We all know and, well, maybe love the 2D side-scrolling shooters that can be, at times, over the top. Sometimes they break the mold and go from left to right, from top to bottom. Enter StarCruiser Studio and their take on the 2D shooter, Mars: Chaos Menace. This little action game fast forwards us way into the future, where mankind has successfully unlocked the secrets of Terraforming. But not all is well as things go awry. You are sent in to remove the threats that plague this planet. Will you be able to succeed in this otherwise doomed mission? Or will it be Game Over? Let’s put on our space helmet, grab our laser rifle and stock up on ammo because we are going a-blasting! This is our take on Mars: Chaos Menace! Enjoy.
- The idea: The basic idea of this game was, at best, good. They had everything in place, nice action. A nice setup for the soundtrack, power-ups. The whole shebang. But somewhere along the lines, some must’ve said: “this needs more cowbell”. And so be done, more was added, and more. And to top it off, even a bit more. Giving us this wreck-fest of a game that is Mars: Chaos Menace. Sigh. I had high hopes, but these were dashed aside faster than me kicking aside kids to get to the ice cream truck first. My ice cream… Gosh, darn it. (This was a joke, by the way. In no way do I condone hurting children. I just walk past them because I’m bigger. So there.)
- Graphics: Where do I even start? This game tried to look nice. It tried, but somewhere along the line it dropped the ball and became mediocre. The surroundings look like they were pulled out of a PS2 game, the enemies don’t really stand out or look original. Though I got to give credit to some of the particle effects, these look quite okay. But it’s only just that. The color scheme really isn’t much to shake a stick at, most of the landscapes look drab and uninteresting. It pretty much looks like a beta game. A work in progress.
- Power naps?: The power-ups are pretty much dull as well. You’ll come across towers. If you destroy it, the sphere on top of it will come detached and if you pick this one up, it becomes an extra weapon or switches from one weapon type to the other. But that’s the thing, with all the clutter on the screen (more on this later) it becomes rough to track the orb, let alone keeping an eye on it so you don’t accidentally switch type. Because that’s the thing here. If you have, for instance, blue weaponry. If the orb is blue, you’ll get an extra weapon that shoots with you. But if it’s green? Bad luck, because it’ll just switch your gun(s) to green and not give you an extra gun. So on top of everything, you even need to time your power up pickups. Oh, and they are on a timer. They go away after a very short time. Yeah…
- Glitches are b…: There are a few glitches that really don’t make this game easy to play. First, it’ll just flicker from time to time. It looks like some sort of pop-up wants to appear (giant black square) but is blocked and instantly closed. I’m unsure if this was on my end but after rebooting my console it still remained. Your shield that would still let bullets through, resulting in instantaneous death. Even though it had more than enough energy still left, it just… Stopped working as intended. This again solidifying that feeling of “wow, this is a beta…”.
- Audio schmoudio: Yeah… The soundtrack is somewhat okay. But the rest just… Feels uninspired. There’s nothing that really stands out or anything. Just booms and bangs, but that’s it. I had one rare glitch that it actually looped my death sound, but that stopped after a few seconds.
- Clutter!: My god! Who thought it was a good idea to add this much stuff to dodge? What you see on this screenshot is not half as bad as it gets. There’s way
waaaymore stuff that could happen. And sure you got a shield, but that thing drains ultra fast in the bullet vomit that it dishes out. There’s a difficulty, but even on easy, it becomes a chore. And that just drained my joy right away. There was a moment that I just couldn’t shoot like, at all because that meant getting in front of the ones firing, but they were safeguarded by the countless of bullets that were in the air. I literally had to reset, otherwiseI was stuck on that part. And sure some enemies shoot in patterns, but when there are dozens on the screen all shooting in different patterns? It just becomes a cluster f**k and just ISN’T FUN TO PLAY.
Mars: Chaos Menace – 51/100
★ Score: 51%
I tried guys, I really tried to get this game to feel enjoyable but I couldn’t. I really couldn’t. Sure the idea was nice but the end product just plain and simple sucks. This, at the moment? Is a beta build of an unfinished game that they rushed out, in my opinion. And sure. It can feel fun to play for a while, but you’ll get annoyed pretty fast. I really won’t recommend this game to a lot of people. If you really want to play every game out there? Sure. Give it a whirl. If you want to play a good game? Skip this one, there are far better 2D shooters out there, and just give the developers time to patch this one up because it sure as hell needs it! Blegh…
Developer: Starcruiser Publisher: Badland Publishing
Played on: Xbox One X
Xbox Game Store link