We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Rotten Mage for the review copy of Spacejacked used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In Spacejacked you play as Space Technician Dave Paprovsky. Your spaceship is being attacked by aliens and being the only technician on board you are tasked with stopping the aliens from destroying the ship. Dave’s ship includes four different compartments which Dave needs to move between in order to stop the alien invaders. Dave has two tools to help him in this task.
His first tool is his trusty blaster. This mechanic plays like a traditional 2D side scrolling shooter. The blaster has to recharge though so you can’t keep firing the blaster. As you gather resources (metal) you can upgrade the power and duration of the blaster.
Dave can also build towers that will help him fight off the aliens. Each compartment has pads where Dave can build towers to help him. There are three different towers which include the fast shooting/machine gun tower, the tower that slows down enemies, and the slow firing but powerful tower. Each tower can be further upgraded two levels and each tower has two different settings which determines how the towers work.
The one unique thing about the tower defense mechanic is its’ focus on speed. In most tower defense games you just build your towers and hope that your defenses will destroy the enemies. In Spacejacked it is much more active. Each tower in the game can be broken down and will return its’ entire cost to the player. This is necessary in Spacejacked because you will be constantly tearing down and rebuilding towers in different locations since you will never have enough resources (metal) in order to build all of the towers you want to build.
Regular readers of Geeky Hobbies may know that I am a big fan of the tower defense genre. I really can’t explain why but I find it satisfying to devise a tower strategy and seeing if my plan is able to keep back the hordes of enemies. When we at Geeky Hobbies received a review request for the game Spacejacked from its’ developers I was intrigued by the game. Most tower defense games are pretty laid back where you set up your towers and see if your plan worked. In Spacejacked though you are thrown into the chaos where you regularly have to change up your tower layouts. Spacejacked isn’t your typical tower defense game and that is refreshing.
The thing I liked most about Spacejacked is the pace of the game. I didn’t know whether I would like the fast pace of the game since I usually like having time to plan out my tower layout. You really don’t have time for that in Spacejacked as you are regularly changing up your tower layout. The only spare time you have in the game is between waves. Otherwise you will be regularly shooting aliens or tearing down and building towers in new locations.
For most levels you start by building up your defenses in the compartment that is going to be attacked next. After you have built up your defenses you will use your blaster to help defeat the aliens. You then hear the buzzer for another compartment that is about to be attacked. You then sell off as many of your towers as you can and then rush to the next compartment to build up your defenses. In the early levels you will be regularly building up and tearing down defenses as you keep moving from compartment to compartment. As you proceed through the game multiple compartments begin to be attacked at the same time so you need to divide your time and resources between all of the compartments in order to prevent any of them from falling.
This could have easily become a mess since you have to do quite a few things at the same time and you are regularly building up and tearing down your defenses. This is where the game shines since the controls/mechanics are so well designed that after a little time getting used to the game you can quickly build and tear down your defenses. You won’t believe how quickly you will be flying all over the ship bringing down the latest group of alien invaders. Most tower defenses require keyboard and mouse controls but Spacejacked is one of the few tower defense games that excel with a controller. This balancing act could have easily become overwhelming but it is actually quite fun to juggle all the different things going on at the same time.
In today’s indie game environment, games need to do something original in order to stand out. Spacejacked succeeds because it is a unique experience due to different genres that the game successfully combines together. The game really feels like an arcade tower defense game. With the included endless mode you can even play the game to maximize your score which you can compare with friends. If the tower defense genre would have existed in the arcade era of video games, Spacejacked is a good example of what they might have looked like.
Being a tower defense game, Spacejacked is not going to appeal to everyone. Even though the game is much more action packed than most tower defense games, if you hate tower defense games you probably aren’t going to like Spacejacked either. On the other end of the spectrum if you like the slow paced feel of most tower defense games, Spacejacked may not be for you. Spacejacked is quite a bit different than other tower defense games since you will be constantly doing something and won’t have the time to just sit back and see how well your defenses do. I think this is a good thing for the game but people who like to take their time may not enjoy it that much.
Other than not being a game for everyone, Spacejacked has some issues with the difficulty. At times in the story mode the game has some pacing issues with regards to difficulty. I found a lot of the levels to be pretty easy overall. These levels I was able to beat on my first attempt. This is especially true in the second half of the game. At this point there is a change in scenery and due to the layout of the ship these levels are actually easier than a lot of the levels that come before them. I preferred the layout of the second ship but the levels were considerably easier. I play a lot of tower defense games though so that might be a contributing factor to why I felt some of the levels were too easy.
While a lot of the levels are kind of easy, you will then suddenly encounter really difficult levels. These levels are really difficult to the point where you almost need the perfect tower setup in order to beat the level. Since metal carries over from previous levels, you really can’t waste metal in earlier levels to fix consoles that are damaged by aliens. If you incur a lot of damage in a level you are better off restarting the level because you will likely run into a situation where you won’t have enough metal to win a later level. You will then be forced to go back to the earlier level where you incurred a lot of damage. These difficult levels require quite a few replays as you try and find the right combination of towers in order to survive the level.
Now if you are really looking for a challenge I would highly recommend the challenge mode. I haven’t played many of the challenges but I will tell you that a lot of them are really hard. You almost have to play the levels perfectly in order to actually complete them. You will die a lot in these challenges and have to repeat them many times as you figure out the perfect strategy for the level.
Bang For Your Buck
The length you get out of Spacejacked is going to vary based on how much time you spend with endless mode and the challenges. The story mode consists of twenty missions. Based on how good you are at tower defenses I would guess that the story mode would take around 5-7 hours to complete. While you could replay the story, I would guess most of the rest of your time will be spent with the endless mode and the challenge mode.
The endless mode appears to pretty much be the story mode with all of the missions being played one after another with very short breaks in between. I had some fun with the mode but it wouldn’t be something I would play a lot. If you want to compete with your friends though you could get quite a bit of enjoyment out of it.
As I have already alluded to the challenge mode is quite challenging. Some of the challenges are easier than others but for some of the challenges you will have to be close to perfect in order to beat them. If you are looking for a challenge you could really enjoy the challenges. If you get frustrated by losing the same level over and over again, challenge mode may not be for you.
At this time Spacejacked retails for $9.99. I think that is a pretty good deal since you will probably get at least 5-10 hours out of the game. If you like tower defense games I think you should look into Spacejacked. If you are not a big fan of tower defenses I would still look into the game during a sale.
While it might seem like a strange combination to put together a 2d sidescrolling shooter with a tower defense game, they make a great combination. While most tower defense games are pretty laid back, Spacejacked is the opposite which makes for an exciting game. The mechanics in the game work so well that you don’t want to put the game down. The only real issues I had with the game is that the story mode is a little on the short side and the game has some inconsistency with the difficulty.
If you don’t like tower defense games, I don’t think you will enjoy Spacejacked. If the idea of an arcade style tower defense game appeals to you though I think you will love Spacejacked.