The year is 1983. Space is being conquered by man. However Xanadu, a research space ship that was searching the far edge of the explored universe has sent out a distress signal. Called in to help them fix their engines and get them back home, you soon find the crew to be missing and an even larger mystery surrounding the circumstances in this first-person indie horror adventure.
A James Kolchaka/Pixeljam joint production, Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork gives you just the right mix of retro-shooter action, platform stomping, and Saturday morning cartoon. Its difficulty is definitely old-school, but it's bright, bouncy, mindless, and completely unashamed of it, making for fun sci-fi shenanigans.
Cancer research isn't a topic that comes up too often in the world of gaming, mostly because it's slow and tedious work. That's why Cancer Research UK teamed up with Guerilla Tea to help make it more interesting. In Play to Cure: Genes in Space, you're a star pilot and your goal is to collect as much Element Alpha as you can. It's easy to forget when plotting your course and destroying asteroids that you're also helping to save lives.
Let's protect the Moon! Again! In this fast-paced, lasers-everywhere defence shooter you'll mow down wave after wave of intruders in order to save a big hunk of space rock – and with all those cool upgrades and unlimited futuristic ammo, that will be no problem at all.
A hero deserves as glorious a death you can find in the cold black of space, and you're sure to find it in Dramatic Execution, a Unity SciFi shooter by Abdullah Konash, Addictive old-school arcade fun, though be warned: it has a difficulty curve to match.
We only have one moon, so we must do our very best to protect it! So you'll jump into your Moon rover-type contraption, charge your space cannon and shoot some bad guys. with lots of upgrades, cool futuristic weapons and intense levels, That's My Moon is an action-packed, highly addictive shooter.
Brent Silby's latest DHTML creation is Robot, a cool little retro shooter where Robot must fly and Robot must blast untold hordes of Alien Invaders. What's more, Robot must protect his pack of adorable Baby Robots. And since, as everyone knows, Baby Robots are Alien Invaders' favorite food, Robot is not going to have an easy time. A retro shooter with elements both familiar and unique, Robot is classic arcade fun.
Let's not mince words. Tyrian 2000 was the best PC shoot-em-up of the 90s, and it still holds up remarkably well today. Originally developed as shareware by Eclipse Productions and published by Epic Games, Tyrian 2000 is now available as legit freeware, and every fan of space shooters should check it out. The amount of customization, the hilarious but loving prose, the gorgeous VGA graphics... all of them come together to make a true classic.
In Sergio Alonso's shiny new bullet hell shooter, Boss Slayer, Ten alien starships have entered the solar system and you have 12 days to destroy these bad boys before they make their final approach to Earth. The game features an array of upgrades, of which each has a clear, immediate effect and it can be a lot of fun to watch your weak little ship transform so quickly into a beefy alien antagonizer. Boss Slayer isn't an innovative game by any means, but it understands the genre perfectly and serves up a smooth, streamlined gameplay experience.
A good story is great, but sometimes you just want to blow stuff up. In DN8: Pulse, a new shooter game from Squize, you are the commander of a puny little fighter who has to fight off swarms of enemy vessels if you want to survive. If you make it past the initial waves, you'll have the chance to upgrade your ship with extra shields, weapons, and even support pods and there are two upgrade paths, defensive and offensive. The clear selling point of DN8: Pulse are the graphics, done in Stage3D, which are unlike most anything you've seen in a flash game. The visuals are in a word, stunning. And it's a lot of fun to play a shoot-em-up that leaves the conventional retro pixelated setting and dares to take it to the farthest reaches of the universe for a truly immersive experience.
Want a solid retro arcade shooter? ASCII and you'll receive Battle for Asciion, by Relevo Video Games. Designed with a lot of love for its textual aesthetic, Battle for Asciion is a solid and challenging shoot-em-up, though hampered by its required button-mashing.
In Super Villainy, the mightiest villains have grown bored after destroying the earth, and decide to have one final battle royale, arena shooter style, to determine who is the baddest. A solid release by Rob Almighty, with a little more freedom than what is usually seen in the genre.
Theo's been working in the slave mines for years, and has finally saved up enough to buy a cruiser. Now, if he can just shoot his way through this orbiting traffic, he'll be ready to start his new life. Originally conceived by Christopher T. Rock, with later additional development by Bryson Whiteman, Rush Hour Plus is a short but solid arcade game. It's bifurcated development is apparent in the differing styles of cut-scenes and game action, but it has a nice dose of humor and is the perfect length for a coffee break.
Jonas Kyratzes has brought us many enjoyable, thoughtful games in bizarre, surreal settings. Well, now he's developed a top-down space shooter, Traitor. Don't get scared, he's still able to cast his powers of storytelling, it's just in a different yummy, gooey, science fiction package. Take on missions to earn credits for upgrades as well as the trust of the rebels. Your ultimate goal: to take down the Augustan Hegemony. Viva la People's Council!
Out of this World, developed by SeethingSwarm, is a short action game centered around shifting play mechanics. The game starts as two lovers leave a fancy restaurant. They aren't named in-game, but since they look British, let's call them Ron and Hermione. Anyways, Ron and Hermione decide to go for a ride on their rocket ship, but, son of a gun, wouldn't you know it, aliens decide to kidnap the fair maiden. So its up to you Ron, with your shock of red hair, your badass longcoat, your awesome umbrella, and your shooty-blasty space gun to rescue her from the extra-terrestrial's clutches.
Raze 2 by AddisonR and Juice-Tin is the latest in a long line of action shooters with spacey-marines and/or one-word non-indicative titles. Let's count them off: Doom, Quake, Halo, Descent, Unreal, and, uh... Haze. It's surprising there are any alien-demon-zombie menaces left to battle considering how quickly we're able to deploy a near-endless supply of Master Chiefs. It's a good thing then that Raze 2 has the quality gameplay and presentation to distinguish itself from the competition.
I appreciate the specificity of Space Arcade: The Game's subtitle. I was seriously worried for a couple minutes that I was going to have to deal with Space Arcade: The Hit Broadway Musical. However, as much as I crave toe-tappin' hits and elaborate choreography, I enjoy Galaga-inspired pixel shooter action even more. This appears to be music-meister Matt McFarland's debut game release, and it's so much fun that maybe he should consider quitting his day job.
Front Runner's protagonist would rather sit unaccosted on his asteroid outpost, playing his space-recorder, but all the quirky locals just won't leave him be. And as arcade games have taught us for years, such aggravation can only be answered by taking the wheel of an absurdly overarmed runabout and showing all comers what-for. It takes the vastness of space and turns it into a strange, colorful neighborhood of oddly shaped planets and goofy, irksome monsters. Empty space is rarely this lively, or this silly.
You might think that the combination of Boys' Life, the monthly Boy scouting magazine for ages 6-18, and retro-action-meister Hamumu make for an unexpected pairing. Heck, I was a cub scout and even I find it a little strange. However, I do know that when the creator of the Robot Wants series releases a pixel platformer based around a trio of differently-abilitied characters fighting their way through an alien landscape: I'm there. That game is Mad Planet, and it's got quality worthy of a merit badge.
If there's one sci-fi rank that has the highest level of awesome associated with it, it's "commander". Some of the greatest protagonists of all space-time have it appended to their name: Riker, Sisko, Adama... Keen. So it's only fitting that when puzzle-master Johnathan May chooses to surprise us with rocking a vertical-side-scrolling space shooter, that he should dub it Cosmic Commander. And let me tell you, it has a challenge more than worthy of its station.
Shooter fans! Has this ever happened to you? You're trying to enjoy blasting the latest wave of Galaga-inspired retro-baddies, but find that the old-school chiptune music and sound effects are drowned out by the relentless sounds of mouse clicking and space-bar tapping. There has to be a better way to launch a space bullet, right? Well, Devilish Games has heard your concerns, and the result is Tag Attack: a shooter that focuses more on the aiming than the clicking, while not sacrificing the intensity of the genre.
In the futuristic world of Armor Mayhem, Loussi's new action shooter, the world has run out of energy. Thus, major corporations send teams of faceless space marines to discover a new source. And, of course, once they find a planet filled to the brink with Unobtanium, they land and immediately start blasting each other in the face with lasers... what it lacks in plot depth, it more than makes up for with enough frenetic blasting action to make Master Chief jealous.
You play a plucky astro-pilot in this retro-styled action adventure game, with an ill-defined though doubtlessly heroic agenda, who keeps crash-landing onto planets with hostile, labyrinthine space bases, losing your steadfast feline companion in the process. Cat Astro Phi is a nice, short action game with retro appeal, and even players who aren't the targeted allegorical Internet Citizen will find something to appreciate.
Ah, the cosmos. It contains the whole of everything that is, was and shall be. It is filled with the awe-inspiring beauty of the nebulae, the quasars and the familiar stars. Science cannot know how big the universe is, nor can it count the number of planets or star. Every time we get close to an exact figure, a giant space whale, dubbed Harmony Keeper, starts devouring celestial bodies. Or at least, that's what this latest action/arcade title from Mofunzone teaches us.
Starcom is a top-down space shooter and strategy game, with subtle RPG elements like a well-paced story progression and "missions." You are stationed aboard a Galactic Command Starbase (space station), playing the role of a space fighter pilot with a starting mission of fending off alien attacks. Starcom really shines, revealing story elements at just the right moments while incorporating it all into the gameplay progression.
Clash'N Slash has the makings of a great one. Big guns? Check. Hordes of attacking aliens? Check. Lots and lots of explosions? Check and check. There's more happening on-screen than any namby-pamby little puzzle or hidden object game. This is an action game, for action game players. Do you have what it takes?
Martians vs. Robots from Tommy Twisters is an attempt to take the classic gameplay of Asteroids and bring it into the new century, using 3D graphics, expanded gameplay, and multiplayer options. The single player game features loads of great combat action, but the real meat is in the robust multiplayer modes where 24 people can battle it out over the internet!
A little-known sequel to an even lesser-known original, UfoPilot 2: The Phadt Menace is a fun little action shooter that pays homage to the classic Defender, with gravity-based elements reminiscent of all those "moon lander" games that you've probably played throughout the last decade. You're tasked with leading rescue missions to save your fellow pilots, who are being held as prisoners-of-war by the Phadt Armada, a hostile alien enemy.
Orbital Decay pays homage to the Super Nintendo era of 16-bit graphics by incorporating some really cool and interesting strategy elements into the formula of a classic side-scrolling shooter. As the commander of a massive battleship, you must upgrade various weapons and fire your main cannon (the Ultragun!) to defend yourself against waves of crazy-looking alien ships.
Smooth and bold, with a delicate, classical presentation and a spicy but brief aftertaste, Space Pips serves as a nice pre-dinner aperatif for those with a taste for Geometry Wars-style arena shooters.
Monolist, from Japanese developer (or possibly super-powered spy team) Polygon Gmen, is what you would get if you took classic Space Invaders gameplay, multiplied it by three, strained it through a net made of Arkanoid bonus drops, and then sprinkled in nine hundred million bullets. Like a recreational energy drink, it's cool, refreshing, burning sweet, and highly caffeinated.
Swarm Gold is an update to, and replacement for, the original Swarm created by Reflexive Entertainment back in 1998. The new Swarm Gold features an impressive emulated 3D graphics system and realistic sound. You have free range to fly around the entire map just as we've seen in many modern top-down shooters.
Developed back in 2003 by Moonpod Games, Starscape may be considered an "oldie" by the gamer crowd, but it's a goodie. Launched as a shareware game without the distribution support that it has today, Starscape flew under the radar, gathering a respectable following slowly but surely. Today, it's been finally starting to hit the major distro sites and people are either discovering or taking a second glance at this little space shooter/strategy game created half a decade ago.
Think of the classic Space Invaders mixed with a dash of Galaga and you'd have a pretty good understanding of what Titan Attacks! is all about. The classic "aliens descending from above" scenario is showcased with a stylish, blocky pixel motif featuring a richer move-and-shoot routine than classic predecessors. Titan Attacks! took the golden age concept and loaded it with a variety of new action elements and ship upgrades.
Benjamin Colwell of Indie Flash Arcade has just released this remarkably attractive arcade Flash game that blends the casual gameplay of classic video games with a stylish (and stunning!) presentation. The result is POD: Planetary Orbital Defense, a 15-level shoot-em-up bonanza that culminates in a boss fight against an alien invasion.
Gamma Bros. is a deliciously slow-paced old-school space shooter created by PixelJam. It's written in flash and offers both an online version and downloadable files for the Mac and Windows. Although simple in looks and design, Gamma Bros. gives the illusion of a massive game world interspersed with moments of action and quiet space floating.
Another one for the classic games section, I made a reference to this game when reviewing Swarm due to the way the enemies swarmed onto the play field.
Galaca is a Java applet 'clone' of the classic action arcade game Galaga. Originally created by Namco and released as a coin-op amusement...
Raiden X is an excellent Flash shooter game that is a lot of fun to play, though it was a bit easy for me to complete on Normal difficulty. The trick is in the power-ups, which are many. Tons of enemies and larger boss-types in this game. Excellent Flash work by a talented, young (age 13!) game developer.
Arguably one of the greatest video games of all time, and certainly one of the classics, Asteroids was released to the arcades by Atari in 1979. Twenty-five years later the game is still captivating gamers with its gameplay and its physics.
But Belter is better.
From creator Russ Duckworth's Truantduck Games comes...
A game that looks and feels very similar to Nintendo's Starfox games, Starfish Chronicles is a Shockwave game of the same space-flight shmup genre. The game makes effective use of many of Shockwave 3D's more advanced features to create a compelling experience that rivals commerical offerings. Although control is with the arrow keys and the space ba...
This well-crafted Flash game is a simple shmup that is fast and furious, as well as addictive. He's done a nice job with implementing power-ups, bonus multipliers, smooth animation particle effects, and a high score list, too. So, if you like shmups, you're gonna love SpaceFighta.
A fantastic Asteroids recreation from Shawn at Hot Flash Games, and boy does it rock! Very authentic classic gameplay with a serious modern soundtrack that just... ROCKS! Shawn did an excellent job designing the sound for the game, as it contains a mix of classic Asteroids samples and some phat rocking beats.
Back in the day, Space Invaders, by Japanese company Taito, was one of the coolest games to come along as it was one of the first (if not the first) electronic game ever to offer open-ended gameplay. What that means is that it's impossible to 'beat' the game, the aliens just keep coming at you relentlessly.