The very mention of the words "space" and "shooter" can often make the average games journalist imagine numbers below 50 while he hurriedly thumbs a thesaurus for words like "awful." The kicker is occasionally we get blindsided by a game that's good, and we have to take a few minutes to still our hearts.
Shadowgrounds Survivor is the sequel to a distinctly average nearly top-down shooter, and follows on the utterly forgettable storyline from where the original left off. Here, let me retell it -shooty angry aliens attack poor humans on a far off colony and you shoot them back because you have guns.
The big difference is the atmosphere. Survivor has a completely different look, with gorgeous, slick movement, great physics, and some remarkably fine ambient light. Your torchlight bends and moves around boxes, morphing through wire grates, and making huge, ominous shadows behind your enemies.
Control-wise, you move with WASD, shoot with the mouse, and that's all you need; movement is the essence of simplicity and fits perfectly with the constant, frantic action. It never lets up, leaving you tense and twitchy in the few-second lulls of fixing terminals and the fleeting conversations with the survivors.
This game is so much fun that you'll forget that you really are doing the same thing again and again, Diablo-style. This is mitigated by the fact you change characters several times, each with different weapons, and the quasi-RPG upgrade and experience system that keeps things a little different throughout.
Undoubtedly, many people will skip Shadowgrounds Survivor, regardless of its budget price. However, while the game has got a boring-arsed story, and can be repetitive, it's so unbelievably enjoyable, so fluid to control, and so chillingly good-looking that you'll forget all that.
Shadowgrounds Survivor is truly a visceral, retro experience that takes us back to a warmer, happier time.
- Great atmosphere
- Amazingly fluid controls
- Fantastic graphics
- Naff story