Space Run is an interstellar delivery simulator, with tower defense aspects. You may be thinking, “what?” and rightfully so. Yet, what sounds strange on paper is actually quite fun and rewarding in practice. The game is developed by Passtech Games, a company based in France. As far as I can tell, this is their first big release. In this review, I will attempt to clarify whether or not this is a game worth your valuable time.
Up first at bat is the graphics. Space Run looks fairly polished, sporting pretty 3D visuals accompanied by 2D artwork. The character illustrations are varied, and of very high quality. The in-game models are no slouch either, the explosions and projectile effects looking especially awesome. The UI also manages to feel authentic, fitting the game’s theme perfectly. Generally, as far as graphics go, this game doesn’t disappoint.
As far as sound design goes, I can’t say that I have many complaints either. Surprisingly, the game is fully voice-acted, with a large cast of actors. What’s even more surprising is that they’re all…really good, actually. The protagonist comes to mind as being the best, but I can’t recall a moment where I cringed due to poor acting, which says a lot. The music is also top-notch, featuring a few catchy electronic tunes, which accompany the satisfying sound of explosions and gunfire quite nicely.
The actual gameplay in Space Run features you making contract runs for several companies, using a slightly different ship every time. The ship is basically a series of hex tiles, on which you can build various things, ranging from a guided explosive torpedo to a shield generator to protect your structures from projectile attacks. The threats you face in the game are somewhat varied, but usually boil down to asteroids, or pirate ships who want to plunder your cargo.
Once you build a gun on a hex tile, it can be repositioned to aim in different directions, offering a surprisingly deep strategic level to the game. Where you decide to place your structures is incredibly important, and I found myself replaying runs in an attempt to find the optimal way to finish them. Additionally, there is strategic merit in deciding what to build with the credits you earn. Do you build a power generator to give your guns temporary rapid fire? Or do you build another booster, so you can complete the mission faster and receive a better reward?
If I had to level a complaint at the gameplay, it would be that it does inevitably become a bit repetitive. There are many different things to build, and each mission is switched up in some minor way, but all-in-all, you’re doing the same thing over and over. Also, it would have been convenient to be able to pause mid-combat and issue commands. Without that feature, Space Run finds itself becoming a very reaction-based game, as in some fights you have to be able to execute your plans seemingly at the speed of light to avoid dying.
Additionally, I found some of the cargo missions to be slightly annoying. Transporting boxes and nuclear waste is one thing, but some were just ridiculous. For example, there is one where you have to transport celebrities in these little windowed boxes, but they have to be facing outward toward space, and they have to be adjacent to a power generator, or they start taking damage slowly. The game only gives you one power generator at the beginning of the mission, and there is literally no way to supply power to all of them at first with the layout you have. This forces you to spend your money on another generator, which leaves you with no defenses.
The story is up for scrutiny last. The narrative of Space Run features protagonist Buck Mann, dealing with his robot assistant and a variety of wacky clients. The dialogue is pretty well-written, and the story remains firmly tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at plenty of established sci-fi tropes. Some of the characters seem a bit flat, but I don’t think they were meant to be deep. If you’re into enjoyable sci-fi comedy, I think you’ll have fun with this game’s story.
So, do I think Space Run is worth your time and money? If you want a fun, engaging tower defense game with a good story, and above average voice acting, then yes, I think it’s worth the paltry 15 USD pricetag. It has some problems, but they don’t keep it from being a solid title.
Space Run was reviewed using a code provided by Focus Home Interactive. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.