Home is where the heart is! In the future, this could be any inhabitable planet we find. However, I believe that every human will call Earth their home. Consequently, if an alien race were to try to conquer it, most humans would step up and defend their planet. Sadly, though, the invaders are likely to be too powerful for “normal” people, therefore, a hero must step up and save the day. This is exactly what happens in Spacewing War. It’s a slow-paced shoot ‘em-up that is action-packed with aliens, destruction, and old-school vibes.
Developed by Pneuma Games and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a retro shmup. Its dated style, shrill music, and simple action may be underwhelming for some, but don’t be put off. If you love an easy-to-understand title that is casual to play, then this will tick many boxes. What’s more, there are multiple modes to tackle, many bosses and demi-bosses to defeat, and lots of enemies to slaughter. Subsequently, it’s a basic retro title that looks rough, sounds loud, and is wonderful to play.
Spacewing War may be too basic.
Now, I love old-school gaming so Spacewing War was always going to interest me. However, I appreciate this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Inspired by classic handheld consoles, this auto side-scrolling affair is understated, easy to play, and is over in a matter of hours. Therefore, you may worry that it lacks value for money and will be tiresome. However, fear not as the extras modes add meat to the bone. Consequently, if you enjoy this genre and love a trip down memory lane, this should be right up your street.
The plot is as old as the hills, but let’s not disregard it just yet! Planet Earth is about to be invaded by aliens from the planet Mavros. These angry beings are controlled by an all-powerful leader who wants to steal the rainbow star and its dangerous powers. With only a small glimmer of hope, Earth defends itself with its Spacewing defence system. This powerful vessel can mow through enemies, destroy bosses, and save the day.
Plenty of secrets, weapons, and enemies.
Like the best shmup games from the past, Spacewing War has plenty of enemies and traps to overcome. You must avoid projectiles, bullets, traps, and walls as you fly through each labyrinthine world. Furthermore, you must complete 7 levels while collecting power-ups and defeating each boss you face. Now, this may sound challenging, but sadly, it isn’t. Unlike its peers, the gameplay is too easy, and the action is too slow. You’ll never struggle to complete a stage and this was tedious and disappointing.
I was desperate for the action to step up a gear, but this never happened. Annoyingly, it plateaus very early and you simply go through the motions. Even the choice of 4 weapons couldn’t break up the monotony. You may select from a machine gun, boomerang, single shot, and a bomb. Now, in theory, each should create a tactical advantage, but that rarely happened. For the most part, I stuck to the single fire or bomb weapons as they mowed down everything in sight! It would have been great if there was more variety and greater difficulty, but this never materialised.
A lack of variety.
Though the action spanned many locations, it felt very repetitive. Most of your foes used the same pattern of movement, and most of the bosses offered little challenge. This then impacts your weapon choices and your tactics. Sadly, much of the gameplay should have been interesting, but it was anything but!
Luckily, though, the additional challenge and story mode adds some depth to the action. What’s more, the addition of a timer adds pressure and this makes it a little more difficult. I wish that the core mode was as interesting and challenging, but disappointingly, it was not.
Spacewing War belongs to another era.
I’m fascinated by retro gaming and consequently, I adore the art style. Where Spacewing War excels is its 40 unique colour palettes for its 4-tone pixel art style. This basic and retro look won’t be for everyone, but if you are old enough, you will love what you see. The blocky imagery, rough landscapes, and rudimentary level design scream old-school gaming, and that was fantastic. On top of this, the gameplay was smooth, there were no bugs, and it never stuttered.
To match the dated approach, the audio uses a shrill synth style. The ear-piercing noises were disgustingly good, and I cherished each painful moment. The guns sound so bad that they are good. What’s more, the high-pitched noise of fallen foes will bring a wry smile to your face.
The controls should have been tighter.
Much of the action is so simple that I expected the controls to be tight and responsive. Sadly, this wasn’t always the case, and this causes unnecessary frustrations. You’ll try to move, fail, and hit many walls. This leads to death, loss of progress, and many curse words. However, you soon become familiar with its shortcomings and adjust your style to suit.
Thanks to the additional game modes, there is some longevity and replay value. If you are a completionist, this is a dreamy title, as you’ll have every achievement ticked off in under an hour. Luckily, the additional modes add depth and this ensures it is good value for money.
Spacewing War needs to be harder.
I loved the concept behind Spacewing War, but unfortunately, it is too easy. Subsequently, this lack of difficulty reduces its longevity, while making the action plateaux. This was disappointing, as the potential was plain to see. If you can stomach the main story, you’ll experience some much-improved and harder additional modes. It is for this reason alone that I recommend you to buy it here! Will you stop the invaders of planet Mavros, or is Earth doomed? Jump in your ship, choose your weapons and destroy everything in sight.