As the new year gets going, you might find yourself with less time to play AAA games. With the end of the holidays, you might also find yourself with less cash to plunk down on those AAA games, anyway. Bare Knuckle Development hopes for these or any other rationalizations that you can come up with to spend time and money on their small, budget-friendly game, Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo. Find out if it is worthy of a fiver in our Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo review.
Bring Your Own Commentary
With a name like (deep breath) Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo, you might expect some sort of parody on Capcom fighting games or the industry at large. But no, it just seems to have this name without making any sort of real commentary. Searching for this game is probably more annoying than it needs to be on the PlayStation Store, but the good news is typing in “Super Mega” is enough for it to show up in the results.
SMSBST is a top-down bullet hell arcade shooter, with cartoonish visuals that are crisp, perhaps because they are simple. The controls, however, are anything but. Players must manage the speed of their spaceships and can use R2 and L2 to accelerate and decelerate, respectively. Ships rotate on a separate axis from their momentum, and for ships that have a turret, bullets can be aimed with the right stick. It’s a lot to keep track of, but veterans of the franchise should have no issue controlling things. Audio work includes a fairly repetitive soundtrack, combined with audio that features lost astronauts occasionally yelling “help.” Each space ship also has an AI voice, which can be changed between a couple of different presets. One, an ostensibly Japanese voice, pronounces power-ups such as “big shot” as “biig shot-oh,” which is kind of grating.
The main game mode is Protect Mother, where players are asked to protect a mothership that occupies the lower third of the playfield. There is an actual story, where humans have royally screwed up Earth and in desperation sent nine motherships out into deep space to scan for habitable planets. One mothership found such a planet, but it was already occupied by intelligent lifeforms who are predictably protecting their planet. The player’s goal is to kill the “alien scum.” So, we play the invading force hellbent on killing lifeforms who were there first. I’m not sure that this game needed any sort of a storyline, but it’s here anyway.
At just $4.99 USD ($3.99 for PS Plus subscribers), you’d be forgiven for only expecting a few game modes of single-player in any game. But Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo features multiple modes, each of which includes two-player couch co-op, alongside a pair of competitive modes. It’s a wonderful inclusion that doesn’t seem to slow the action down except when a screen full of ricochet bullets are flying across the screen as a dozen or so enemies and asteroids lurch towards each player.
Earn Your Way
All of these modes earn players coins, which can be spent in the shop. New ships can be purchased, which have different stats and shapes. Some have more bullets or extra bombs, at the cost of something, such as fewer (or no!) shields, slower speed, etc. Pretty standard stuff, but there is a good handful of ships to unlock, something that you wouldn’t expect to see at this price point. Really, that’s the big surprise of Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo – there is a lot packed into this small release. Online leaderboards for every mode are also available, to keep players coming back to earn a spot.
Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo is easily worth the launch price of $4.99. Featuring a plethora of game modes and unlockables, there is a lot of unexpected depth to this simple-looking top-down space shooter. Couple that with local co-op and competitive modes, and there’s even more value to be found if you’ve got a gaming buddy. The challenging gameplay also ensures players will come back for just one more go. If you enjoy top-down, bullet hell inspired action, then check out Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo.
Super Mega Space Blaster Special Turbo review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.