Some people wonder if there’s intelligent life on other planets. Others wonder what sort of weapons we’ll need to shoot that life with. If you’re one of the latter, Space Pioneer is the game for you.
This is a third-person “twin-stick” shooter: think Robotron 2084, but with graphics more akin to Saturday morning cartoons than ’80s arcade classics.
And like Robotron it’s deceptively easy to play. Your left thumb moves your titular Pioneer and their robot companion around new and increasingly violent planets, and your right thumb fires your increasingly ridiculous weaponry.
We say “deceptively easy” because the enemy waves start hard and get harder, introducing ever more dangerous bosses that you’ll need every available power-up to defeat. You’ll deploy armed turrets and hurl grenades, upgrade your health and skills, and of course you’ll be able to access an ever more ludicrous arsenal.
But you can’t just run and gun your way to victory. Your weapon overheats, your turrets only last so long and there’s a big delay between chucking a grenade and being able to throw another one. To succeed you’ll need brains as well as brawn.
Space Pioneer is a cheeseburger of a game: instantly satisfying, alarmingly colourful and probably full of E-numbers. It’s a big, daft blast.