Sunday, June 12, 2016
By: Matthew Doucette
Here is the full review:
Score Rush Extended
Developer(s): Xona Games
Rating: E for Everyone
Reviewed on PS4 by Isaac Proch
June 12, 2016
Score Rush Extended is an 80's arcade shmup at the core and fans won't be disappointed.
Two different game modes are offered, those being “score rush” and “boss rush.” The first, score rush is the standard way of playing and you progress through waves of enemies to reach a boss fight. The boss fights fill your screen with bright neon colors and your ship must move quickly and precisely through gaps. The mechanics are polished and the controls never get in the way of your fun. The game keeps it simple and effectively forces players to rely on skill. A feature that is mentioned in the menus is that when the screen shakes your player ship is immune to enemy shots.
Upon learning this I thought, “great, that will help a lot!” However, I quickly realized that there is an issue. The screen shakes are very hard to notice and this could mean that the shakes are not animated enough to stand out or just the fact that there is so much going on at one time in your view that the screen shakes are hidden. Either way, screen shakes being an opportunity to save yourself were not reliable. This leads to one my complaint for Score Rush Extended and that is the moments of frustration where you have no bombs and die from being overwhelmed. Granted, I’m not the best shmup player out there but I would consider my reflexes better than the average person.
The classic shmup formula of vibrant colors, fast paced mechanics, and addictive high scores are what fuel Score Rush Extended from Xona Games. The visuals resemble an old arcade cabinet that would absorb your quarters and the audio matches the fast paced gameplay effectively. You command a ship that is controlled with the left analog stick and your weapon is controlled with the other. Precision, movement, and your ability to time your bombs well are the things that you need to succeed in Score Rush Extended.
Score Rush Extended shines mechanically and keeps the gimmicks at home. I had a blast trying to best my high score and make it to the next boss. The multiplayer will keep you coming back and the frustration is more often than not pushed aside by the end your current run. Expect a solid arcade shoot em’ up and you won’t be disappointed.
Turning back to the positives and other features, Score Rush Extended also offers the boss rush mode. This mode is a drastic difference from the first and tasks players with beating the bosses back to back to back. Variation is fantastic for this game and even just the second option adds plenty of replayability. Another feature worth stating is that you can adjust the settings for tons of stuff. From enemy shot colors, to the way the effects light up the screen. Don’t want to play through this alone? No worries, it has awesome four player co-op that adds another layer and reason to playing the game. Just like most other games, being able to have your friends jump in and out is what keeps the competitive gaming spirit alive.
Arcade style with addictive mechanics, perfect for arcade shooter fans that want a challenge!
Visuals and presentation
Simple mechanics that rely on skill
The "screen shake" invincibility
Replay value not too high
A Note on Screen Shake Invincibility:
An unwritten rule in the games industry is that you are not supposed to review the reviewer. It almost always backfires on the developer. However I wish to explain the point of the screen shake invincibility mechanic.
The point of the screen shake invincibility is to avoid unfair deaths. That is it. When the screen is shaking -- from boss explosions -- we make you invicible so that you never die and then blame the game for being unable to see the bullets. The mechanic was never meant to be a part of the gameplay, however we understood that expert players might make use of it.
I do not understand how one can not see when the screen is shaking, as the entire screen shakes when it is shaking. It is something that is so interrupting visually that we made you invincible while it happens, if you get my point. I am confused by this criticism and do not know what to say. It is the first time I have heard criticism of this mechanic. The irony is the mechanic was introduced to avoid criticisms and yet the critics still find a way to criticize! And it become one of the lead "cons" of the game in this review.
I have a feeling -- I do not know if this is true -- but I have a feeling that the game is so chaotic to some players that they cannot interpret what is happening and will see things that do not exist (and not see things that do exist). I have experienced this numerous times in our beta testing sessions. If this is the case, then it can be explained away with confusion caused by chaos.
In other beta testing and reviews the hitbox has been criticized, because the reviewer did not understand the bullet hell style hitbox -- which is explained in the "how to play" section of the game. It caused an understanding that the hitbox calculations are inconsistent where the player then does not trust what is happening on the screen. It's a horrible experience to have, and one that we fight so hard in our design to avoid. The point of mentioning this is when you no longer trust the game, it begins to deliver ugly experiences. Interestingly, learning about the actual game mechnics can immediatley solve the situation.
There is also the possibility that someone expects the screen to still be shaking longer than it does, and then dies accordingly. It was not a gameplay mechanic inteded for such usage. But, if the screen is even shaking a single pixel, you can not die. I could almost conclude it is expanded expectations at fault. The solution would be to maintain invincibility much pass the point of where the screen stops shaking.
As an end note, I want to thank Isaac Proch for the review. 80% is not bad at all. Thanks.
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 $190,000 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.