Just when you thought Xona Games was done with turning out the shoot ‘em ups after releasing Decimation X3, they turn out another one. Their second release of the week, Score Rush, deviates a bit from Decimation X3 in its unique visual style and full dual-stick gameplay. However, these differences only serve to enhance the experience for Xbox owners, resulting in one of the finest games on the Indie Marketplace right now.
Don’t dive into Score Rush expecting a slow, easy jaunt through opposing space ships. Nearly right away you are thrown into the bullet hell fire and swarmed with enemies of all types. However, unlike Decimation X3, the second title released by Xona makes it abundantly clear what the hit zone is. This knowledge allows you to maneuver with precision and confidence, something that is absolutely necessary given the sheer number of bullets you will need to avoid.
Although the pacing rarely lets up, Score Rush does provide some variation in the enemies that are thrown at you. Mixed in with the various waves of tiny minions is the occasional boss battle, pitting your fighter against an enormous adversary. These certainly aren’t easy, but they do direct a more ordered, and sometimes easier to navigate hail of bullets your way.
Luckily, the game sports a set of graphics which navigating the bullet hell possible. Everything, from your fighter’s bullets to the opposing ships and even the watery background is bright and colorful. Not only does this make Score Rush a visually appealing sight, but also it allows for you to easily use your peripheral vision to identify threats, enhancing your ability to survive.
Unfortunately, the multiplayer offerings don’t quite hold their own when compared to the fast paced, white-knuckle single player. Sure, the ability to dynamically drop into games is a welcome feature and allows for your friends to come in and help out at a moments notice. However, it becomes kind of unnecessary because any more than two players on screen simply causes it to be cluttered. Between the fighters, their increasing firepower, trailing orbs, and the already numerous enemies it is simply impossible to keep track of what was going on. This is terribly unfortunate because playing with only two fighters is great cooperative fun and allows you to progress further than you could solo.
The hang ups in the multiplayer department keep the game from being undeniably better than Decimation X3. In spite of this, those flaws should not deter anyone from purchasing a copy of Score Rush. The single player alone delivers a set of visuals and music which, combined with the non-stop, tightly controlled action, creates a game worth well more than the 80 MSP price tag. Just don’t go into it trying to play with all your friends at once.
[Score Rush]-80 MSP