Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By: Matthew Doucette
Here is the review in full (links and bolded added by us):
Review: Score Rush
Xona Games has done it again with their shoot-em-up indie game, Score Rush. Just like with Decimation X3, Xona Games has grabbed a classic genre (this time Shmups), polished the gameplay and graphics, and added some insanely great music to give you a gaming experience that’s guaranteed to keep you coming back for more. With that said, not only is Score Rush one of the best shmups I’ve played in a long time, but for the price, it very well may be one of the best indie games I’ve played on the XBLA –ever.
Score Rush is a very simple game to just pick up and play, but it requires much more than that to master it, as you will see when you give it a try. The premise of the game is quite simple: survive. As long as you can kill your enemies, dodge all of their fire, and defeat the bosses, you will be just fine. Easy as it may sound, this proves to be quite the task, as the waves continue and the bosses keep coming, bombarding their bullet-hell upon you. As you destroy more enemy ships, you gain more weapon upgrades as well as little ships to add to your ever-growing “tail,” which also shoot more bullets to help you progress.
The controls, like any other dual-stick shoot ‘em up, require that you maneuver yourself with either the left thumbstick or d-pad, and that you aim/shoot with your right thumbstick. What really stood out in the controls, however, was how smooth they were. In bullet-hell games, the slightest error can mean death, and when lives are limited and you want to get to that big bad boss, controls mean everything. Powered by the award-winning Duality Engine, the controls for Score Rush were smooth and elegant, giving me a complete grasp of my ship, and never failing me. Even in the tightest situations, the controls allowed me to go through the smallest cracks, avoiding death by millimeters.
Once again, as with Decimation X3, I found myself in love with the soundtrack of Score Rush. Straying away from the techno mix that was featured in DX3, Xona Games teamed up with Dragon Music and added a power-rock/metal score to Score Rush, giving the game a truly epic feel that was matched by its gameplay. Though there was only one track looping throughout the whole game (excluding the final boss), the track never got old. I had to listen hard to realize that there was a loop, and even then I didn’t mind. The music was perfect for the game, and it had me entranced throughout the experience. The graphics also suited the game perfectly. With polished retro graphics, Score Rush brought me back in time once again, and did it with style. It looked as good as it played and sounded.
To sum it up, the game was nothing short of a audio/visual indie orgasm, and I mean that in the best way possible. As good as the aesthetics and controls were, what really set Score Rush apart from the rest was its multiplayer action. I invited a few friends over to share the experience with me, and they quickly became just as obsessed with it as I was. We found ourselves screaming and yelling at one another, begging for another chance, and trying our best to dodge the bullet hell that was raining over all of us. We had ourselves a great time, and even when it got hard, we were never angry –we just wanted to play more. This is what gaming should always be like, and it was good to once again experience the feeling that I had missed for so long.
One thing that may bother some users about the game, however, was a slight lag. And when I say slight, I mean slight. The issue only occurred one time throughout the game for me, and that was when all of my buddies and I were collecting powerups before the final boss, and tons of colors were flying across the screen, causing us to lag a bit, but that was it. It didn’t bother any of us, and no other issue of lag occurred throughout the game; still, I thought it was worth mentioning. The only other complaint that I have is that the game had to end. After all the fun and frantic gaming that occurred, I was sad when it ended, but I was just as happy to grab my sticks and go through it all over again.
There is one thing that I feel the need to mention –a quote that was used on Score Rush from Malc at Shmups.com: “Shmups can be picked up for 10 minutes, and enjoyed fully in that space of time. They can literally last for decades. Perfect for modern busy lifestyles –a short, intense burst of pure gameplay. But they’re often severely misunderstood by today’s gamers.” This statement couldn’t fit Score Rush any better if it tried. You pick it up, play it, beat it, and love it. It won’t leave you. This is a game that you will always be able to come back to. Also as stated, sadly, this is a game that might be misunderstood by some of today’s gamers. Some people just can’t play the classics anymore, and if that’s you, then why are you reading this anyway? The point is, please, don’t be that gamer. Get this game now and play it. You won’t regret it.
Xbox Live Arcade
Publisher: Xona Games
Developer: Xona Games
Genre: Shoot ‘em Up
Release Date: December 9, 2010
MSRP: 80 MSP ($1)
Doin’ It RIGHT:
- Amazing music
- Incredible multiplayer
Doin’ It RONG:
- Slightest lag issue towards the end
- It had to end
FINAL SCORE: 10 / 10
We'll forgive him for the "slightest lag issue at the end", as we actually coded in what we call the "slowdown syndrome" that was common in old arcade shmups when things got very intense. Trust me, tiny slowdown is only a godsend when it appears! The game actually runs at a smooth 60fps (nothing but) 99% of the time.
Spawn Kill is now offline. Please visit web archive for the original review:
That is all!
About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $180,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.