Exploring the galaxy can be fun…or dangerous. It is easier with a buddy. Why not a robot buddy? Take on multiple missions in Space Pioneer! As a bounty hunter is Space Pioneer, you get to take your trusty robot companion with you to take on hostile aliens while completing various missions that may have you undertaking rescue missions or even removing big, bad bosses from the galaxy. What kind of pay does this bounty hunter get? Well, you get new weapons, money, and other gadgets that will help you later on in your quests.
In this three-quarter view twin stick shooter, you will travel from planet to planet to complete various missions. As for the controls, the left stick is used for player movement, while the right is used to aim. The L and X buttons, ZL and Y buttons, and the R and A buttons are used for different equipped abilities. The ZR is used to fire the equipped weapon. The controls work very well and respond quickly. After using your abilities, they will have a cooldown time, which can be longer or shorter depending on the level of your cooldown stat. The weapons will also overheat and require a cooldown if used too much. The downside that I found with the weapons was using the assault rifle. No matter how many times I would see the bullets impact the enemies, it just seemed that the hit detection of the rifle was off. I felt like a Stormtrooper from Star Wars trying and failing to hit my targets. After completing a level, you will be rewarded with some cards that will allow you to upgrade that item if you have earned enough money. These feel like loot boxes but not ones that will require you to sink money into them. They are purely earned by completing the missions, earning trophies by completing goals, and by completing tasks. The harder the task, the better the reward.
Each mission has different challenges that will reward you with stars. These stars are required to be earned to allow you to advance to further planets in the game. There are also three different classes that you can play as that have different skills: the Light, Heavy, and the Standard. The enemies vary greatly in the game. They range from simple creatures to huge alien bosses. All have unique attacks that make it necessary for you to strategize with your attacks. One major downside to this has to do with when the enemies appear. They are placed throughout the levels, but it seems as you get to an objective, it is overwhelmed with enemies. Most of the time I found myself having to leave the objective to survive. It did help to use my turret and my sidekick robot, so in ways, having the right abilities can balance this flaw out.
The game looks simple graphics-wise, but this does not hurt it in my opinion. The player and enemy models look good and have a nice cel-shaded look to them. The levels that you visit have very bright and contrasting colors to them that really make it feel like you are on distant worlds when you’re exploring them. On the downside, some of the models of objects look very polygonal and detract from the visual aesthetic.
The audio from the game sets the tone. All of the weapons have unique sounds to them, and the background music draws you in. The music feels like it was taken from all the popular science fiction movies from the 1980s and run through a synthesizer. It also reminds me of some of the music from the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Developer: Vivid Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 6th December 2019
Do you agree with our review of Space Pioneer? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.