Android Game Review – Spotlight: Awesome Space Shooter 9000

Awesome Space Shooter 9000 labChicken

Free (Alpha Release)

This review is a little different from the others I’ve done in the past; this is an alpha release by a pair of students who posted this thread on reddit asking for input and bug reports.  I decided to give it a try, and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  Please give this game a try, and give them a review with what you think on the Android Marketplace!

The thing to remember here is that it is an alpha release by a pair of students – literally the first app they developed, and that it is a work in progress.  That said, when you play it, it really doesn’t have any story, has no sound, has no bosses – its just your ship versus a swarm of green ships with big firepower.  You take 3 hits, you die.  In this alpha release, you have infinite lives, and no real goals, aside from trying to kill all the bad guys and get the high score.

I shamefully admit that I was thinking 'skeet skeet skeet, stupid bad guys!' while playing.

Here are my notes and thoughts in no particular order, for the developers:

  • On the Galaxy Nexus, the controls are incredible.  I’ve never piloted a ship this easily and fluidly on any other shooter, and I’ve played a fair share.  It is not as good on a Droid 2- the touchscreen does not seem to be as responsive and the stick is smaller and more difficult to handle.
  • Game is listed as ‘Awesome Space Shooter 9000’ but shows up in the app drawer simply as ‘SpaceShooter’ – these names should be the same in both places.
  • You have good code in place for simple exiting of the game; good, good, good.  Too many games are missing this basic thing.
  • The graphics could use a boost, but I’m sure you’re aware of that and focused elsewhere so far.  They remained pretty smooth and lag-free, but there’s something a little phallic about the ships (especially with the way the bullets look…), and all the enemies of course are identical.
  • The AI is weird, but good.  The enemy ships seem to move a little sporadically, which makes for an interesting challenge, but defies all physics.  If the enemy models were redesigned to make their movement make more sense it would probably help.  Thus far though, I’m listing it as a positive, as they ~seem~ to not simply be big dumb waves.  Perhaps a few more strategic exits to the side of the screen to get out of the line of fire rather than falling back is in order.
  • I am truly looking forward to seeing some power-ups for the ship, ship customization, bosses, and different enemy types for this game – as well as a storyline.  What you have now is a shell for what can be a great game; if you put your best efforts forward, you can have a next-gen phone shooter all-star!  Just don’t lose those sweet sweet controls!
  • No explosions?  The way the enemy shrinks away currently is a little unsatisfying, but if you’re looking to make a family-friendly game, it is just fine.
  • I can’t wait for a storyline.  I want to know the names of those planets, why they’re significant, what my goals are as a space shooter pilot.  
  • Gameplay, while simple, is addictive and enjoyable, even in its current state.  Great work!
  • Adding sound and keeping the game from lagging is going to be challenging.  Good luck.
  • Further suggestions: option to switch the sides for joypad and shooting controls; different model enemies with different attack patterns; longer, more challenging levels; obstacles (things that impede your ships’ path, or blow you up)
  • It would rock so hard to be able to shoot in more than one direction, especially because you can move your ship anywhere on the screen.
  • Noticed one bug: When I tried to go straight to the top-most planet, I was told I needed to complete prior levels first.  Fine and dandy; I did, completing the three starting from the bottom and going along the right-side.  When I went to the blue one on the left, I got that same ‘you must beat previous levels to unlock’ screen briefly before the level just started anyways.  Perhaps make the planet alignment more linear, or tighten up this code and interface to illustrate better the Starfox-like multiple paths to the final goal.

The TL;DR:

  • Good work, labChicken – I’m marking you guys as developers to keep an eye on, I anticipate great progress!
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5 thoughts on “Android Game Review – Spotlight: Awesome Space Shooter 9000

  1. The game was pretty fun, but I found the little joystick a bit cumbersome. It’s like I could either dodge the bullets, or shoot the planes – not both. It was entertaining to be as simple as it is. The issues could also be because my phone’s screen is on the smaller side of the spectrum.

  2. Pingback: Day 9: Jonathan Kung, Teacher (Delview) « 180 Days of Learning

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