arrow drop search cross


Aug 28, 2011

Space Pirates And Zombies (S.P.A.Z.) Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $14.99
We Recommend: $14.99
  • Developer: MinMax Games Ltd.
  • Publisher: MinMax Games Ltd.
  • Genre: Action, Strategy, RPG, Indie
  • Released: Aug 15, 2011
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Reviewed: Windows

I’d be lying if I wasn’t immediately gripped just by seeing the title of this game: Space. Pirates. Zombies. This game hits the nostalgia funny bone hard (as if there was such a thing).

The game starts out simple enough with your mothership being nearly destroyed and you having to go on fetch quests to get it back in working order, restoring parts, your crew, and the group of ships. However, the training wheels quickly come off and the difficulty increases (though you can adjust the difficulty at any time). The cutscenes introducing new story elements are rough and are unskippable. The 2-man team at MinMax Games can’t be dinged too hard for this as they are probably the ones who did the VO in addition to the rest of the game.

Controlling any of the number of ships in your fleet in a whim is easy with WASD and shooting with LMB. I stuck to the most powerful ship I had in the group for maximum damage against the opposition. Ships have physics where inertia plays a huge factor, allowing you to dodge certain attacks. It gives the game a lot more depth than at first glance.

As you level up, you are given points you can spend into Hull, Beam weapons, Shields, Cloak, Reactors, etc. So the upgrades are a huge part of the game and are key to survival as you level up and battle stiffer opposition. As you go through the game, everything is randomly generated, from the star systems to the special events that occur, like attacking a comet going through the area to get extra rez or other special drops. Access to new star systems require one of two things: you to bribe the UTA (space police) to let you through the warp gates or destroy the blockade (UTA guarding it).

You can align yourself at will with the UTA or the Civilians (rebels). Actions (or inactions) you take towards each faction affect the relationship you have. Meaning, if you attack UTA for a specific mission, the Civilian relationship will increase while the UTA will no longer like you as much. You can goto UTA outposts and increase your relations via  giving up goons (captured enemies) as a means of currency for that aspect. The Civilians are harder to please, the only way to improve relations is to kill UTA in random space or on specific missions to help them with their goal. The role zombies play is really the fourth faction (you being the Space Pirates, the UTA, and the Civilians). They’re not an entity you battle per se, but a virus throughout the system that infects and makes changes around you. Nobody knows how or why it came to be this.

Graphics are well done and are colorful and not overly saturated with beautiful effects when ships blow up, and they blow up pretty! Sounds are simple and not scientifically accurate, but do the job in selling the universe around you.

It’s real-time space combat (that can also be paused for tactical situations), collection, and ever-expanding armada of ships at your disposal at which you can upgrade in RPG-like fashions leave this space shooter in a unique place that we haven’t seen games in quite some time. MinMax promises free updates, so I guarantee the game’s value will well exceed the price you paid.

A Steam code was provided by the developer for review purposes