What do you get if you cross a rainbow with an overhead shooter? Now we know... it's Score Rush, bursting through your monitor in a glorious avalanche of colour and sound. Xona Games describe their game as a retro 'shmup', but a better name for the genre, at least based on this evidence, would be 'Bullet Candy'.
As is customary for overhead shooters on the PC, you navigate with the [WASD] keys, and aim and fire with the mouse. Eight bosses, plus minions, are out to destroy your little spaceship... or maybe you're out to destroy them. Either way, your sole aim is to blaze a path through the lot, using only your gun, 3 lives, and a limited selection of screen clearing bombs. Power-ups regularly appear to add to the torrent of bullets you can fire, and once maxed out, subsequent pickups trigger a small shockwave that clears bullets around you, giving you a much needed moment of respite. But that description doesn't do justice to the colorful assault on the senses that defines Score Rush. As the action intensifies, it feels more like a playable light show, accompanied by a fittingly guitar-heavy sound track, although you get barely a split second to take it all in before brightly coloured bullets begin raining down at you.
Score Rush requires registration before you can play, which may seem like an unnecessary frustration. It's also missing a preloader, so expect a blank screen here and there before the game starts. But it's a free port of a game that costs real money on the Xbox, and it's worth playing for the sights and sounds if nothing else. Shooter fans will find that behind the dazzling spectacle of the graphics there's a smooth, solid, and very playable game as well.