability, attack power, or speed. There are different reward tiers for completing a mission with faster times, but rushing through a mission and getting the cargo damaged (or the ship destroyed!) in the process likely isn’t worth it.

With each mission, it’s all about deciding when to place things are where to place them. Between missions, you’ll have the ability to interact with different NPCs at the space ports (no, you don’t get to explore them, it’s all done with a nice UI) which will allow you to unlock new abilities and modules, and even purchase new sections to expand your ship. Eventually, you’ll probably have a massive behemoth of a warship at your disposal, but your journey will start off pretty small and modest and work its way up from there.

The game’s graphics are pretty solid. The cutscenes are fairly detailed and look pretty great, and the in-game graphics are passable enough all things considered. There’s also a very high level of finesse that went into the character portraits and other stills seen in the UI. Yet, where the game really shines in the asset department is with the voice acting because, with as small a team as they had working on this game, they really assembled a great voice cast and put together some fantastic acting. I’ve played many games with mediocre or absolutely horrid voice overs, but this game really did well in this area.

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The game is advertised as multiplayer, but don’t let that worry you if you’re not a huge fan of shared online experiences. Where this will mainly apply to most players is in the presence of an online marketplace and the ability to accept player-made runs/missions and even generate your own missions for others to play. In this respect, it’s kind of like Diablo III or similar titles.

Although the game is currently $16.99 USD on Steam, its full non-sale price is $19.99. When I write a review and think about whether or not a game is worth recommending, I do factor in the asking price versus the overall experience (not just length of the game, but quality too). So, with Space Run Galaxy, I don’t have any problem recommending it at full price if you are a fan of strategy titles and especially tower defense-style games of this nature. If you just want to get your feet wet and you’re not 100% sold on this, though, then I’d suggest letting it hang out for a while and maybe picking it up during a Steam sale or as part of a bundle.

Overall, I think Space Run Galaxy is a cleverly-designed production with a lot of built in value to it, and so I’d confidently rate it as:

“VERY GOOD”

Jessica Brown

Retro Games and Technology Editor. She'll beat pretty much every Mega Man game without breaking a sweat.

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