It’s been a while since I’ve played a horizontal shmup like the Thing: Space X. If you only want to buy a game for A-Z lettered and numbered achievements for your profile, this might be the game for you. If you’re into an enjoyable, little space shooter, then keep on going. Some of the design decisions resulted in good laughs.
Let’s start with the good. The presentation is fair, it looks nice and then it goes downhill from there. There’s some big electronic beats that are so intense it’s hilarious for a game like this. Other than that, a lot of the music fits.
Now it’s time for the unique hook this game has concerning gameplay. Each projectile you fire takes a second to drift out below you and then fire forward. The trajectory of the projectile depends where your vessel is from where it’s launched. If it’s above, the projectile will skew itself upward. Even after your projectiles have gone off, you can steer them with your ship. If you haven’t moved it will fire forward.
Here’s the thing, enemies come toward you rather than the projectile which drifts below you before it launches forward. So having your projectiles fire forward is futile. This forces you to move up, down and all over the screen. In fact, you can move off the screen if you’d like. Enemies fire at you from off screen behind you as well. That’s quite a big sin. I suppose the trick is, never let them get behind you.
For each projectile you fire, you need to mash that space bar once. So it turns into a game of endurance, because your projectiles are so inaccurate. Another issue is your projectiles destroy enemy projectiles. Sure that’s good, but that also protects the enemy as well. When your aim is so inaccurate, keeping any enemy alive is a danger.
Enemies always move toward you, so if an enemy rams you, you’re dead, but the enemy stays alive. There’s a bigger issue, because you spawn where you die and there’s no invulnerability, so you can waste all your lives because you died once.
If you destroy the enemies before the next wave? You’ll have to sit and wait before there are more foes to fry. It gave me time to write down notes for this review. At least there is a bar at the bottom to show when the next wave is coming.
There’s a bigger sin here. If you beat the boss at the end, you meet up with a space ring. Using this space ring you launch off… and nothing happens. The game just sits there. You’re off screen. There is no second level, there is no loop back to the start of the only level. You’ll find no congratulations or victory. That’s it. The game refuses to do anything after that.
There are a few ships to chose from, but they all perform the same in game. It’s laughable that the selection cursor fails to keep up with your selection. Sure you can pick your vessel, but it takes a few seconds for the cursor to catch up to you.
For an arcade style score chaser like this, I’d also like a high score or a leader board, but both are no where to be found. It’s a game to get people A – Z achievements for pushing a keyboard.
It’s tough to recommend. I did have a few laughs for a minute at the design choices, but the game is shallow and there’s no need to stick around. Its tough to recommend The Thing: Space X under any circumstance. Then again, I did buy it in a cheap Steam bundle, $2 for 15 games. This developer is dealing in bulk at a cheap price.