In the realm of video games, not everything that is shiny and new is guaranteed success. Sometimes, it pays just to polish an already familiar setup and deliver good old-fashioned gameplay, which is what Curve Games and Triangle Studios have done with the twin-stick action shooter, From Space.
The premise is straightforward – an endless horde of aliens has taken over the planet, and it will be up to players, either solo or in squads of up to four heroes, to liberate Earth. Nothing too crazy about it; players just have to suit up and start blasting, which is a recipe for success if the shooting happens to be solid.
And that is exactly what you will get from From Space, with a top-down perspective showcasing the action to be had in every mission. As expected, to complete a mission, you will have to kill every hostile alien in sight while making your way to an objective. On occasions, there may be NPCs requiring help or protection, and lending a hand is usually beneficial in one way or another.
To make things more interesting, From Space lets players choose from different classes that play to the strengths of chosen play styles. Aggressive players may want to enter the fray as the Shadow Sniper or Lab Assistant, while those that are into supporting teammates may choose to be the tanky Flame Trooper. A good squad composition can make things much more manageable, but even on your own, most classes fare relatively well against the extraterrestrial menace.
Of course, as an action shooter, From Space packs plenty in its arsenal for players to unleash the hurt. You got your standard pistols, rifles, submachine guns, to more outlandish stuff like plasma guns and alien weaponry. Put everything together, and the result is an experience that is always varied and interesting, allowing for experimentation with both classes and weapons to find that perfect balance.
The way levels are designed also plays to the game’s strengths of action and flexibility. Make full use of cover to protect yourself, while taking advantage of environmental hazards like explosives can help thin the alien herd. Players can also count on usable items during the adventure, with the likes of turrets and mines being of much help, especially if you are defending a position. The game is not shy about throwing enemies at you, but things are not always rosy on that front.
There are certain enemies that can prove to be a thorn in your side even if you are well-equipped for battle. The same goes for certain bosses, where difficulty spikes can be a little unwieldy at times. It would be helpful even in death if the way checkpoints worked in From Space was more efficient, but that is not the case most of the time.
Safe Zones are the only spots that players can consider to be safe havens and with these areas scattered around the mission sporadically, losing your hard-earned progress just as you are approaching the end can be very annoying. It hits harder when you consider the way From Space structures certain objectives that require multiple steps to complete.
Another potential gripe with the game is the enemy design. It is certainly expected to see a twin-stick shooter fill the screen with a huge number of foes; however, with From Space colouring every single one of them in neon pink, it presents several issues.
Trying to differentiate enemies can be difficult, which makes prioritising the more dangerous opponents a more arduous task than it needs to be. We are all for more challenging gameplay experiences, but not when it comes from a design decision that seemingly makes less sense the more you dive into it.
That said, even with some of the issues, From Space is, at its core, an excellent time when you are looking to blow alien invaders to smithereens either on your own or with co-op partners. The game doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, but it achieves its objective of delivering fun and entertainment throughout with its solid shooting and player flexibility.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
A fun time to be had both on your own or with a squad, From Space is a decent time when it comes to twin-stick action shooters.
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Story - 7/10
Presentation - 7/10
Value - 7.5/10