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Space Marshals

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#1 MrToad

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 01:10 PM

Had my eye on this for a while, so when it came up as iOS Free App Of The Week I grabbed it quick... and I'm pleased to say I'm impressed!

space_marshals-1422517549-s.jpg

When I saw the screenshots I thought it was a turn based tactical RPG in the vein of X-COM, Laser Squad etc. Uh-unh! It's a real time action tactical shooter, and blow me if it isn't rather a lot of fun :D

You play the titular Space Marshal charged with rounding up a variety of nefarious criminals and their hordes of henchmen. And by "rounding up" I mean "shooting in the head". The plot has so far been pretty functional, but is delivered with tongue firmly in cheek. All the main characters bicker and moan at each other in comedy fashion :lol:

But it's really all about the action, which is surprisingly involved and tactical. You are restricted to carrying 1 pistol type gun, 1 larger gun (e.g. rifle/shotgun) and 2 types of thrown weapon (e.g. rocks, grenades, throwing axes...) and of course limited ammo for each weapon. You don't have a lot of health, but you also have an energy shield that absorbs damage... but only from the front, so you need to be careful which way you're facing. Oh yes, and the enemies have similar shields too, so if you attack them head-on you'll have to do a lot more damage to take them out. Get in the wrong position or face the wrong way and you're suddenly very squishy, but if you can get behind your enemies then you have a huge advantage.

This all means that you have to think about each encounter quite carefully before you engage, and often react on the fly when things change. You don't have to sneak about, but I'd highly recommend it, as it's a lot of fun creeping from cover to cover to sneak up behind someone or lie in wait to ambush an unsuspecting patrol.

At the end of every mission you choose a new piece of equipment as a reward, which gradually increases your arsenal. However, once you're in a mission you can't change your loadout, so careful selection is needed. For the first few missions I was having a lot of fun sneaking about ambushing people point blank with a shotgun, but I've since switched to a rifle for longer range and an Uzi-style SMG for "close encounters". The SMG burns ammo quickly, but spraying it about will get you out of most emergencies.

Oh yes, and it looks great B)

I'm only about 8 missions in, but absolutely loving it so far. Sneaking up behind a sniper close enough to tap him on the shoulder and blowing him away with a single shotgun blast is immensely satisfying :D

Highly recommend it - get it while it's free while you can, as I suspect there may only be a day or two left.

#2 MrToad

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:20 PM

So it's not free any more, but it's still fun :D

There are no in-app purchases or any nonsense like that; it's a straight up one time purchase.

Oh, I didn't mention death. When you die you can choose to respawn at the last checkpoint, restart the whole mission or go back to camp. You don't have lives per se, but you are rewarded for not dying. At the end of a mission you're given a rating which is based on how many objectives you completed and number of deaths. The equipment reward you are offered is dependant on your rating, so dying = bad rating = bad reward.

The variety of equipment is excellent, which allows for a lot of flexibility but also means you need to think about what you take quite carefully. Some missions have a timer, so you need high damage, low subtlety gear, but most are better with a stealthier approach. I'm currently carrying a pretty balanced mix:

Main weapon: Sniper rifle. Loud, but when you can shoot people two screens away that's not such a problem.
Pistol: Silenced pistol. Mainly for discreetly shooting people in the back.
Thrown 1: Plasma grenade. Lots of damage with a decent AoE.
Thrown 2: Throwing axe. Channel your inner Red Indian for 1-shot silent kills, especially when thrown over a wall.

Works for most situations, but lacks an "OMG where did those 5 guys come from?" panic weapon. However, the rifle range and a bit of careful positioning usually helps to prevent those situations in the first place.

The first several missions were pretty straightforward, but I'm starting to find it's getting trickier now. Death can happen quite suddenly, particularly on bosses. You're not super tough, so you have to remember to be cautious, make good use of cover and keep your shield facing towards the enemy.

The game has a solid Wild West atmosphere about it too, which is no bad thing. It definitely adds to the fun, light hearted feel.

I likes it :)

#3 MrToad

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 12:47 PM

Saw Space Marshals 2 promoted on the App Store yesterday, so grabbed it on the spot :)

I'm very glad to say that so far it's very much more of the same. The original pretty well nailed it, so whilst there are a few tweaks and additions thankfully they haven't messed with the formula too much.

The "secret hints" hidden round the maps have become "COR-V Tokens", which you can feed into a vending machine back at base for shiny equipment. There seems to be a wider variety of equipment to play with too, with stuff like mines and beam weapons making an appearance early on.

However, the single biggest change is the addition of "stealth takedowns". Sneak up behind a bad guy and you'll quietly stifle them. It means that you can still be stealthy even when you've only got the noisiest weapons equipped, and has the added benefit of saving ammo. It's also loads of fun! Of course there is a catch: it takes a couple of seconds for them to pass out, and if you take any damage in that time then the move is interrupted and you're suddenly stood next to a rather upset bad guy. At the moment it feels a little easy to pull off, but I'm only in the early stages of the game. They're just starting to limit its use by introducing better covering patterns and robots that can't be stifled, so I'm guessing it'll get much trickier as things develop. Oh yes, and of course it doesn't work on bosses unless they're on low health.

Anyway, so far so good :D

Edited by MrToad, 30 August 2016 - 12:52 PM.


#4 uiruki

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 02:56 PM

I've been playing a bit of the original on my GPD XD. It's a lot of fun!

If you've not tried it you might like Xenowerk too, it's a more shootery game but plays similarly.

#5 MrToad

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 07:36 AM

Finished SM2 last night. It felt perhaps a little short, but then I was caning through it pretty intensely. Still well worth it, and I'll definitely go back and 100% it.

I think a large part of the fun comes from the huge variety of weaponry and equipment available. Pistols, SMGs, shotguns, rifles and assault rifles of all shapes, sizes and ammo types. Crossbows that fire standard, poison or explosive bolts. Then there's the more exotic stuff like energy beams, electro rifles, rocket launchers and more... and that's just the weapons - not even touched on the armour or throwable equipment yet. A lot of imagination has gone into designing it all, which in turn has created a myriad of options for the player. If you want to collect all the equipment then you need to play each mission through multiple times, but it's entirely possible to use alternative equipment loadouts to make each run completely different.

Thanks for the tip on Xenowerk :) Checked it out and it's also by pixelbite, who made Space Marshals, so will definitely give it a look next.

#6 uiruki

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:34 AM

You'll definitely recognise the walk animation - it's very much the Space Marshals mosey!

#7 MrToad

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:49 PM

Just discovered that Space Marshals 2 has been given 4 new bonus missions, which of course means new equipment to play with :D And it's all free! And rather a lot of fun ;)

There's also a 10 mission pack to buy for £2.99 which follows a side character, and also promises new and fun sounding toys :)

#8 uiruki

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 02:31 PM

Im genuinely amazed that there are no Pixelbite games on Switch yet. I want proper big screen marshals that I can take with me!

#9 MrToad

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 04:30 PM

Pleased to say the 10 mission bonus pack was well worth the £3 :)

You get to play as Ava (the pilot from the main storyline) who has a completely different playstyle, largely focused on manipulation and incapacitation rather than damage. Your primary weapon is fixed as a "riot gun", which has a very short range, no damage, but knocks enemies over backwards. It can be upgraded using a workbench once you find various spare parts and schematics, and there are a lot of different options. Once upgraded a bit it becomes immensely fun sneaking up on people to blast them halfway across the screen and into a chasm, lake, explosive trap or some other sticky end :D

Combined with the riot gun your primary thrown weapon is fixed as a drone, which again can be upgraded using parts and schematics. When using a drone you take direct control and Ava sits still, so they're best used from a safe hiding spot. They fall into two categories: utility and combat. Utility drones can manipulate most objects, so you can use them to do things like fly to inaccessible places or kamikaze round a corner and switch off a turret without getting killed. Combat drones cannot manipulate objects, but as the name suggests they come armed :)

It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it the play style is hugely fun - there's a much bigger emphasis on stealth, as Ava is really quite squishy.

#10 MrToad

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 01:58 PM

The end of storyline chat hinted at a bonus mission for Ava, which they've just released. That was quick! And it's very good - a pretty big map and lots of fun :)





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