By: David Tavernier
In a nutshell, Space Run is a tower defense game from developer Passtech Games that takes place in outer space. You are Buck Mann, an interstellar transporter (otherwise known as a Space Runner) who will transport just about any cargo in the galaxy as long as the pay is good. So, is Space Run as good a game as Buck Mann is a Space Runner? Let’s find out.
Space Run‘s controls are excellent, largely because you pretty much just point and click. There are hotkeys as well, but you don’t really need to use them to do well (although memorizing them can give you a leg up). You can change your point of view by moving your mouse back and forth, lay down turrets and other structures on your spacecraft by navigating through a series of menus and then place them with a click of the mouse.
At no time did I feel the controls were a hindrance to my ability to play or enjoy myself. The game’s difficulty lies entirely on memorizing enemy and asteroid deployment patterns and appropriately reacting to them. All in all, Space Run‘s controls seem as easy to master as any game’s can be.
In terms of presentation, Space Run takes a back seat to its gameplay and controls. The graphics are good enough to depict the spacecrafts and meteors that compose most of the game’s structures, though the music is not very memorable. It is mostly composed of an orchestra of drums and horns that attempt to build tension as each level goes on. Space Run‘s music largely fails in this endeavor, however, and you might prefer listening to your own music in the background while playing the game.
The sound effects are very good, though. The sounds of lasers, missiles and explosions are all realistic and will make you feel like you’re truly waging war in the future outer-space frontier. Realism isn’t the game’s strong suit, however, which is made clear by the comical tone of its voice acting.
That’s not to say the voice acting is bad. In fact, it’s actually quite good. You’ll come across several characters who are played very well in a tongue-in-cheek manner, from your robotic assistant to space pirates and imposing businessmen, who wish to hire you to carry their goods. So, while the sound design in Space Run fails in one aspect, it succeeds in others.
The gameplay in Space Run is one of its other high points. Everything seems to be very well thought out, from the build times on each weapon to the upgrade system that lets you empower your ship’s structures in several different ways. Beating each level will earn space credits that can be used to upgrade your offensive and defensive capabilities, and how you spend these points will affect how you play the game.
Building more and more powerful spacecrafts as the game goes on is very enjoyable and makes the gameplay continue to be fresh as you progress through Space Run‘s numerous levels. Each level is also more challenging than the last, meaning that you will have to learn to play better and better in order to beat the game.
Space Run is definitely challenging, but it doesn’t feel cheap. I’ve invested more than 15 hours playing the game, and you can spend even more time if you try to get a five-star ranking on every level — something completionists will naturally want to do so.
What makes the gameplay in Space Run so fun is just how hectic the action can get. Most levels start out with a few meteors slowly approaching your spacecraft that are easy enough to dispatch of. As each level goes onward, however, you’ll face fleets of minor ships as well as larger spacecraft that require missiles and other more powerful armaments to destroy. Finally, there are gigantic boss ships (often from the nefarious and comical pirates Brown Beard and Captain Black) that will pose a considerable challenge.
Often you will have to build armaments ahead of time onto your ship in anticipation of these gigantic bosses, and trial and error are huge keys to advancing. You will frequently hit areas that seem impossible to pass, but after trying again and again you’ll eventually find a way to win. This makes beating some of the more difficult levels in Space Run quite satisfying.
Considering it can take over 15 hours to beat on normal difficulty and costs just $14.99, Space Run represents an excellent value, providing ample bang for your buck. Unless you’re categorically opposed to tower defense games, Space Run is a must buy.