The vertical shooter that turn scribbles into spaceship and doodles into Death Stars is back for another round in Notebook Space Wars 2, the latest in the Notebook Wars series. This time around Francisco Ferreres has you facing off against the forces of Rymulox III, who means to enslave the Earth with his pencil-drawn armada. So you know what that means? It's time to build a spaceship (SPACESHIP!) and start blasting all that needs blasting. Use the mouse or the keyboard to move, [F] to autofire and [E] to drop bombs, shooting space baddies, collecting gold to spend on upgrades between levels, and XP to unlock new capabilities for each of your ships. The levels are presented on a map with four difficulty modes to choose from (ranging from "slow" to "xtreme"). The map also features a hangar where you'll organize all your upgrades and mods. A new addition is the "arcade" mode, in which your ship is automatically upgraded as you collect XP, with no stopping between levels.
Notebook Space Wars 2 continues the series' trend of being a superior refinement of Notebook Space Wars, rather than reinvention. Perhaps this means we'll never be referring to "a revolutionary new installment of Notebook Wars", but a consistent upward trend in sequel quality is nothing to sneer at. Indeed, if I may be so bold, the customization and action of the series is starting to be reminiscent of Tyrian 2000, the holy grail of PC shoot-em-ups: no mean feat for a browser game (although Notebook Wars admittedly doesn't have the clever writing or breadth of environments that made Tyrian such a classic). Still, as polished as the mechanics have become, Notebook Space Wars 2 loses none of the "bored elementary school student sketching out an epic adventure" thrown-together charm that made the series so engaging in the first place, and it's definitely the best in the series... at least till the next one comes out.