Game Review #209: Space War Arena (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Bradford “TheWaffinator87” E.
Category: Real Time Strategy, Simulation, Action, Multiplayer
Release Date: 2.28.2019
Price (at time of review): $14.99
Buy Space War Arena from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
The Neverending Tutorial
Space War Arena from Playchemy is a space-themed real time strategy game. You oversee a space fleet and are trying to destroy other Space fleets. It has both Campaign Mode for single player action and Versus Mode for multiplayer fun. Now, like a lot of other games, when you start the campaign, you start with a tutorial section. I don’t know if it was just me or not, but the tutorial seemed a bit lengthy, and I feel like it could’ve been a little shorter. After eventually making it through the tutorial, you finally start playing the official campaign.
We are all children to the force know as the Ark, a mothership that created us all. No one remembers how it all began though, we just know that we are created for war and we can’t die. If we get too damaged, the mothership just recreates us and we carry on the war. No matter what we do though, we are always forced to face up against others like ourselves who have better technology. Using a traction technology, we pinpoint the enemies coming from the core of a galaxy and venture off to destroy all enemies and strengthen our own fleets!
Back to bootcamp (the basics)
Each level is basically named after what you will be unlocking for your own fleet, or named after a hint of what’s to come, not leaving you much surprise. Oh, this level is called Sniper. I wonder what I will unlock? A sniper unit? Who would’ve known?
At first, I thought the very creative names of the levels were because I was in the tutorial section. Nope. Even once you warp to the Arena (the galaxy stages once you complete the tutorial) the names of the levels didn’t get any more creative.
The levels themselves are pretty basic. You have your commander ship all the way to the left, and the enemies on the right. Just like a lot of other battle-style games, it is color versus color. Actually, when you are facing another commander’s ships, it is almost like a mirror match. You are more of a blue highlight, while the enemy is red. All this battling is going on while you sit in front of a really flashy Windows- or Apple-desktop-looking background. I really enjoyed the backgrounds. Very sci-fi, very beautiful.
Because this game is more like a tower defense game—reminded me a lot of tower defense games, anyway—the controls are slim to none, and very easy to get the hang of. You are pretty much just using the left thumbstick to highlight the unit you want to deploy. You press and hold the A button to select the unit, and let go when you have the final direction in which you want the unit to go. Don’t forget about that B button doing it’s normal thing and being your back-option button!
This was my favorite part of the game! From the very vibrant backgrounds of outer space to the main theme song that sounds like something straight from Stranger Things, it was very catchy. It gets more and more visually appealing as the game goes on—in fact, all my screenshots are from earlier play, because I didn’t want to spoil the wows that you might get! Keep in mind this is a sci-fi-style themed shooter, so when you look at the vibrancy of the graphics, it isn’t an anime, so it isn’t super bright. It has more of a pop theme, yet darker.
I may have enjoyed it so much because I have always been into outer space and the whole “we are not alone” conspiracy. I just wish that when you were engaged in battle, it had some kind of sci-fi-spaceship-fighting-style music playing faintly in the background, but when engaged in battle, all you get is the guns blazing sound effects, the missile firing sound effects, and shields deploying and getting destroyed. Battle engagements are very lackluster, so even though the background, the ships, and the colors are so vibrant, and the neon lighting is well-executed, I feel like the audio tracking could be improved upon during battle.
Overall, the game is fairly fun to play and good for quick games. An average battle engagement in campaign was like 2 minutes, tops, meaning this game is great for being able to pick up and not have to worry about having to put it down. Space Wars Arena is right to the core when it comes to the real time strategy genes, and will definitely make you pick and choose your fleet in the shipyard just right.
Oh yeah! The shipyard is where you can customize your fleet to your liking. I usually do two defense-style units, a couple of brute- or wall-style units, and then a few of the quicker-style units to try to get to the enemy commander ship and get some damage in. And because of the variety in units, your fleet has so many combinations that you will have to find the one that is right for you.
Like I said, I absolutely loved the overall layout of the game, except for the in-battle audio. For a game to give me that “OMG, that’s an over-the-top-style game!” feeling, even the battles need to be catchy; and this game feel a little short in that category. One last thing: I wish that the game did offer a little more of a challenge. The AI in the game reminds me of someone that would eat glue or paint chips. The only reason I ever had a challenge is if I let the CPU units attack me for a bit before actually giving it a go. I shouldn’t have to give the CPU a head start to get a challenge here and there, I should just be able to chose a difficulty level, which doesn’t exist in this game.
So, even with the lackluster audio tracking for battle engagement, and very boring CPU difficulty, because of the stunning visuals and the story being original, I did find myself somewhat enjoying it. and would recommend at least giving it a try for yourself, but only if you are into those darker sci-fi outer space vibes.
Buy Space War Arena from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
*Review Code Provided by Plan of Attack