Review – Space Pirates and Zombies (S.P.A.Z.)
The Scoop: Created by the two man indie studio known as MinMax Games, Space Pirates and Zombies puts players in control of a group of space pirates, and just like the pirates of old, your goal is to explore, search for treasure, and fight against the zombie apocalypse.
The Setup: Space Pirates and Zombies (which we’ll refer to as S.P.A.Z.) is set in the near (or not so near?) future, where humans have taken over the galaxy and can travel between hundreds of stars and star systems by using the travel technology of warp gates. You play as a member of a group of space pirates who travel between these star systems in the mothership known as the Clock Work, with the ultimate goal of reaching the center of the galaxy in hopes of finding the motherload of Rez (a space mineral used as currency). Each of the star systems that you’ll travel to are randomly generated and are occupied by two warring factions: the civilians and the UTA (United Terran Alliance). As you make your way through each star system you’ll have to make decisions and take on missions which will affect your relations with both the civilians and the UTA, which will ultimately have an impact on who you can buy technology from and who you can trade with or bribe.
Along your journey in S.P.A.Z. you’ll work on mining resources, expanding your fleet, and leveling up your technology. Random side missions found in each star system will help you gain favor from each faction as well as provide you with the resources, crew, and technology to build new ships and outfit them to your hearts content. The galaxy truly is your playground and the deeper you go, the further the game and its plot expands.
What’s Hot: S.P.A.Z. is played as a top-down shooter , you’ll use your mouse to aim the front guns of your ship, mouse buttons to fire your weapons, and the WASD keys to fly your ship. And even though you’ll only be able to pilot one ship at a time, you can quickly switch between the ships in your fleet as well as give some basic orders to the AI controlled ships on your team.
The gameplay is retro and is very similar to Star Command in many ways, so old school gamers will definitely appreciate the action in the space combat. It does take some practice to get the hang of piloting your ships and effectively using their weapons, but learning to fly these ships is all part of the fun and made me realize how much I miss playing these types of games.
The RPG and customization elements in the game add a great layer of strategy as you’ll be able to choose which technologies to level up as well as which equipment to use in your ships. It’s a fun thought to max out your weapons, but you can’t forget about your shields, armor, and engines! Just like any RPG there are no right or wrong answers on how you spend your upgrade points, it all depends on how you want to pilot your ships and what your battle strategies are. Another great feature of the customization options is the ability to refit your existing ships on the fly or completely change out the hull to a different ship type.
And while we’re on the topic of ships, you’ll get the chance to unlock new ships as you defeat them in battle and collect their black boxes. As you collect these black boxes, your Clock Work mothership will use these black boxes to reverse engineer their blue prints, eventually unlocking the ship to add to your fleet. The toughest part will probably be actually wanting to change your ships, as you’ll have your favorites and get used to how they handle. But S.P.A.Z. offers a great variety of ships and you should definitely try and fly each ship at least once to see what it has to offer.
The story isn’t anything ground breaking, but offers enough substance, humor, and surprises (there’s a hint in the title!) to keep you interested and motivated to keep on going. The story is all text driven with some voice narratives, and it all works out well for this type of game and I couldn’t wait to reveal the next part of the plot as I played the game.
And if you found a bug, find something you don’t like, or have a suggestion, the guys at MinMax Games are here to listen. The S.P.A.Z. forums are pretty active with the two developers always checking in on threads and listening to the community feedback. They’re even checking the Steam forums for questions and feedback, so your voice will be heard! And if you’re wondering about updates and patches, the MinMax Games team are a couple of steps ahead of you. They have recently released a Halloween patch and are working hard on a Holiday patch. I’ve also heard some rumors about a large free expansion that is also in the pipeline. These guys are keeping busy and have great things planed for S.P.A.Z., and it’s great to see such support from the developers. Much appreciated guys!Review - Space Pirates and Zombies (S.P.A.Z.),
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